People are everywhere, and they all have individual tastes. The majority of us fit somewhere in the mainstream, but we all demonstrate tendencies in one way or another in some shape or form that could be described as alternative. Whether it's the way we make our tea to the way we style every inch of ourselves, there's usually something about us that is different to the norm. When we meet another person who is the same as us, in a world of being the odd one out, an exhilaration occurs, a small rush of pleasant surprise that motivates us to feel good about our life choice.
This is the institution of community that creates bonding with like-minded individuals. When the buzz of being alike in a dissimilar world takes a hold, we enjoy the company of this person just a little bit more. We therefore like to spend time with them, and communities provide for this by providing establishments and places of congregation that appeal to unique trends and subcultures. From the clubhouse or the local bar that plays your kind of music, each step from one side of society to the other has the same notion of similarity breeds easy bonding and pleasant experience.
Add a continual flow of entertainment and refreshments, all styled in the way of the particular subculture that predominates the establishment, and the cultural relevance is set to appeal to and maintain relationships with like minded people. With alternative scene interests, the locality of like-minded individuals may not be adequate to justify a bricks and mortar place of congregation. Although the main stream alternative has its bars and nightclubs that play all the latest underground music, there are many scenes which tend to go unheard of until they're discovered online.
Before the internet it was fanzines that were forerunners in the underground culture scene. With compiled contents made up from an editor and several contributors, regular issues were and still are distributed around local communities. These would breed micro-cultures in the way their peer selected authorship would remain fairly stable and the readership would enjoy the continuity of style. As the reach grew for fanzines, as more copies were printed off, the readership would grow and if they were lucky, things would take off. Now, with blogging, the copies printed isn't relevant. Anyone with a printer can print a blog page if they want to, for private non-commercial use it is absolutely legal, and so the institutions that media creates have grown to larger magnitudes.
The underground media scene often resides in shoe string budget blogs (much like this one) and when dedicated and thought out sites are produced, the readership respects the work put in, enjoys the message and vibe, and feels similarity to the topics being talked about. Art, music, writing, fashion, and all sorts of other things make the talking points, even celebrity gossip can hit alternative subculture, and as long as the topics don't nod along with the things "all the other stuff" is talking about, it remains safe and dry on the other side of the societal lake.
So it doesn't really matter if it's a public place that caters for a scene or a particular interest, or an online community of like-minded thinkers, or even a paper and binding community of readers and writers who contribute to the fanzine movement that still enjoys popularity today. The energy put into fuelling the experience with a continual influx of fresh ideas along with the flow of everything that matters to the crowd, institutions can thrive. Once a community establishes itself and becomes an institution, where the self sustaining community of like-minded individuals remains continuous and evolving along with the community as a whole, the scene is well grown and has become part of culture.
With new art forms, and styles, the cultural response will not contain the element of likeness which more traditional forms enjoy. In order to bridge the gap, a definite evolution needs to be shown from where the ideas for what is now on display came from and which route of thought was taken from the initial thought. By manner of describing how what we have now is relevant to what you already know, it is more likely to become accepted. Finding the bridge that defines a new cultural movement that was perhaps created by some youths in an inner city district is more the job of bigger artists who glean interesting expressive ideas from the underground scene. The step up from underground anomalae to over-ground cultural shift often requires several communities working in unison to form one institution. The benefits of this and the downfalls of this are determined on exactly what the movement stands for and what it entails. New music and new clothing behave in different ways, and the people who can take the steps behave in different ways too.
Only with a dedicated mindset and a willingness to try new approaches with new ideas can any underground artist make a step up into some kind of professional realm. It needs to be done out of love and pleasure, with the notion that it doesn't matter if it ever makes anything more than a few smiles. However, once we become professionally established, the ladder has Fibonacci steps, and it doesn't take long before there's a lot of air between us and the next one. That is why it is vital to have work talked about, mentioned, and even used in ways that are no longer under the control of the creator. When the world gets hold of something and discovers it can "play" with it, it will do it until its heart's content.
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