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Written byAlex Short

The Art Movement Ready to Define The Social Media Generation

If a few years ago I had told you memes were growing bigger than a joke of shared relevancy online to the beginnings of a genuine art form, you would probably think I was mad and didn’t understand what they are. But with the rise of TikTok and short videos, the shared relevancy and context we have from memes and their ability to seep into every corner of the internet are proving to be the new playground for political statements and questioning the zeitgeist. CoreCore, a new emerging trend that found its home on TikTok, makes use of edited clips from movies or videos that are popular online set over an orchestral melancholic track with a larger message and theme underpinning a supposedly random collection of clips. In some ways, CoreCore is the act of taking moments reflecting our lives and our emotions within them, a way to take a step out of your life and perceive it as an audience.

Whether from memes or the ever growing dependency on social media and instantaneous global connection, CoreCore in its current form has only become possible owing to our current online and political landscape. Through TikTok, social media has become a way to connect on a global scale. A person in Cape Town is no longer so far removed from a person in New York, Shanghai, New Delhi or Paris. In fact, they can regularly connect through posts they interacted with, interests they both have, politics they agreed or disagreed with and share content the other would see – they wouldn’t even have to know each other’s names or locations, just a small tether in the vast chasm of an online mycelium. In this expanse, politics, current issues, celebrity culture and even single people can become global conversations with commentary coming from every corner of the world. 

But with a growing connection, there is also a need to find community. Cottagecore, cosplaycore, weirdcore, nichecore and fairycore are some of the examples of hashtags used on videos to make sure the algorithm delivers them to a specific audience wanting to interact with their specific brand of content. But with these algorithms trying to cater with the increasingly distinct demands and limited range of its viewers, social media becomes increasingly addictive and sectioned off where users follow pipelines to content based on their viewing habits and interactions. 

So where does CoreCore fit into the vast social media landscape, where we connect but only on the terms of our media usage patterns? In essence, it strips away the flesh and excess of labels, trends and aesthetics and tries to find that which connects us even in the vastness. In truth, it’s not an overly cheerful outlook – environmental issues, capitalism and work culture, sexism, loneliness and bad mental health and technological dependency are all topics explored in the videos popping up under the hashtag. Issues that still remain under the frill of the other content we see more regularly. But how does this differ from a video of someone speaking about their experiences or these topics? Using clips from videos one could easily come into contact with, the final product is a collage of footage which may not create a point explicitly when viewed singularly but as a collection of messages and themes, the viewer is able to pull in contexts and relevant points of discussion to infer what they are saying and in truth, they all say the same thing. “Wake Up” – open your eyes to the reality of what you take in and the spaces you inhabit. 

100 years ago, a similarly disillusioned generation was using another art movement to protest the conditions they were facing. Spearheaded in Europe and then spreading to other continents, Dadaism was formed by a collection of artists rejecting the modern capitalist society emerging post World War 1, and its aestheticism and focus on reason. Dada explicitly described itself as ‘anti-art’, a movement dedicated to encouraging the mind and not the eye’s aesthetics. With its express links to radical left-wing politics, Dadaism existed in forms outside of just images – poetry, sculpture, demonstrations, public gatherings and extensive engagement with political matters all formed part of the movement and were just as important in its expression as some of the more famous pieces we know today. Expressly political and intent on engaging with the general population through shock and irrationality, artists like Duchamp, Picabia and Hausmann were focussed on the dehumanisation of ordinary citizens both fighting in the war and outside it, and reinvigorating them with autonomy and understanding to the events that had happened to them. 

In its similarities to Dada, CoreCore is the growing collective movement analysing what we’re taking part in and what it means as something bigger than our singular screens acting as windows to social media platforms. Whilst singular members and big names might not emerge as the frontrunning artists, with the technological skills, immediate access and connectivity, and the nature of large quantities of content needed to be peddled on social media and subsequent widespread involvement in trends, CoreCore is set to become an art movement defined through a generation’s disillusionment and life online. 

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