Recommended listening while reading this article: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGBMTAGzWPs (Toby Fox - Fallen Down)
If you've been surfing around on the modern internet for long enough, in various corners you can find certain images. Certain images that evoke a strange sense of nostalgia, grief, detachment, paranoia, and all sorts of feelings that could just be boiled down to feeling "weird." For example:
Images like these ones scattered across the web like shards of glass from a distorted mirror. Although there are many different classifications and different levels of the aesthetic, I'll be specifically delving into what is called "weirdcore" today. Grammatically, adding "-core" to a word just explains that this is the essence of something. For example, "breakcore" music is called so because of the heavy use of "drum breaks," which are basically drum solo samples, in the genre, therefore "the core of this contains many drum breaks." Same concept applies for weirdcore. "The core of this genre is that it's weird." Most of these images put you into a liminal space, a place of transition, a place of uncertainty. The obvious example of a liminal space being the original backrooms image. Although being a very simple concept to understand, the nature of weirdcore is just... puzzling.
In this image, you have a rough idea of what the creator was trying to get at, but the full picture always escapes. There's so many questions to be had, yet barely any answers. You can try to pick everything apart but something else catches your eyes and takes your mind off of what you were trying to figure out, until, in the end, you have no choice but to give up and just accept the feelings and message, whatever it may be, that the image evokes. Alot of the times, in weirdcore images, it feels like the creator wasn't in the right state of mind.
It makes me feel strange how much this image resonates with me. One of the reoccurring themes in weirdcore is a derealization, or dissociation from reality. This image exhibits that perfectly. Like this is a message from the "outside" of the world I'm currently living in. Maybe I am living in a dream right now, maybe the bad things that are happening in my life are because the "physical me" is having a nightmare. As scary as this image is at first glance, these thoughts are, in a way, comforting to my mind. And that's one of the niches of weirdcore, it makes you feel strange but also is inviting, at least to me. This image also extends into another aesthetic, "dreamcore," which is heavily related to weirdcore. Sometimes they're nigh indistinguishable.
Sometimes a clear message or question is presented in the image. Usually in a default-ish font and basic color. Images with one center text or idea can be so strong because the idea or question is shown with such a stress so that your mind is fixated on it. For me, the example above is quite relatable, so my feelings while looking at the image are even more intense. But I also feel a bit paranoid. Like there's something that knows about my presence that I don't know who or where they are. The expression of an idea through text can be minimalistic, or almost overwhelming.
The repeating of different lines of text here, along with the intense imagery, is sort of overwhelming. Like the thoughts are flowing, and you can't stop them. Like the gate that had been holding these things back is broken, and your mind is being flooded with so many ideas, usually negative or empty. I would even go as far as to say that this experience is sort of like a mental breakdown. This relates to another subgenre, "traumacore," which is usually much deeper, and delves into ideas of things that have hurt or traumatized you, and the thoughts that come up when it comes to thinking of them. Sometimes, weirdcore transports you into another dimension.
This image is... nostalgic. It feels so liminal, but it's almost... warm. Until you look into the darkness and take the full image in. Then, it becomes scary. What's waiting for you once you walk down there? Who knows? Is it good? Is it bad? You may never know. But for some reason, a childlike comfort is felt. Like you've been here before. Like, when you were a kid, this is something you could have experienced.
Well, that about wraps up my thoughts about weirdcore. There's so much more to dig into and so many other small subgenres and inspirations and such, but I've written this blog under the sedative of nyquil, so I'm feeling a bit drowsy. I hope this was informative.