Normcore capitalizes on the possibility of misinterpretation as an opportunity for connection — not as a threat to authenticity. [K-Hole]
I’ve been fascinated by the concept of normcore since it first swept through the internet at the end of last year. The dissemination of the concept and the responses to it have been strange, to say the least. I’ve used it as an opportunity to dust off the critical theory portion of my brain, and ponder some big issues related to culture and food. Doesn’t that sound like fun?!
I’d like to start with a bit of a normcore reader, in case you’re not already a scholar on this cultural idea/trend/confusion.
- You should start with the origins of the term: Youth Mode: A Report on Freedom by K-Hole and Box 1824. K-Hole is a collective of thinkers/artists using the style of corporate trend reports to comment on our cultural moment and forecast trends(?). I’m really interested in their work, which exists in a space between art, satire, and academics. The report is dense and at times, I think, deliberately unclear. So, don’t feel bad if you have trouble with sections of it. Overall, it’s good stuff. Normcore, as defined by K-hole and interpreted by me, is the valuing of connections and participation over authenticity or uniqueness.
- There are some serious responses to their work.
- Later, the idea of #normcore spirals into a bunch of trend reports that seem to lose sight of what K-Hole was initially suggesting and focus on the idea that clothes from Wal-Mart are now cool (which, to be precise is actually #ActingBasic according to K-Hole). It gets weird. People are understandably annoyed by the discussion. Bon Appetit wants to prove they know what normcore is (they don’t).
- Then more recently, Thomas Franks responds. We still seem interested in the idea, though we continue to use it to fit our needs.
- This is probably a good summary of the cultural moment, if you’re more of a cliff-notes kind of student.
All of that should send you down an internet hole that will take a while to return from, good luck. And here I am, eating onion rings.