Critical Digital Culture: Modernism, Post-Modernism and New Aesthetic

I think “To Kill a Mocking Bird” by Harper Lee is a great example of Modernism because it criticizes the ugliness of old southern history and culture that thrived on prejudice and subjugation. Harper combines the coming of age tale of children with the promoting the regression of Southern morals. She describes the positive points of of Southern politeness and how it should be in the hands of both the white and black peoples. The children of the story reflect the hopeful strength of breaking old traditions to construct a new southern society.


A great example of postmodernism is One-Punch Man by the author ONE. OPM is a Japanese comic that offers a satirical take on the superhero genre of comics, where the premise is a man who gets so strong that he can defeat any villain with a single punch. The beauty of this concept is that the hero is completely bored with being so strong and is a reflection of readers fatigue with characters like Superman, who always win. The self referential humor pokes fun at every hero trope including ridiculous characters, dire situations being diffused easily and more. Even the art becomes very meta in certain situations, where super detailed art is juxtaposed to simple art, symbolizing that despite using traditional means to tell the story, it is a parody of itself.

One flavor of trans-modernism I like is the New Aesthetic, and a great example of this are memes. A mix of post-modern and relationism, reminiscent of the Dada art movement, belonging exclusively to internet culture. Memes are a form of artistic freedom, destruction and almost fully self-referential, they are a form of new aesthetic that relate to how we view the world and ourselves. Memes are always changing and evolving of of themselves and almost never resemble what they used to be from years ago. Even New Aesthetic itself is completely outdated and replaced by new referential works. What makes memes truly interesting is that anyone and every can participate, adding to and evolving things further and further, like post-modernism but with the influence and speed of a virus, which is best defined by the New Aesthetic catchphrase “going viral.”

Rock Concert Visuals from the 1970s and Beyond


One of the most popular fads of the 1970s was also the culmination of hybrid multimedia regarding music and technology—laser lighting display, or more commonly known as “laser light shows.”

Laser light shows combined theatrical and musical aesthetics to enhance not only the musician’s work but also the audience’s experience and interpretation, similar to the psychedelic liquid shows held back in the 1960s decade. In the 1970s, rock and roll bands such as The Who, Led Zeppelin, and—most notably—Pink Floyd popularized laser light shows in their concerts to convey story and emotion, such as when their 1973 album release “Dark Side of the Moon” and performances were done utilizing laser light shows from concert venues to planetariums.

Nowadays, despite intense safety regulations from the FDA, laser light shows have experienced a revival thanks to technological advancements and the electronica/EDM festival culture.

Perfume, a Japanese pop trio and one of my favorite artists, are well-known for hosting concerts with laser light shows that coordinate with each song and costume. In 2015, they attended South by Southwest (SXSW) and performed “STORY” through numerous laser lights and imagery, similar to their various concerts both in Japan and international.

Multimedia Object as Database/Interface

Screenshot of the KnightLabs Timeline on Revolutionary User Interfaces.

The following multimedia example is of a website that uses a timeline to catalogue the history and events related to information databases and their unique and evolutionary user interfaces.

The Revolutionary User Interface website has recorded several historic database devices starting from the 1600’s to modern day in chronological order. The user interface of the site itself is simple and intuitive to use and navigate. It uses an interactive timeline with the dates of the articles and allows you to slide around to access each point on the timeline. You also have a slideshow of each article that features a photo and description of the photo, and you can navigate to the next article by clicking the ‘next’ arrow or the ‘back’ arrow. The algorithm the timeline uses is a simple CSS slider code to retrieve and access information upon request. The narrative of the site is is to showcase how much advancement database devices and their interfaces have changed from several hundred years ago compared to the rapid increase in efficiency in the last decade.

When I first used this site I immediately and intuitively knew and understood how to use the multimedia featured. It offered a simplistic and basic design that was as easy as picking up and reading a book.  The information of each article was clear and concise and offered relevant information for each device featured. With the ease of use and uncluttered interface, it made me feel able to fully invest my attention on the content without distraction.