Vaporwave: the trans-space-time consumption culture and reflection of late capitalism

Ho Man Tang, Yat Yeung Tsai

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract


There are debates on whether the 2010s Vaporwave movement can be considered as a critical challenge to late-capitalism. With nostalgic references to consumerism culture and soothing way of living in the 80s, Vaporwave takes the hypnotic shopping-mall or escalator music out of its original context for contemporary consumption. While studies debate on the critical power of the decontextualized experience, this study considers experiences of Vaporwave consumption by a rethinking of its nostalgic feature. We argue that the critical power of Vaporwave has to be understood by the recontextualization of the audiences’ nostalgic reference, which bridges their past to their present mode of materialistic consumption. Depending on the economic sustainability late capitalism in both the social and the personal level, reflective narratives of (dis)satisfaction are told. Instead of a decontextualized form of parody, Vaporwave calls for a trans-space-time reflection of material consumption at both the individual and the social level.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022
EventCrossroads in Cultural Studies 2022 Conference - Online via ZOOM, Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 17 Nov 202219 Nov 2022


ConferenceCrossroads in Cultural Studies 2022 Conference
Internet address


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