Vaporwave Aesthetics: Internet Nostalgia and the Utopian Impulse
Johns Hopkins University Press
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Cole, R. (2020). Vaporwave Aesthetics: Internet Nostalgia and the Utopian Impulse. ASAP/Journal, 5 (2), 297-326. https://doi.org/10.1353/asa.2020.0008
Vaporwave is a term that emerged during the early 2010s to describe a hip, wraithlike nexus of videos, memes, and experimental music on the Internet. This article traces vaporwave’s aesthetic back to the work of Daniel Lopatin and on through its deeply ambivalent relationship with consumer electronics and the mediascape of the 1980s. Vaporwave enjoys toying with a virtual, dehumanized utopia in which utopianism is dead, even as it defamiliarizes and rehabilitates the objects and disorientating non-places of postmodernity. The genre ultimately exemplifies what Svetlana Boym calls the “off-modern”––a form of critical reflection predicated on nostalgia.
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External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/asa.2020.0008
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/301198