Aesthetic is an adjective, referring to the philosophical doctrine of aesthetics, which focuses on the study of beauty.
The term also refers to a series of memes and digital artworks, that are primarily influenced by the vaporwave subculture, as well as nostalgic 80’s and 90’s inspired visuals.
The word “Aesthetic” has been an active part of the English language since 1798, when it was adopted from German.
It was adopted by the vaporwave movement at the beginning of the 2010’s, as the genre was gaining traction on Tumblr.
The term became closely associated with the song of vaporwave artist Macintosh Plus, titled “リサフランク420 / 現代のコンピュー”.
Spread and Usage
Throughout 2013 and 2014, various vaporwave music videos were uploaded to YouTube, and on December 30th, 2014, the Reddit sub r/vaporwaveaesthetics was launched.
Satirical songs, and videos were steadily uploaded to YouTube throughout the second half of the 2010’s, all fulfilling the “Aesthetic” requirements of the vaporwave genre, spreading the meme further online.
Wallpapers displaying this style also became a popular commodity online.