© Copyright 2021 Melina Milkis, Ryerson University.
Given this picture without context, one might assume it is just of an ordinary couple standing amongst the streets of Yokohama, Japan. You might take in the man, plainly dressed with tired eyes, greying beard, and a warm smile; indistinguishable from any other, and think he appears relaxed in the picture. You also might take in the women beside him, who is more colourful and vibrant then he. Her cotton candy coloured hair, her bright pants patterned with British parliament soldiers. Or you might not. To the ordinary eye, this picture might appear of little interest and concern.
But, what if you knew them? What if you knew, this plainly dressed man, Felix Kjellberg, was from Sweden, and that he used to sell hot dogs on the street to make a living (Pewdiepie, Making A Hot Dog…). What if you knew that he loved gaming, enough that he began a Youtube channel under an online persona, Pewdiepie. Or how a viewer of his channel, now the woman he is married to in the photo, Martiza, watched his many gameplays of Minecraft, Terraria, The Last of Us, Condemned… all the way in Italy. Or how the man flew 2,073 kilometers to meet her when he was only twenty (Amjad). As well, you probably would not have suspected a Swedish man, and Italian women both adore Japanese culture and have travelled there many times before (Pewdiepie, All About Respect in Japan). But what if you did know this? What if you were one of the 109 million subscribers he has on Youtube today, and had watched each of his 4,284 videos, and contributed to the whopping 6,902,124,445 views for his channel (Pewdiepie, Youtube About)?
Marzia, Kjellberg. “Untitled Photograph featuring Felix and Marzia Kjellberg in Yokohama Japan”. 28 April, 2018. Digital Photo. Author‘s personal Instagram collection. https://www.instagram.com/itsmarziapie/?hl=en [10 February. 2021]
Perhaps then, if you knew the man by his many gameplays and game reviews, the streets of Yokohama, Japan would transform, pixel by pixel, into one of the gameplays you most adored. Maybe you would see the man, once normal and plain, now standing as one of his many gaming avatars, his most famous being Minecraft. Maybe then you would see this man as his stiff pixelated square character, with green shader glasses and shaggy blonde hair. Maybe, you can see his Minecraft dog, Sven, standing beside him, and horse, Yorgen, amongst the Watersheep Council (Pewdiepie, I’m Back in Minecraft…).
Or, if you watch more of his comedic videos, maybe the picture would not visually change, but become alive with sounds. Maybe you hear the adapted Cocomelon intro to his Memereviews (Pewdiepie, Zootopia Meme Review), or hear his rough voice singing Swedish songs, the melodies of foregin Swedish verses of “Hey Monica!” stuck in your ears (Pewdiepie). Maybe you hear him laughing with KSI (Pewdiepie, Reviewing Memes with KSI), screaming “Marzia! Check your Whatsapp!” (Pewdiepie, Uh oh). Then you might not think his clothes are not so normal at all, and recognize his hat in the photo of his own line of merch, the сука блять hat, selling for $38.29 USD (Represent).
If you were a fan of this man maybe you would then know the stuffed dog in the photo, pompompurin, is one of the man’s favourite cartoons (Pewdiepie, All About Respect in Japan). Maybe this makes you think of the man’s own pugs at home, Edgar and Maya, who are always in his videos. Maybe you look at pompompurin with jealousy and wish you were him in the photo. But, I guess if you did not know this you would just see them as just an ordinary couple on the streets of Yokohama smiling for a picture.
“All about the 👏R E S P E C T👏 in Japan..🗾.” Youtube, uploaded by Pewdiepie, 16 February 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTW9GjBW6ho.
“Animal Crossing Christmas With Marzia Special.” Youtube, uploaded by Pewdiepie, 25 December 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2uq9D_Y_dE.
“сука блять Hat // PewDiePie.” Represent, Pewdiepie Store, https://represent.com/suka-blyad-hat-pewdiepie-red/?variant=80341684&kw=store. Accessed 8 February 2021.
Elkins, James. How to Use Your Eyes. Routledge, 2000.
“I’m Back in Minecraft! – Part 39.” Youtube, uploaded by Pewdiepie, 6 March 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1B1f9PGLbIs.
Martizia, Kjellberg. “Untitled Photograph featuring Felix and Martizia Kjellberg in Yokohama Japan”. 28 April, 2018. Digital Photo. Author‘s personal Instagram collection. https://www.instagram.com/itsmarziapie/?hl=en [10 February. 2021]
“Making A Hot Dog From My Old Job – Cooking With Pewdiepie #2.” Youtube, uploaded by Pewdiepie, 8 July 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAlc6UEm7_M.
“Mine All Day (Minecraft Music Video).” Youtube, uploaded by Pewdiepie, 23 October 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAlIq7BKNxg.
“Pewdiepie.” Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/user/PewDiePie/about. Accessed 8 February 2020.
“Pewds and Marzia’s first messages ❤️❤️ so cute.” Youtube, uploaded by Amjad, 13 February 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aduZTauDn3s.
“Reviewing Memes With KSI.” Youtube, uploaded by Pewdiepie, 22 November 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xl125ZovpAA.
“Swedish Pancakes Is The ONLY WAY TO MAKE PANCAKES! – CWPDP #1.” Youtube, uploaded by Pewdiepie, 30 July 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWltikCALgU.
“Tambourine Tower to the Moon.” Youtube, uploaded by Pewdiepie, 23 August 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esVRiC6s9f8.
“Uh oh.” Youtube, uploaded by Pewdiepie, 21 December 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4_Gv2ORCFU.
“ZOOTOPIA MEME [MEME REVIEW] 👏 👏 #3.” Youtube, uploaded by Pewdiepie, 12 December 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhu7Xhrt2dE&t=767s.
Images in this online exhibit are either in the public domain or being used under fair dealing for the purpose of research and are provided solely for the purposes of research, private study, or education.