Opposite Upcycle Aesthetic: Afrofuturism

As far as I could discern the closest opposite of the Afrofuturism aesthetic would be the Colonial aesthetic. Colonial, referring to the expansion of Europe into other countries dating from approximately the 1500’s – 1800’s. Colonialism typically emulates history, civilization, conquering, and hierarchy, which are at direct odds of Afrofuturism: digital technology, nature, symbiosis, and freedom.

Afrofuturism is all about looking to the future for new ideas and inspiration, while still keeping traditions and heritage close to heart. Colonialism tends to erase the past of the whatever land is conquered, and maintain classic and minimalistic European designs. Most prevalently, the American Colonial house I drew features a symmetric design that was often copied over thousands of houses. Additionally, thr tri-corner hat was also in vogue during the colonial era and rarely featured any ornamentation as to conform to the larger crowd.

Historically, Afrofuturism itself is a movement against Colonialism and all the destruction it brought to Africa. Afrofuturism accentuates original African styles and art to ‘make up’ for all the culture stolen and replaced by foreign societies. Furthermore, colonialism also extensively hurt the development of the African continent, with many of it’s countries still impoverished and classified as third world. The futurism in Afrofuturism seeks to overcome the developmental scars left behind by colonialism, imagining African culture in the digital age and prosperity.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Hey Barrett, I thought you did a great job picking an opposite aesthetic and an even better job highlighting the differences. I also like that this colonial aesthetic somewhat fueled the development of Afrofuturism as a way to revive the culture that had been damaged by foreign societies. Reading this post makes me excited to see your finished project.

  • Sierra Greeley
    February 18, 2024 9:41 pm

    Hi Barrett,
    I like you choice for an opposite aesthetic, contrasting almost the past with the future. I found it hard to pick an opposite aesthetic when there is no clear opposite to the one you chose, so I think this was a good pick! I found it interesting to read a little about the colonial aesthetic in comparison. I’m super interested to see how your project develops.


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