Fungkiigrrl samples from all corners of times past to bring us on a journey through her mind’s eye. (screenshots Valentina Di Liscia/Hyperallergic via Fungkiigrrl on TikTok)

Nostalgia is thriving on TikTok. This is especially true in the videos of Fungkiigrrl, a creator who guides viewers through a curated universe of ’90s to early aughts experiences that are almost tangible but just out of reach. Vibing out to old tunes on her green-screened sets that range from liquidated Borders Bookstores to illustrated Vaporwave lounges, she samples from all corners of times past to bring us on a journey through her mind’s eye.

In an interview with Hyperallergic, Fungkiigrrl shared that platforming her work on TikTok over the last year was the right fit because “it’s like the weirdo zone,” highlighting the variety of active subculture communities rife within the app.

“There’s like a lot of unique, strange, absurdist, Surrealist stuff on TikTok,” she said, adding that the platform’s algorithm has also done wonders for the visibility of her content compared to other video hosts like YouTube and Instagram.

In an era of infinite scrolling, shortened attention spans, and widespread media fatigue, Fungkiigrrl’s content slows us down and takes us for a spin down memory lane with an air of celebration. While lot of nostalgia-based video content on TikTok (i.e. liminal space aesthetics, WeirdCore, DreamCore) is born from the sadness of never being able to go back in time and anxiety about the state of the world, the “Fungkiiverse” and its characters are experienced purely through the lens of appreciation for the spaces and things that have informed our existence.

“There’s like a lot of unique, strange, absurdist, Surrealist stuff on TikTok,” Fungkiigrrl said. (screenshot Valentina Di Liscia/Hyperallergic via TikTok)

Fungkiigrrl specified that the Fungkiiverse is like an alternate universe that “looks very similar to the one that we’re in, but there’s a few things that are different.”

“It’s just a little off — well, it’s a lot off,” she explained. “The pieces of this universe that I’m showing are just a little heightened or strange, stranger, because I already think that our current universe is strange. Here, we’re just adding another layer to it.”

The creator shoots and edits all of her content on her phone using the CapCut app, and sources her graphic assets and backgrounds from the Picsart app’s AI text-to-image generator and Giphy database of GIF content.

“The digital animations I use are ready-made, I’m just putting myself in it to engage with them or like making them into characters or integrating it into the world somehow,” she clarified, pointing to the swanky nightclub TikTok that featured bunch of animated ravens throughout the composition as an example. The costumes on the other hand — well, they’re not costumes at all, really, but just part of Fungkiigrrl’s everyday wardrobe.

The creator has embraced the TikTok-ism of “the girls that get it, get it,” by posting content without any context, leaving Easter eggs all over the For You Pages of lucky lurkers all over. But sometimes, even with the unlimited free real estate afforded by the digital world, the confines of the hand-held rectangle can be stifling for a vision like that of Fungkiigrrl’s which transcends time and delves into trenches of the forgotten. Fungkiigrrl wants to make the Fungkiiverse experiential for all five senses, looking to evoke the sensation of when the giant rainbow parachute was the special activity of the bygone elementary school gym class through installations and intervention art down the line.

As for right now, Fungkiigrrl is crowdfunding to help develop her first indie feature film, Queen of the Nal, which she says will be a “full immersion into afroneoretrosoulglampop™️.” The creator also wants to delve further into the musical element that propels her videography, trying to avoid licensing roadblocks through original compositions and remixes.

“I’m not doing this in the traditional sense how people usually make movies,” Fungkiigrrl clarified. “I still want to greenscreen some of it and maybe edit parts of it on CapCut. It’s a new venture in the sense that I’ve never attempted anything this long. I think it’ll fit into the experimental film category, as there’s no linear plot there will be a lot of time jumps.”

If Fungkiigrrl’s vision for the film is anything like what she posts on TikTok — for free, might I add — I don’t need any further context as I’m already strapped in for the ride.

Rhea Nayyar (she/her) is a New York-based teaching artist who is passionate about elevating minority perspectives within the academic and editorial spheres of the art world. Rhea received her BFA in Visual...

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