"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)
Moritz Stefaner speaking about his work on the Selfiecity.net project (part 2) at the 'Visualized' conference in New York, 6-7 February 2014.
"Tactical Media emerged when the modest goals of media artists and media activists were transformed into a movement that challenged everyone to produce their own media in support of their own political struggles. This "new media" activism was based on the insight that the long-held distinction between the 'street' (reality) and the 'media' (representation) could no longer be upheld. On the contrary, the media had come to infuse all of society.
To challenge dominant (strategic) structures in society, it was necessary develop new (tactical) means of producing and distributing media. Not a specialised task separate from the social movements, but a key activity around which social movements could coalesce. And of equal importance, the media environment characterised by a broadcast logic of geography was being supplemented with an environment characterised by a many-to-many logic of access.
Though much has changed these insights remain as valid today as they did in the early 1990s."
(Eric Kluitenberg and David Garcia)
Fig.1 Image from: Critical Art Ensemble, Digital Resistance: Explorations in Tactical Media, 2001. http://critical-art.net/books/digital
"This is the third lecture in a series titled 'Digital Natives,' referring to the generation that has been raised with the computer as a natural part of their lives, especially the young people who are currently in schools and colleges today. The series seeks to understand the practices and culture of the digital natives, the cultural implications of their phenomenon and the implications for education to schools, universities and libraries.
According to Wesch, it took tens of thousands of years for writing to emerge after humans spoke their first words. It took thousands more before the printing press appeared and a few hundred again before the telegraph did. Today a new medium of communication emerges every time somebody creates a new web application. 'A Flickr here, a Twitter there, and a new way of relating to others emerges,' Wesch said. 'New types of conversation, argumentation and collaborations are realized.'
Enter YouTube, which is not just a technology. 'It's a social space built around video communication that is searchable, taggable and mashable,' Wesch said. 'It is a space where identities, values and ideas are produced, reproduced, challenged and negotiated in new ways.'"
(Library of Congress, 22 May 2008)
Fig.1 Michael Wesch, 23 June 2008, Library of Congress [http://mediatedcultures.net/]