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  1. Vaporwave and Appropriation - &

    […] Ascertaining the intentions behind vaporwave producers’ specific sonic and aesthetic choices has proven to be a fraught critical endeavor in discursive spaces associated with the genre online. Harper, in 2012, saw a clear through-line between the genre and the accelerationist philosophy of thinkers such as Nick Land, whereas others, such as Michelle Lhooq, have framed it more generally within a punk lineage: “vaporwave is actually ‘punk,’ in that it’s driven by a subversive political objective: undermining the iron grip of global capitalism… by exposing the alienating emptiness underneath its uncanny sheen” (“Is Vaporwave The Next Seapunk?”). Scott Beauchamp, writing more recently this summer in Esquire, fell on the side of Lhooq’s analysis, arguing, “vaporwave has obvious antecedents in American music and culture. And although it might mimic the aesthetics of capitalism, the anti-place of the American mall, and the sounds of a tranquil permanent present, it has more in common with punk. It’s political” (“How Vaporwave Was Created Then Destroyed by the Internet”). Others have shied away from the overtly political characterization of the genre as “appropriative critique,” feeling that this is reductive and has only been undertaken because it “eases the [genre’s] ‘path to legitimacy’” (Noack). […]

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