The cult renaissance in 1990s style visuals / fashion has less to do with ironic retro references and much more to do with the hyper-stimulated tumblr generation and the endlessly scrolling web page. This fresh generation of creative curators are finding inspiration in a decade that saw the end of a human paced era and the beginning of a digitally leaping one.
“Technology has been moving forward faster than we are able to digest, figure out, interpret and make use of. We are perpetually trying to catch up. I think the 90's mark the start of this or, at least, the end of what was before”
|Baz &Chaz, Peckham Hotel|
“Maybe it's a grasping nostalgia trying to refer to a slightly slower time - the tombstones for a human-paced world,” he adds. “As far as I’m concerned it is not about retro at all, but more about creating something quite radical - and simple at the same time."
In the UK, curators Baz And Chaz lead the pack with exhibitions that are 'inspired by low-culture and the throwaway aspects of modern life'. The duo bring together international artists and illustrators within an as yet unnamed movement.
In the USA, Joel Evey, print director of Urban Outfitters is bringing the tumblr generation's thinking to retail, whilst in Canada tumblr bloggers and artists/fashion curators like Common Chant and Yard666Sale set the pace.
Common Chant, is run by a curator and artist by the name of Julie Eckert. She sees no distinction between her own personal memory and a virtual cultural memory she can tap into every day on the web. It’s an outlook that is echoed throughout her generation.
|The Common Chant|
It seems to be a common strand throughout the net-art community. I don't find my self deliberately trying to draw from the decade.” Julia explains.
|Jeff & Paul|
|Urban Outfitters, Joel Evey|
Joel Evey, Print Art Director for US retail chain Urban Outfitters coined the phrase ‘the tumblr generation’ when trying to talk at internal level about the company’s target market.
He believes that it is crucial for mainstream creative companies like his to look to avant-garde visual culture and graphics. he states “Other retailers might not think this smaller segment of the market is worth going after, but I contend that it is, because they are the ones that are starting to influence taste.”
New York-based Body by Body are the prolific artists Melissa Sachs and Cameron Soren, who have been producing T-shirts and artwork for a couple of years.
Their Lookbook created back in 2010 still seems fresh, incandescent, gleefully making use of seemingly disparate corporate logos like PayPal.
|Body by Body|
Body by Body recently held an exhibition in March 2012 with longterm collaborators Deke2 and (Parker Ito)grandly entitled Anime Bettie Page Fucked By A Steampunk Warrior, which included a collection of video pieces that push the boundaries still further...
|GreekNew Media Shit|
Sterling Crispin is another agitator, currently studying for an MFA in Digital Media at The University of California.
Crispin is Well known for his excellent comical stab at noting a movement underway back in April 2011, Crispin set up the site Greek New Media Shit to uncover the seemingly generic plastering of digital self referencial works. He's also a committed artist and when asked about how he sees the world, Crispin responds...“I think its much more radical to be in the world today with sincerity and optimism, rather than irony, sarcasm and cynicism. We all share the same Internet, which levels the playing field of distribution, allowing for ancient masterpieces to be viewed along side smiley-faced alien gifs, in a constant stream of tumblr posts and status updates.”
Where is it all going? Common Chant sums it up... “The Internet is a giant echo chamber. I feel in many ways Internet culture is moving away from the stringency of trends and towards a great omnium-gatherum of ideas.”
Radical and simple at the same time, this is digital born of digital.