TikTok goes a bit overboard in terms of categorizing each final aesthetic into its personal microtrend. You discover it when Spotify Wrapped calls your music style goblincore, or once you unusually find yourself at a charity gala in San Francisco and a tech exec asks you if he needs to be involved that his teen daughter is obsessive about cottagecore (sure, this occurred to me). Take any noun, add the suffix “core,” and also you’re good to go.
There isn’t any extra pure terminus to this phenomenon than “corecore,” a meta aesthetic from “nichetok” that makes use of nihilistic video clips to create one thing so absurd and meaningless that one way or the other, it comes again round and makes you are feeling one thing. It leans into our impulse to masks all of our feelings in twelve layers of irony, however within the course of, will get so earnest that it may not be ironic in spite of everything.
Check out arguably the preferred corecore video, which tallied up 2.2 million likes. It begins with a clip from a wage transparency account, by which folks ask strangers what they do and the way a lot cash they make. A baby says that when he grows up, he desires to be a physician, and when the host asks him how a lot he desires to make, he says, “I’m gonna make… folks really feel okay.” Then, you’re instantly uncovered to fast-cycling clips: a timelapse of a busy avenue; a man screaming; aged folks enjoying slot machines in a on line casino; a TikToker speaking a couple of rooster that lives within the metaverse; and other people dashing out of a storage in disaster.
Some corecore movies appear to be they may come out of an overwrought documentary that tells us actually apparent truths about how social media makes us lonely; others make little sense in any respect. However most of those movies are tied collectively by a common malaise — a priority that life has no which means and expertise is alienating us from each other. Inside corecore, we see clips of robots at CES speaking about how individuals are afraid of them, demos of recent VR headsets, and clips from Elon Musk’s look on Joe Rogan’s podcast. This lack of religion in company tech innovation is the precise reverse of the ever-present “day a life as a tech worker” pattern, which shockingly isn’t a top-down company propaganda psyop (… or is it).
Corecore has been widespread on TikTok since late 2020, however the techno-futurism-doom vibes really feel particularly applicable now, as we watch Microsoft, Google, Meta, Amazon and Salesforce all wage huge layoffs inside weeks. These nichetok posters are in all probability not reacting to the state of tech employment, however one thing larger that encompasses it: how we’re all topic to the whims of some billionaire tech guys who can simply resolve to purchase Twitter or make “metaverse” a phrase that standard folks take into consideration. And naturally, there’s the added layer of irony that corecore is, too, a part of that ecosystem — that individuals are making TikTok accounts devoted to creating their very own corecore compilations, promising issues like “face reveals” as soon as they attain 10,000 followers, utilizing an anti-capitalist, lonely aesthetic to realize social capital.
Corecore isn’t the primary meme of its type. In any given second in web tradition, there’s often some kind of absurdist meme in circulation, whether or not it’s corecore, deep-fried memes, bizarre Fb, unhealthy animated movies, or the iterations on loss.jpg. That’s as a result of it’s very regular, virtually cliché at this level, to make nonsensical artwork in response to a world that doesn’t appear to make any sense. As anybody who’s taken an introductory artwork historical past class is aware of, that is how Dadaist artists reacted to the tragedies of World Battle I — and now, it’s how up to date meme-makers reply to the horrifying realization that we’re all hooked on scrolling via quick type movies. And it’s how the best minds of the bizarre web will react once more, the following time the world feels a bit too dystopian.
Ultimately, the one factor that actually is sensible about corecore is the truth that it exists.