Why are we so obsessed with nostalgia? Is it because we’re longing for a less turbulent time? Is it because we don’t want to face the idea that everything we grew up on – all the chokers, all the glittering memes and the savage msn chats, all that love you gave out on Myspace – all really meant nothing? The answer is manifold.
@laraberlyne – the Instagram account run by 24-year-old Brooklyn based vintage buyer by the same name – aims to mix a hint of that glorious noughties nostalgia with a 2018 internet-anxious update. “I’m so happy it comes across that way, because that’s exactly my intention. I want my posts to be relatable. Technology and instant communication makes us anxious – and has since the noughties!”
Scrolling through the account you’ll see iconic imagery that only those early adopters of the jittery internet will understand: Myspace-themed memes, a fiery, dark ode to Pete Wentz, and even Miley Cyrus (as Hannah Montana) promoting a McDonald’s Barbie collaboration. It’s all there, sparkly lettering, with Illuminati references to boot.
“I’m the Y2K virus!” Berlyne tells us. “My posts definitely demand attention. They’re stubborn, loud and consistent. I want to hypnotise people with my endless rainbow feed. I love when I see people like pictures from two years ago – that’s a lot of material to go through! I want to grab every drop of your attention in the two seconds you scroll past my work.”
That she does. Putting your favourite tragi-celebs in an aesthetic so dated it already feels truly vintage. “It’s definitely a celebration of the aesthetics of the time, but also a critique of how atrociously we’ve treated these celebrities from the early 2000s, and a reflection of how we see ourselves and treat others in modern times,” she explains.
Berlyne loves all the usual culprits – Lindsay Lohan is her favourite to collage, “especially when I’m spiralling”. Paris Hilton too, who she posts when she’s feeling “better than everyone else”. Alongside her 00s heroes, Berlyne often appears too, putting herself next to images of Snooki, Justin Bieber and Kim K.
“I think my page appeals with the rise of Y2K fashion coming back and Instagram memes and surrealist millennial jokes rooted in pop culture trending online,” she continues. “My artwork rides the line between the two worlds. I think that my appeal is actually pretty niche. I’ve been told that the mass of hundreds of collages and idolisation of ‘trash’ celebrities on my page is scary!”
Perhaps it’s scary because it’s a cold hard look at what we used to think was okay — circles of shame, Hugh Hefner, Grand Theft Auto, Pete Goddam Wentz, laughing at Linday Lohan and Britney when we’d all forced them into very public breakdowns. @laraberlyne captures that strange feeling of discomfort and nostalgia, humour and an incredibly serious look at our mental health on the internet: it’s both nostalgic and the perfect antidote to it.