Disposable Simulacra: The Search for Authenticity Through the Analogue Viewfinder of the Digital Age
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Decades after their deaths, analogue aesthetics and apparatuses have been resurrected and massively recommodified. The reasons behind the analogue revival have too often been chalked up to nostalgia, consequently reducing the roles that failed economic and cultural landscapes have played in exacerbating alienation while simultaneously making its resistance consumable. Using Fredric Jameson’s theory of the innate marriage between late capitalism and postmodernism—the current economic and cultural dominant paradigms—this thesis explores the alienating and destabilizing conditions imposed on the so-called millennial generation to explain why they have turned to the analogue as a way to grasp on to the “real” and resist alienation. It considers the limits of this informal struggle as one that is largely anti-capitalist but inevitably tangled in a seemingly-inescapable feedback loop of hip consumerism. This analysis will specifically look at the return of the Polaroid and the massively popular digitally-achieved Polaroid aesthetics associated with social media platforms like Instagram.