The delirious drossolalia of post-pinkcore edits

How new digital art scenes are leveling up the CapCut chaos and delivering incorporeal blessings.

Art by Tyler Farmer.

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Remember when corecore set the internet ablaze and everyone from art critics to news anchors went mad litigating whether it was avant-garde art or sad-boy shitposting? I always thought the most viral strain of corecore, which paired poignant music with slow doomer montages, was too basic. The videos’ commentary was either boilerplate or annoyingly didactic.

My favorite edits were the deliciously deranged: 15-to-20 second clips of FPS gameplay mashed into alpha wolves and cute cats with a goofy Bladee soundtrack. This style of silly-senseless editing, also known as “pinkcore,” predates corecore, though it became subsumed under and conflated with corecore after viewers started using all the tags at once. A user named pinkcoree started making an infant version of the style in early 2022, and it slowly took off.

A pinkcore edit by ballincaat43.

While corecore stole all the mainstream glory, pinkcore quietly generated some of the most irresistibly cute and cathartic shortform clips. They’re like parodies of the classic Call of Duty edit. Imagine classic 2000s boomer cat memes for the fatally fried zoomer. The biggest creator is 15-year-old ballincaat43, whose CapCut cat edits have reeled in over two million followers and a crazed fanbase that spams his audio-logo intro “thank you ballinncaat43” in the comments. Pinkcore has spawned a memealogical tree of shitposty descendants, from the dog-themed wilbertcore and Uruguayan football player-centric “nunezcore” to individual creator aesthetics like fishcore, halocore, konecore, and the color-cracked “distcore.”

This multiverse of experimental post-pinkcore strains speaks to the way shortform content has become the de facto vanguard of video media. Nowadays, kids often use phones way more than computers, and the most visually striking stuff on small screens are these 16:9 aspect ratio blitzes of stimuli. While the editors hail from around the world, the mosaics of mad media bridge language gaps. This edit art has become a post-language mother tongue for the younger generation. It’s a kind of ecstatic and exhausting drossolalia: instead of wordless vocalizing produced by an extreme religious experience, it is words and feelings communicated through a kinetic mashup of digital detritus. It’s bowing down to the algorithm deity, letting the frenetic flow of digi-data possess you and spewing it back out in a nonsensical torrent of flashes, images, and sounds. Viewers often thank the video creators in the comments like they’ve just received a gift, an incorporeal blessing that infuses them with an inexplicable feeling of delight.

A 30core edit by Rawdogger22.

Pinkcore’s most popular and perplexing offspring might be 30core, also known as 30theory. The videos often feature pics and clips of a rotating cast of oddballs—there’s the irony-riddled cult rapper Joeyy, the extremely unfiltered vlogger Kevin Leonardo, this dude standing on a basketball court who always looks constipated (also known as “evil ahh fat guy”). Editors stitch lewd and freaky soundbites with video game footage and a slew of disparate media, from alpha wolves to a popular clip of a guy saying “I’m about to bomb this whole mfing plane.” It’s trash chaos. The biggest creators also typically have their own intro (someone saying their name), which feels like a sweet callback to an earlier era of YouTube gaming content.

While the videos share commonalities, the scene itself is structureless and the guidelines are pure vibes. A 16-year-old from Hungary who goes by the pseudonym Rawdogger22 told me he has no idea what 30core is, even though he’s been using the tag and amassed 80,000 followers by making the videos. He was inspired by bludlung, the original editor who coined 30core, after seeing their videos on his ForYou page one day last summer.

A popular edit by bludlung, the creator who coined 30core.

Despite the formlessness, a feverish community surrounds the scene—from repeat viewers obsessed with the content to editors who became friends and collaborators. Rawdogger22 said he’s in a Discord chat with a slew of fellow 30core makers, and that while there’s group camaraderie, there’s also a surprising amount of beef. He specifically pointed at ballinncaat43, who’s basically the “mainstream” face of 30core—the account you’d show your ancient grandmother if she was curious about “what the kids are up to these days.” His videos are like best-hits montages of cute cats, which annoys Rawdogger22 and others. “Lots of us in the 30core community agree that Ballincat is an asshole—he’s farming views,” Rawdogger22 asserted. “If we look at his edits, we review them, it’s basically just cats and cat content.” (I love the idea that a cluster of editors sit on calls forensically analyzing their fellow creators’ shitposts.) 

