Yesterday, the Y2K Aesthetic Institute, which curates “late ‘90s-2003 futurism,” posted a thread of ‘90s rave flyers (scanned from a 1999 book called Barcelona Club Flyers), which depict an array of visual styles you’ll likely associate with the final years of the 20th century. The Y2K Aesthetic Institute exists to classify and name these styles, and it assigns a colorful variety of aesthetic descriptors to the flyers in the thread: Supergraphic Ultramodern, Gen-X Soft Club, Cyberdelia, googie-atomic kitsch, zen-future, and “Raygun magazine-style grunge typography.” It all adds up to a coherent gestalt, a vivid time capsule from a period that seems underrepresented in today’s cacophony of recirculating aesthetics from past eras (as the thread notes, the rave flyers’ aesthetics borrow heavily from prior decades themselves).
These flyer scans make me nostalgic—not just because they represent a bygone era that overlapped with my youth, but because of what event flyers as a medium meant in the 20th century, and what has changed since then.
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