Powers of Cringe: An Essay on Aesthetics of Degradation
Bad taste has been used in the work of queer artists such as Paul Morrissey and John Waters, as an affront to polite society in the struggle for marginal visibility. However, in today’s climate of overdriven self-curation, minor divergences from the norm are cringeworthy. Bad taste is accepted as edgy online branding, but cringey branding is anathema. Anything seems acceptable, but everything is vulnerable to becoming cringe. Is cringe collateral for progressiveness, and if so, are artists who reclaim cringe performing the zenith of self-acceptance?

This video essay formally explicates cringe aesthetics in internet culture. It attempts an aerial view at cringe, using art history and post- marxist frameworks to account for how cringe emerged in today’s technological paradigm.

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Writing by: Val Leya You
Animation by: Val Leya You
Commissioned by: Tour de Moon & Output Field
Transcript: Click Here
Citations: Click Here