"Vaporwave isn’t just something you listen to either, it’s something you experience, and experiences include visuals. Vaporwave visual art, simply referred to as 'aesthetics,' is varied but tends to honor some core tenets. If you’re looking at something pink and teal with a marble classical bust and a glitchy Windows 95 logo, you’re probably looking at a vaporwave aesthetic. If you’re watching a YouTube video with a title written in a weirdly soothing stretched out font, you’re probably watching a vaporwave aesthetic.
If you haven’t guessed by now, vaporwave is a bit of a joke, or more accurately, an internet meme. Vaporwave’s trippy immediate artistic ancestor 'seapunk' was a running inside joke on Tumblr during 2011 about fashion and art and music inspired by the ocean. The look and sound of a psychedelic club run by a hipster Ariel from The Little Mermaid is a pretty accurate summation. Neon seapunk imagery even found its way into Rihanna’s 2012 Saturday Night Live performance, confounding many viewers with its colorful and stylish but garish, cheap, and seemingly unprofessional grainy green screen look. The exact difference between seapunk and vaporwave is blurry, but as far as I understand vaporwave trades the aquatic focus for a fascination with the emptiness of aging and/or amateur glossy commercialism. It’s the music playing behind an infomercial for public access purgatory."
(Jordan Minor, 03 June 2016)
"Nour is a woman from Raqqa, the so-called Islamic State's (IS) capital inside Syria. She managed to escape the city and is now a refugee in Europe, where she met up with the BBC. This story is based on her experiences and those of her two sisters, who are still inside the IS-held city. Names and the timings of some events have been changed to avoid compromising the safety of Nour or her family."
(BBC News, 2015)
Video produced by Vladimir Hernandez, Faisal Irshaid and Najlaa Aboumerhi. Animation by Luis Ruibal.
"The hipster is, concurrently, developing into a form of youth subculture, though at present in a limited sense. Many of the tropes and defining characteristics of teenage tribalism are being draped in hipster attire, but with little of the angst-ridden and socio-economic preliminaries at the base of earlier subcultural trends and movements, such as skinheads, goths and punks (or some recipe based thereon). Without a solid, or at least only slightly shifting, base in materiality and social context, the attire of this set of genuinely disenfranchised youth is sign only; the woolly hat and the running shoe are talismans devoid of any intended meaning; the world seems flooded with signs without symbolism, with younger converts to the hipster 'style' aping their ape forebears. The sign has, in this context, lost its original referent and become 'hyperreal' (Baudrillard, 1994, p.1). The 'real' origin of the sign's meaning has been lost, or buried under meaningless affectation; the borrowing and commodification of a modern exoticism; that of various minority or 'retro' alternative fashions and attitudes. In reference to subcultural groups, Hebdige notes that 'humble' objects can be magically appropriated; 'stolen' by subordinate groups and made to carry 'secret' meanings' (1979, cited in Haralambos and Holborn, 2004, p.808). This explains the way punks could style safety pins into a new context, and teddy boys could subvert the traditional connotations of Edwardian formality – the coded meanings that charge such appropriated style-objects amounted to a kind of resistance to the ruling order, be that signified by the state or in the 'square' world of the mainstream. Each subculture is in some way 'spectacular', in that it creates a spectacle and intends to be noticed. The hipster is daily losing this status, as s/he becomes overloaded with signifiers (aesthetic surface) and has become divorced from the collective; there is no need for internal reinforcement against a subordinating external force when one has such a slippery class composition. The hipster is not oppressed, and purports to signify the pinnacle of individual choice and cultural savoir faire (though this position is problematized by the amoebic development of a youth subculture with roots in working class communities). The hipster's resistance is not to social subordination but to modernity itself, to a meaning-deficit brought on by a loosely defined, insecure mainstream culture that is less and less able to provide collective ontological sustenance. Perhaps the youth-hipster is an attempt to introduce a degree of collectivity in order to partially overcome alienation and inwardness, though this does not excuse the continued loss of substance and meaning in style and aesthetic value."
(Michael Reeve, 2013, Academia.edu)