Aesthetic Driven Nostalgia

Ryan Gilks

To me, the feeling of nostalgia is driven by aesthetics in visual culture where connections are made through memory and association based on individual experience. In my work I often explore the relationship between humans and technology, and how the human experience can be enhanced and manipulated through technological means. I communicate this further through using aesthetics and nostalgia to create a universal microscope for everyone to look through. I personally find it very interesting how social media, specifically TikTok recently, is helping to ignite an obsession with the aesthetic of the 2000s.  

I think the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of us to look back on more comforting periods of our lives, and for many of us entering our twenties this comfort can be found in the 2000s. Being coerced into looking to our past, I now find it fascinating that the potential of the 2000s is surfacing through key identifiable aspects. The 2000s was an era where everything was looked through an excitable futuristic lens – cool graphics, chrome and metallic textures, oversaturated with sparkles, Nokia bricks, colourful toys and pixels. The 00’s are often overlooked when it stands alongside the cool revival of the 80’s or 90’s. However, I think that it is the right time to fully unleash the potential of the 00’s aesthetic. 

Reminiscing on a time where many of us spent much of our childhood, now of age, looking back and experiencing through different eyes is exactly what nostalgia is to me.

Words: Ryan Gilks, Illustration, @ryanmmichael

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