adj. [word] foggy, with a sense of fear, isolated-Robin Burnett, formerly of INTERNET CLUB explains, “This music genre reminds me of a foggy ambience where everything is unclear and uncertain.” He adds, “Experiencing uncertainty is even scary.”
n./v. [music] sample-based music, originating in 1980s or 90s smooth jazz, funk, soul, R&B, pop, Muzak (background music played in shopping malls, restaurants, office buildings, airports, etc., as well as online background music such as repetitive melodies in the weather forecast, busy sig-nals, etc.). To stretch, swirl, distort, cut off and endlessly repeat a piece of music and thus make it into a new piece by music production software; a way of writing music.
n. [visual] flowing liquid; soft-focus of old TV ads, posters from 1980s or 90s; glitch, Windows 95/98, pop-up windows and cursors; Renaissance sculpture; Italian fashion; luxurious environments for hydrotherapy, premium hotel pictures provided by The Silver Spoon, suites and balconies; square, fountain, palm tree; sometimes many uses of pixels.
n. [aesthetic] nouveau exotica, unreal world and fantastic lifestyle; lo-fi, atmosphere; collective aesthetic; Warholian; 3D, commercials; aesthetic governing style, artistic existence where the form is more crucial than the content.
adj./n. [term] vapor means vaporware. “Vaporware,” a computer software that has been strongly promoted but never comes out. It can refer to an untrue product release conference, an unrealistic meaning, or a deliberate fabrication of a future product.
prep. [about] differing from obsolete emotions of nostalgia, Vaporwave keeps a relatively ironic distance from the old school. This distance gives Vaporwave a special critical function—aboutness. It has something to do with nostalgia but is somehow an innovation. It is related to both the proof and critique of global capitalism. It is an ambiguous word and a punny, sarcastic self-reference.
n. [philosophy] completely vanish, transmodern, sublimation. Vaporwave becomes a physical process of solid converting into gas. In psychoanalysis and aesthetics, it is described as Libido Energy Conversion. Vaporwave is an allusion to Marx: “All that is solid melts into air.”
1. Today’s HD will be tomorrow’s lo-f i. What is transmodern and popular today will be obsolete tomorrow. The underground culture won’t be underground for long. Vaporwave artists often imply the inevitability and uselessness of this research. After ten or 20 years, we will find out the selfie stick becomes a victim of its own acceleration.
2. According to Boris Groys, contemporary art denies what precedes it because it subconsciously only wants to discover transcendent, repetitive, and weak images. Every unoriginal discovery might be misunderstood as original. For philosophy as well as science, Vaporwave produces a kind of bright-colored art because crossing temporal borders also means crossing cultural borders.
Text by Bi Xin
Translated by Paul Wade