Floating Worlds: Cosplay Photo Shoots and the Creation of Imaginary Cosmopolitan Places

Claire Margaret Langsford


Cosplay is a globalised craft and performance practice centred upon the recreation of pre-existing character designs in the form of wearable costumes, performances and photography. Cosplay costumes and performances are typically inspired by science-fiction and fantasy texts, set in places existing outside of contemporary time and space such as Medieval Europe or alien planets. Among Australian cosplayers popular source texts include Western film and television, as well as Japanese anime, manga and videogames.

Photo shoots are a popular activity among cosplayers in Australian communities of practice. Working collaboratively with photographers and other practitioners, cosplayers create staged images of their character costumes posing at especially selected locations. Using images created by cosplayers and the author during fieldwork among Australian communities of practice, this article will explore how visions of deterritorialised, cosmopolitan floating worlds are produced in local, physical spaces; how universities become European castles and parks are transformed into Edo-period Japan.


cosplay, cosmopolitanism, photography, performance, space

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11157/sites-vol13iss1id303