Viewers are just as intense. It’s common to see users maligning anyone who’s not ballinncaat43 or bludlung, or complaining about people fanboying over one particular editor. “Same exact thing as fartboy979, but I’m not against it,” one user wrote on a recent 30core edit

“bludlung out here influencing a whole generation of editors,” a viewer commented on a viral 30core edit from last summer. 

Despite how inane and incoherent the scene may appear, editors put real effort into clips. Rawdogger22 said he considers the edits art, and often spends three to four hours sculpting them with Adobe Premiere Pro. Others have moved from the barebones CapCut to highly technical software like After Effects and drastically improved their clips. At its most stylish and otherworldly, 30core clips look like music videos made by Gen Alpha delinquents. “My goal is just to amaze them—the visuals, the sounds,” he said of his videos.

A 30core clip by fartboy979.

The life cycle of these editing scenes is just as swift as the videos. 30core blew up mid-to-late last year and the style—besides a few recent gems, like lightning.alt’s elegantly goofy Lethal Company edits—is already fading into obscurity. This is partly because the editors seem to have gotten bored or felt, at half a year old, that it was becoming a fossil. They’ve mostly stopped posting. Rawdogger22 and 30core affiliates like Candyfish have formed a splinter group called Yellow Yorker (yes, no more -cores please), which they hope will become the hot new sensation. “This other trend Yellow Yorker is going to take it over. It just started. We just made it two days ago,” he said. (There doesn’t yet seem to be a defining quality of Yellow Yorker videos, which look like typical game edits.)

The experience of consuming these trends is as delirious as the videos themselves—it feels like being hit with one gibberish label after another in an endless conveyor belt of quirked-up fads. While many clips are hypnotic and oddly hilarious, there’s a lot of genuinely trash 30core edits—remove the silly “olalia” and you’re left with straight-up DROSS. Some edits just add to the ever-increasing garbage heap of low-effort internet content. Nowadays, I often yearn for something more immersive. There isn’t much like the genius six-minute YouTube poops that parodied iCarly and MLG edits that made it look like you were fighting neon malware in real-life. Years ago, ultra-cluttered edit trends like 21st Century Memes felt fresh because there was little like it that captured the madness of the digital experience. But now even both mundane and inventive content, from MrBeast and Cocomelon to the fantastical Skibidi Toilet series, deploys retention editing. The technique basically apes what montage parodies were doing in 2013 by cramming sounds and movements in every frame to seize viewers’ attention. This homogenous hyperactivity is ubiquitous since today’s app algorithms prize watch length and replays. It makes trends like pinkcore and 30core feel tiresome when everything is already so overheated.

What if the young creators spent more time honing their After Effects chops and expanded the scene into a wilder dimension of chaos editing? What if they invented ways to express the uncanny thrill of these post-ironic esoteric mishmashes in slow longform videos? The solution to feeble ephemerality is commitment. Instead of flashy content that rides the algorithm, the most inventive digital art scenes are often months or years in the making. One of my favorite 30core editors, Made in Mud, didn’t make the most pristine clips, but they were excitingly eccentric. Instead of just imitating the goofy rhythm of a bludlung or ballinncaat43 video, their whimsical clips featured cats flying in the Nether and playing electric guitar in Minecraft. It felt like the beginning of a surreal evolution into something weirder, but then they stopped posting.

The best stuff comes out of communities of artists with a library of lore who push each other to innovate, who unlock new ways of manipulating editing software and sculpt a fascinating world you can get lost in. Rawdogger22 seemed to have that mindset now; he said Yellow Yorker would have a future if they really sat down and planned it out. After two years of the corecore-pinkcore continuum, editors have squeezed as much juice out of this style as possible. It’s time for a new era.

A Rawdogger22 edit tagged #yellowyorker.

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