DAMN° 86 – Redefining Pop Culture

According to cultural critic James Dyer, Pop today is less an aesthetic and more an at- titude. Specifically, it is an attitude that cultivates the easy-going, digestible version of events. He urges artists and designers to immerse themselves in complexity, nuance, and the realisation that no problem has a definite solution.
In this issue we deconstruct Pop to discover elements of irony, satire and escapism, and we look at how Pop’s biggest power lies in how it unifies, how it breaks the boring binary, and how it offers fans a temporary reprieve from the challenges and complexities of real life — and not just a peripheral ‘aside’. Critics can condemn pop culture for its commercialism, and for prioritising narratives and visuals that are merely uplifting and entertaining. What the sternest of detractors undervalue, however, is the relief such distractions from harsh realities can bring; the psychological calm amidst the worst of upheavals that a piece of pop refuge provides. And in times like these, when we all feel so divided, confused and scared, this feels like a crucial reminder that a common-ground amid division can still exist.

See Gabrielle Kennedy’s Editorial intro to issue 86 here