What is Arcadism?

October 13, 2019
What is Arcadism?

When I was a young kid, my dad and I would go to the Arcade. Video arcades in America were very popular back then. After seeing all the lights and colors, all the imagination fused into the electronic monolith - there was, without a doubt, a very euphoric feeling as well. This euphoria and the taste for it, never quite goes away.

This nostalgic feeling and the yearning associated with the era can undoubtedly be attributed to being a key element in the Vaporwave movement.

I believe many digital movements were caused by this nostalgia that mainly came from the American Arcade era. What these virtual movements maintain stylistically in design, mood, and feel represents the peak of the American Arcade Experience.

The moments experienced in these spaces, likely mean differently to all those who experienced them. For me, the experience was so strong that it urged me to create a new term called Arcadism: A philosophy, lifestyle, and design approach that focuses on creating a modern conversation about technology and materials that are inspired by our first true experience with technology. In my case, The Monolith.

THE MONOLITH (2001: A Space Odyssey) 1968

I believe the arcade experience was the most fun we had with technology, and it was also our earliest experience with it. It may very well be the first time we engaged with technology for entertainment, in public, and mass. The nature of the Arcade, in its perfect form, is that it is a public enjoyment of the artificial in a communal context. I want to bring attention to this notion - what these arcades symbolize for humanity is far greater than we may have ever anticipated or realized. I also like to use the Arcade for the anchor of this philosophy and lifestyle because, at its core, the experience encouraged us to have fun and to express ourselves freely through a new medium.

I think this sense of enjoyment and fun is a great reminder for me and others that we should enjoy this life, and we should enjoy our practice. We should work cheerfully. It is a reminder of a glorious childlike curiosity that should always be nurtured as we grow older.

These are the pillars and points of inspiration/conversation for Arcadism:

1. Technology

“Techwear” style implies more then electronic technology for Arcadism

As we move forward into the future, we cannot possibly foresee a relationship with the world that does not also include technology.

As it makes our life easier, it must be used with good intentions and with proper education. I want us to explore technology as it relates to simplifying and making life easier for humanity. What is the best technology and how should we discuss it and explore it?


2. Mobility

Since the arcades themselves were not mobile, they were fantastic because they did not take up space in your home (assuming you weren't a collector). Instead, you went to the Arcade to experience the game you wanted, and when you left that facility, you also left the experience there… In this way, the gaming lifestyle and your lifestyle were entirely separate. I think this is something to be admired. In today's era, a whole console could fit in your bag or pocket. Also, mobile gaming has become the dominant way to experience games in the eastern world.

I think mobility in gaming has its benefits and its negative aspects, but I do believe the mobility of lifestyle is something to be focused on with Arcadism. Not necessarily the portability of the gaming experience, but rather, freeness and detachment as it relates to material objects.

Mobile gaming Esports

If we haven't reduced the amount of space our items occupy, in a time where many narratives say that our space on this planet is becoming limited, then what is our advancement in technology worth? If we are not able to leave certain items behind or in their proper facilities, how can we maintain simplicity and efficiency in life? I think mobility is interesting, important, and useful for many people as we approach the lifestyle and our processes in creation.

As our technology shrinks in size, we should think about how we move with it. Motion is indeed essential for a healthy life.


3. Information

I think when considering philosophy, the information should undoubtedly be a key component. In the Information Age, information is definitely at a point of excess.

If we decide to live together, we should encourage each other, and we should share accurate and useful information. This can help us prepare and understand our present and future circumstances.


4. Community

I think this is the cornerstone or critical component of the Arcadist. Arcades were built with a focus on community use, and we cannot exist on our own. We must invest in our communities.


As an Arcadist and the creator of the term Arcadism, I wanted to give some background to the design philosophy and pair it with images that seem to represent and symbolize that of technology, mobility, information, and community. As we move forward in our consumption and design of life, we should urge for efficient technology, prioritize our mobility, distribute and share useful information, and build up our digital and real-world communities.

If you believe in this philosophy and think that its beginning stages are something of value, please reach out to me at @jabrilpower.