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(Re)membering Lost Futures: Vaporwave and the Postmodern


Vaporwave is a form of electronic music that samples 80’s elevator music, muzak, disco, and R&B, drenching them in reverberation and distorting them in the process. The genre is permeated by commentary on consumer culture, globalization, imagined memories, what it means to make music, and liminal spaces making it the perfect artform for critical-theoretical discourse. Three central themes will guide my approach: memory, late-stage capitalism, and space. Not only did I choose these three categories for their centrality in the genre, but also because they form avenues for me to investigate topics within critical theory I find interesting; I might suggest that memory would allow me to study Lacanian psychoanalysis, late-stage capitalism aligns with post-marxist theories by Altusser, Zizek, Lukacs, or Fisher, and space would let me explore Henri Lefebvre’s The Production of Space. Of course, other topics will span the whole of my thesis: musicality, citation and sampling, postmodernism, and aesthetics will all be invaluable to the project. My poster presentation will focus on several texts I have been studying this summer, including Fredric Jameson's "Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism", Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet's "Dialogues II", Gyorgy Lukacs' "History and Class Consciousness", and some of Theodore Adorno's writings on aesthetics. I will also be including analysis of various vaporwave albums as I draw nearer to the writing stage of my thesis project.

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Nicolas Gascon, "(Re)membering Lost Futures: Vaporwave and the Postmodern" (2022). Summer Research Symposium. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.



  • Summer Research Symposium

    Each year, Brown University showcases the research of its undergraduates at the Summer Research Symposium. More than half of the student-researchers are UTRA recipients, while others receive funding from a variety of Brown-administered and national programs and fellowships and go …