Friday, March 14, 2008
I've been steampunked!
I'll admit it. I'm not proud. Three months ago, I didn't know what steampunk is, and now I'm proudly represented among some fine examples of the style. This Treasury (an Etsy term for a collection of items "currated" by an Etsy member, in this case Fairies and Treasures), has the usual hallmarks of the style--the vintage-future-techno punk. But that's not all that it's about.
My investigations of steampunk began when my dad gave me a couple of boxes of old watches and clocks that he dismantled 20 years ago for one of my mother's forgotten art projects. It was a great find, but only a superficial aspect of the style. Still, as I read more about it, I realized how well the steampunk aesthetic fits with the other vintage items that have so captivated me lately.
Steampunk had its origins in science fiction of the 1960s to 1980s and still exists as a fictional movement, but also as a subculture, as a musical genre, and as a style. It's been applied to movies, anime, graphic novels, computer games, and even computers. Steampunk--sometimes referred to as neo-Victorian--hearkens back to the days of steam power, before electricity, combining a touch of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells with a cyberpunk aesthetic, with lace and machine parts in equal measure.
One blog devoted to the style, The Steampunk Home, describes it beautifully: "It's finding a way to combine the past and the future in an aesthetic pleasing yet still punkish way. It's living a life that looks old-fashioned, yet speaks to the future. It's taking the detritus of our modern technological society and remaking it into useful things."
Other definitions and applications of steampunk abound, and I don't pretend to have more than a beginner's knowledge of what it's all about. But it's exciting to explore.