Post 4: Opposite Upcycle Aesthetic- Cyberpunk

Since the aesthetic of my upcycle project is earthcore/granola girl, I would say that the opposite aesthetic would be Cyberpunk. In making the decision to choose cyberpunk as my opposite aesthetic, I first began by reviewing the core aspects of the earthcore/granola girl aesthetic, which are natural fabrics and earth tones, bohemian and hippie influence, sustainability and ethical/eco-conscious practices, and most importantly, connection to nature. Thus, when attempting to find an aesthetic that was the opposite of this, I began to find the opposite of each of the main characteristics of the earthcore aesthetic. Some elements I found from this were bright/neon, inorganic color palettes, an aesthetic centered around technology rather than the natural world, something that evoked short-term gratification and excessive dopamine over natural, holistic practices, urban decay and pollution. After listing each of these opposite characteristics and some thorough research, I found that the aesthetic that best met the needs of the “opposite” of the earthcore aesthetic would be cyberpunk. The cyberpunk aesthetic is a distinctive and visually captivating style that emerged in the late 20th century, primarily in literature, film, and art. It’s characterized by a fusion of high-tech elements and urban grit, often set in dystopian futures or near-future worlds where advanced technology coexists with societal decay and corporate dominance. 

To further analyze the core elements of the cyberpunk aesthetic, it is important to further explain the meaning behind the term “high-tech, low-life.” This juxtaposition is at the core of cyberpunk aesthetics. It portrays a world where futuristic technologies like cybernetic enhancements, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality are widespread, yet society is marked by poverty, crime, and urban decay.

Additionally, another significant aspect of the cyberpunk aesthetic is urban sprawls and mega cities. Cyberpunk settings typically feature vast, sprawling cities dominated by towering skyscrapers, neon-lit streets, and crowded, chaotic urban environments- which further enhances its importance in a synthetic, fabricated society and aesthetic where one’s connection to earth and natural elements would not even be considered a priority.

It is also very important to recognize the dystopian society that is often embodied in the cyberpunk aesthetic. Cyberpunk worlds are often dystopian in nature, characterized by rampant inequality, authoritarian governments, and environmental degradation. The gap between the rich and the poor is stark, with the wealthy living in luxury while the majority struggle to survive in squalor. In an aesthetic where environmental degradation is one of its core aspects, it’s safe to say that the cyberpunk aesthetic is a relatively strong opponent of being the opposite of the earthcore/granola girl aesthetic that is centered around revitalization of earth and its natural beauty and resources. Down below is a sketch I made to depict the essence of the cyberpunk aesthetic.

Some ways in which this opposite aesthetic can be enacted with the overall function and materials that I already have or have planned to use is first, by the simple fact that using the old yerba mate can as a vessel for the candle can symbolize excessive consumerism in our modern society.  Guayaki Yerba Mate is an organic, sustainable brand, where the main material they use to mass produce yerba mate globally is aluminum metal to sell it in metal cans. Although metal cans can be easily recycled making it a relatively sustainable material to use, in terms of the traditional and historical ways in which people began drinking yerba mate, it was out of a gourd that was found in nature. In this way, cultures for hundreds of years have been able to make, create, and share yerba mate in a sustainable way that doesn’t need to manufacture a vessel to enjoy its natural wonders. Thus, the visual element of the yerba mate can as a vessel for my candles can in a way, embody the rise in technological forces infringing on natural elements and resources in the modern world as these cans are manufactured in a factory that emits carbon emissions into the atmosphere, in addition to embodying the continuous exponential rise in consumerism in America- as a yerba mate can was something manufactured, bought, and sold in stores nationwide. 


Cyberpunk aesthetic image example 1.
Cyberpunk aesthetic image example  2.
Cyberpunk aesthetic image example 3.


With the help of chatgpt to further explore the cyberpunk aesthetic, down below are the sources I used to gather information to formulate my response. Disclaimer: Information gathered from chatpgt was fact-checked.

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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Jess Corbitt
    May 8, 2024 11:26 am

    I appreciate how you analyzed the social differences between these aesthetics. I think that’s an aspect that often gets overlooked.


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