retro renaissance

This project was created for Design Studio III at RISD under the instruction of Jacek Mrowczyk in the fall of 2017.

How does design make sense of so much stuff?

The digital age has shifted us into a condition where the foundation of graphic design cannot go untouched by the influence of the internet and its massive archives of data. How do we navigate this landscape of overwhelming accumulation of stuff?

By using editorial tools such as isolation, combination, juxtaposition and curation, we as designers can actively engage with found material in a new context and create powerful narratives.

Step I : Create an Archive.

We spent a few hours collecting things from the internet-- whatever interested us could be included. While I was searching for images and content I enjoyed, I became focused on this specific aesthetic consisting of retro-technic landscapes and soft "oriental" images and illustrations.

Step II : Create Two Publications.

We formed a point of view about our archive and based two letter-sized, eight-page zines off it. One would be informational and the other would be poetic or abstract. I began looking into those retrofuturist images and found that it was part of a genre called Vaporwave. It's used a lot in meme culture, but I decided to delve deeper into why we find these pictures attractive in the first place. I found myself waist-deep in Reddit threads all about it.

I created an informational zine with bits and pieces pulled out of those articles as well as random thoughts about Vaporwave I'd found elsewhere on the web. I created the abstract zine to mimic or induce the nostalgic melancholy that I got from Vaporwave.

Retro Renaissance: The Open-Source Escape

The informational zine is called, "Retro Renaissance: The Open-Source Escape" to describe the return of retro imagery and ideals as part of a digital escape from the capitalist, dreary modern world.

It's Strange That

The Vaporwave movement embodies a longing for the "good old days". The poetic zine, "It's Strange That", attempts to bring this nostalgia to the forefront of this viewing experience. This zine contains phrases and excerpts that represent the very spirit of Vaporwave; "The past is relevant only in terms of how quickly you speed away from it."

close-ups of detail work.

Retro Renaissance: Animation

The last step of this project was to create a screen-based version of one or both of the publications. This animation was created on After Effects and all the imagery in the video is found on the internet. The song used is Daydream by Medasin ft. JOBA (Pryces Remix). This video narrates a nostalgic journey of half-remembrance through 90's and early 2000's aesthetic.