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What is Vaporwave?
Vaporwave is basically a subgenre of electronic music, came out during the 2010s, which became an aesthetic later on and provided a satirical perspective towards the increasing consumer culture and capitalism. It created a socio-economic critique and occurred by economic and social forces such as globalism and consumerism.
The vaporwave music is defined by "slowdown, remixed and appropriate music genre" and it has aesthetic imagery of the early internet era. These visuals and photoshopped imagery can be counted as glitch artworks and, in my opinion, this characteristic of vaporwave makes it special for today's digital culture.
How does it related to our current state and digitalism?
If we consider that today's social media platforms are full of millionaire influencers who are making money from creating content and selling merchandises, it is normal to think that vaporwave's anti-consumerist core value might seem to contradict our current state in the digital world. Of course, our world is completely different than ten years ago, and it would be a bit off to use early internet imagery to mock the consumerist society since we have memes to make some satirical comments on social issues.
In this week's reading, by Berges & Green (2010), the authors were talking about Youtube's role in the wider transformation in culture, society and economics. It is possible to see this transformation clearly as new job opportunities came up and our culture shifted to a digital era. Before Youtube (and other types of user-generated platforms), we were passively consuming the media, now we are also making it which partly shows the change in the production and consumption practices. On the other hand, I think that vaporwave as a genre didn't make a huge transformation in digital culture, but it was the beginning of a growing digital culture.
THE FIRST AESTHETIC OF THE INTERNET
What is this infographic about?
I created this interactive infographic to talk a bit about the genre called "Vaporwave", and many items that you can see here are interactive elements. If you click on the title, you will find an explanation of the vaporwave and its relation to the current digital world. Besides, I wanted to include an example which is a website called "Poolside FM", and you can find what it is about from the short video I made (my apologies, there was an issue with iMovie, so I had to use another software. The video has an annoying badge on it).
You might be familiar with this concept if you have watched MTV or used Tumblr since it is a very common theme in this context (sadly, not many people know about the genre): pastel colours, funky visuals, and psychedelic imagery. As someone highly interested in electronic music, I was focusing on the musical aspect of this concept. However, when I dig into vaporwave, it wasn't hard for me to understand it is more than music, it is also a combination of audio-visual works which is fascinating. Also, I think that vaporwave is related to digital media since it is the first genre born in the internet times. If you check out vaporwave imagery on Pinterest or google it, you will find these funky photoshopped images and never-ending loops of purple geometric imagery. When you look at them closer and read about their backgrounds, you will find about the satirical comments they give on the political and social status.
I tried to make this infographic based on vaporwave aesthetics, not for making a political commentary, but to describe the vaporwave genre and relate it to today's culture.
Burgess, J., & Green, J. (2010). YouTube: Online video and participatory culture. John Wiley & Sons.
Why Won't Vaporwave Die?
Vaporwave's little known roots are anti-capitalist and totally punk