Friday, July 10, 2009

What is Steampunk?

For reasons that will soon become clear to you, we at North Coast Imports, are especially fond of a new sub-genre the kids are all talking about - called Steampunk

I thought I would write up a short blog post about this great thing, but keep in mind that this post only scratches the surface. There are authors, costumers, artists, film directors, hobbiests, tinkerers, and inventors all adding to and building on Steampunkery at an alarming rate. You can read about Steampunk on Wikipedia, of course, but there are also blogs ... and ... web forums aplenty.

"What does a Steampunk do?" You may ask. A Steampunk might collect recordings of turn-of-the-century steam engines. Someone enamored with the Steampunk aesthetic might also turn their humdrum computer into a work of art that looks like it came from Jules Verne's imagination...

...or, a Steampunk might dress the part...

The idea might be summed up as a longing for re-injecting style and beauty into our otherwise cold and artless modern lives. There was a sense of style and craftsmanship of the steam era that might as well be revisited today. Why shouldn't a computer be beautiful? Everyday items should inspire imagination and be aesthetically pleasing while still carrying out their functions., Steampunk items tend to portray an alternate timeline... as if machines like Charles Babbage'sAnalytical Engine was allowed to evolve in the mainstream of technology, or if the Hindenberg didn't crash, or if the microchip were never invented... our present day might look a lot like the Steampunks' expression - everything would have to be done with clockwork and steam pressure.

...but I feel that the important lesson to be learned is the idea that all things can and must be interesting to look at. Why settle for doldrum-looking devices and tools that only serve the function they must.

Clocks are a perfect example.

Mechanical clocks are interactive works of art that provide a daily function. They are kinetic sculpture. They are tools that don't require electricity to run.

If you're a member of the Steampunk family, browse our website. If you're a horologist, look into the world of Steampunkery. You won't be disappointed...

No comments:

Post a Comment