After briefly mentioning the feedback that I got on my comparison of hipsters to the Dada-ist's post last week I wanted to dig into the topic a big deeper today. My comparison was called superficial and in no way am I denying that it wasn't. As I tried to make clear in my original post there is no way that I can ever compare hipsters and dada's on a non-superficial level because hipsters aren't an embraced subculture. It is something that people mock and consider an insult yet hasn't stopped the "movement" any less. Hipsters in today's notion of the word are people that are purely superficial and have no social platform that they stand on and in my discussion of them I was attempting to forge a hypothetical social platform for them that was biased and purely based off of my own observations. My goal in trying to compare the two groups was simply to spark a conversation and consider what is going on with the subcultures in our generation which got me thinking even more so about what exactly is going on with the subcultures in our generation?
Every generation for the past hundred years has had their distinct subcultures that were based off of socioeconomic, political, social, and/or racial divides. They started with platforms that sparked rebellion and resulted in drastic styles or even uniforms that people of these groups would wear to make it clear to everyone what they stood for. Today it is hard to say what our youth's subculture would be. There are of course the remnants of subcultures of generations past and then there are hipsters whether you would like to admit it or not. We also have scene kids or now more like raver/PLUR children and sea punk.
I've made my claim for what I think hypothetically hipsters could be standing for even though they don't even know it themselves. Blind art one might say. Then we have sea punk, a subgenre of music, fashion and design that was started by Coral Records as a way to promote a new genre of techno and hip-hop and quickly was taken over by a group of social media enthusiasts and has spread through the internet. Images featuring neon flashing colors and rotating geometric shapes floating above oceans of brilliant blue or green water flood Tumblr pages as they are tagged with a #seapunk hashtag. In the fashion world seapunk has influenced rap artist Azealia Banks with her neon colored hair, iridescent clothing, aggressive attitude and Tumblr inspired music videos. To say the least seapunk has made a name for itself superficially as a subculture but their social platforms seem to be hazy if at all existent. Literally they are a nautical themed punk that creates itself and spreads through the internet almost as a response to massive globalization.
|Azaelia Banks 'Atlantais' music video screen shot|
Does this mean that our youth is missing a subculture that actually stands for anything beyond superficial values? Are we so caught up with consumerism, looks and frivolous lifestyles that we have forgotten to stop and ask ourselves what does this all mean? Am I doing something I'm really going to be proud of 10 years from now? And if we realize that there may not be anything deeper happening with our generations subculture on paper is it so wrong to try and analyze their superficial values and give it weight and meaning?
It could be argued that it is only by analyzing the superficial language of dress that one may arrive at certain conclusions regarding both singular and group identities. Ignoring the surface would leave us with no hints as to the cultural and psychological significance of a sign system which is by definition superficial and whose depth lies precisely on the surface.