Redefining the Past Digitally
Aamina Hussain
Junior, LSA


Digital collage series


In her image series, “Redefining the Past,” the artist, Aamina Hussain, utilizes Adobe Photoshop to craft original visuals exploring the transformative impact of technology on societal expectations. The series delves into the influence of global connectivity and social media on shaping contemporary culture, specifically focusing on GenZ and their ability to transcend societal norms. Each image encapsulates GenZ’s perspectives on ego, interpersonal connections, history, aspirations, and financial security. The recurring use of pink symbolizes breaking gender barriers, while fashion trends highlight evolving values. Vintage pop culture icons further underscore the link between past and present, inviting contemplation on societal evolution.

Redefining the Past uses Adobe Photoshop to create original images, focusing on how technology has allowed us to evolve and completely change societal expectations. This image series showcases five digital collages examining how the internet has manifested interconnectedness through creating a singular global culture. These images reflect the reality of today’s generation because of advances in electrical and digital technologies which are incorporated throughout the series, such as the electrical outlet, which highlights the fact that singular inventions have allowed us to create a whole new alternate reality which is reflected in the choice of collage as a medium. The juxtaposition of everyday technologies such as laptops, which we take for granted, surrounded by the manifestations of what they allow us to create and the feelings they invoke, show the alluring chaos of the digital frontier we have access to. 

This sense of exploration is exemplified and explored in this work by GenZ, who have witnessed this rapid change in technological breakthrough firsthand, allowing them to break past societal barriers and expectations, which is the focus of my images. I have showcased GenZ’s perspective on this by focusing on today’s five aspects of society and how they have impacted this generation: our relationship with our ego, with others, our past, our aspirations, and monetary security. Each image represents one of these ideas through my personal experiences and perspective. 

Unlike previous generations, the first image showcases how Gen Z has an easier time achieving their dreams due to socioeconomic and demographic barriers being rebelled against through digital culture. The second image shows the barriers broken in the ability to be recognized due to social media and the double-edged sword that it is for this generation’s mental health. The third image illustrates how Gen Z, especially in America, can reclaim their traditional cultures through digital preservation, explored through my own South Asian culture. The fourth image represents how new currencies have allowed barriers to be broken in socioeconomic security. Lastly, the fifth image represents the creation of online subcultures, creating safe spaces for vulnerable communities. 

I have also represented GenZ using pink throughout the series, which represents breaking gender barriers. The showcasing of current trends in fashion throughout the series represents the “newness” in the change of our values. Lastly, using vintage pop culture icons shows the link between the past and how reevaluating how we want to be a society impacts us.