Talks in the Corecore Corner

Corecore, borne from the innovative TikTok editing community aptly labeled “NicheTok,” is an expression of art uniquely situated to living in the 21st century. These simple videos can be made in 20 minutes, using a free program like iMovie, or Capcut. As of right now, #corecore has racked up over 288 million views on TikTok, and is redefining the traditional method of online art. 

These edits stitch random clips from movies, TV shows, TikToks, news, lyrics from songs, pictures from history, paintings, nature documentaries and “Family Guy”: creating a Frankenstein video to evoke an emotional response in the viewer. Like a pulled-apart burrito, edits unfold in a way most pleasing to the eye, and to the editor—without restriction or formula. Many of the other “core” sides of TikTok, such as cottagecore, businesscore and weird core, have specific rules and aesthetics to their audience. However, corecore has a unique, contradictory theme—chaos. 

Documentary footage spliced with clips from Kung Fu Panda: “Today is a gift. That is why it is called a present.” Another video uses the story “The Egg” by Andy Weir, adapted to millions on YouTube by Kurzgesagt: “I created you to mature.” “The Egg” is a story representing the idea that all of humanity is reincarnations—time and death are not real, as every living person that ever was or will be is a singular soul, growing and learning with each life. Directly after this is catboy Walter White from “Breaking Bad.”

These edits are humorous and depressing and alarmingly self-aware. Themes from these videos range from media addiction and global warming, to space and the pleasure of music, unique and weird and completely different. A clip from stop-motion movie “Fantastic Mr. Fox” is cut in with footage of a murmuration flying above the treeline.

“I know what it’s like to feel different,” says Mrs. Fox. She wiggles her hands in between the last two words, hesitating. Her son stares.

“But I’m not different, am I?” 

The beauty of corecore is the asylum of complete subjectivity it provides to its audience. It is the most personalized form of art on TikTok, as every person watching an edit takes their own meaning away from the same video. Or maybe, it’s completely random.

It’s not without backlash, however. TikTok user littlefreak26 made a video that has over 1.6 million views about the trend. This video addressed the problems that corecore contains, namely the lack of meaning behind it. While corecore prides itself on being a turducken existential crisis, littlefreak26 and other users argue that it has no value, and only serves to give an excuse for complacency in its viewers. 

This idea isn’t new—social media consumption is speculated to be the leading cause of depression online, due to the increasing amount of information circulating the internet. A 2019 study from the National Library of Medicine linked depression in university students to excessive social media usage, a phenomenon that is growing in the digital age. 

Corecore, however absurdist it may seem, is a source of comfort for many isolated teens who are battling the onslaught of media in today’s tech-dominated world. Growing up with unlimited online access is difficult–why not reflect on it?