The goal of my team and I’s unessay project was to create a tumblr blog inspired by the pop culture of the 90’s. We sought out to investigate overall the main trends and themes that were popular in the 90’s and how these themes are now translated in this decade. Our group as a whole was interested in the idea of pop culture being an archeological topic in general. We were curious on how this topic fit into out class, which gave us fuel to research more deeply into it. Going off of that, we then decided we should hone into a certain period of time, for the sake of being specific and not too broad. We landed upon the 90’s decade, out of our mere fascination and a specific interest in the punk rock culture and the pop divas. We found this research relevant because it showcases a key element of contemporary archeology which is that archeology doesn’t have to be about the ancient past, but can be about the events of last year or even last week. The focus of contemporary archeology is about the lost stories left behind in the dust of our now fast paced world and society.
Our initial research allowed us to understand more deeply how pop culture fits into archeology as a concept. We found that many artifacts associated with pop culture highlights emotions of nostalgia and the amazement of how fast and slow time feels. How things have changed and how we look back on events and what they used to be. Going off of this we found several postings and discussions on social media of people posting about them rediscovering movies, sounds, or toys that made them feel nostalgic. A couple of things we sought to showcase is how this has become a trend in the present, to romanticize and glorify trends from the past. Along with this, we see visual media on apps like TikToks trying to recreate their own “90’s aesthetic” or posting videos of their parents and family members in the past. I think this shows how a 60 second video can tell us about our current society’s perspective about our past just like an artifact would. And secondly how these perceptions differ from those in the past living in the 90’s. This difference in perception can lead us to a better understanding of how our world and people have changed.
This also can be a signifier of how fast technology has pushed us to change and develop making pop culture trends accelerate faster. This causes these 90’s trends to seem a lot older than they relatively are. We also found some old trends that had now been misinterpreted or now used for a different modern idea or meme. As time and media pop culture trends continue, more and more themes of the 90’s will be remembered by the new jokes we made about them, then their actual origin. This connects to our findings in regards to the punk rock area of the 90’s. We discovered that there was a whole subsection of contemporary research known as punk archeology. Led by Andrew Reinhard, this series of blog posts, a book, and a documentary covers how the punk rock lifestyle and music reformed archeology. Finally, working on this unessay has now led me to change the way I look at social media forever, now when I see a post I think about how it’s adding to a global archive of a larger narrative about our present time.
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