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Author Topic: Dieselpunk Art & Culture  (Read 4122 times)
Ottens
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« on: March 06, 2007, 11:50:43 am »

Piecraft's description of Dieselpunk art & culture got me thinking about how a Dieselpunk would look, literally.  Steampunk brings to mind images of Victorian fashion, classicist architecture, late-19th century art.  Dieselpunk, obviously taking place several decades later, may be yet more fascinating.  In a world of further technological development, the Futurist movement surely would have gathered a greater following than in the real-world, and Modernism would have become the prevailing style in art, architecture and in fashion years before it did in our time.  Mostly, it would appear that the fashions that were present between 1930s and 1950s would most probably be reflected in the new society—as well as having a slight militaristic touch to clothing, especially seeing as society would still be under a high threat of the Third World War due to the prolonged Cold War. The fashion, architecture, fine art, cinema and even music, would be drawn upon towards the future development of a dieselpunk world.

               
« Last Edit: March 06, 2007, 01:44:28 pm by Tinkergirl » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2007, 01:49:39 pm »

in my mind:

S.P. - Iron/Brass
D.P. - Steel/Concrete

S.P. - Craftsmanship
D.P. - Mass Production

S.P. - Steam
D.P. - Internal Combustion

S.P. - Hulking
D.P. - Streamlined



I believe that Steampunk would have been in effect had the steam engine NOT kicked off the Industrial Revolution, Dieselpunk would have been a direct result of (happening after) the Industrial Revolution.
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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2007, 03:00:03 pm »

Might be worth looking at the Futurist Movement? 
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2007, 03:36:19 pm »

as far as what I had described or as far as the previous post?


i am completely unfamiliar with futurist.
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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2007, 04:13:00 pm »

Might be worth looking at the Futurist Movement? 

And Retro-futurist!!
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Ottens
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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2007, 04:59:51 pm »

The latter doesn't fit Dieselpunk, or at least not in my perception of the genre.  Retro-futurism, while from the 1940s/50s/60s, looks at a clean, happy future somewhere near the end of the 20th century.  Dieselpunk actually is set during those decades---and in earlier years---and it's a world of grit, dust and dirt.

Futurism very much indeed fits Dieselpunk art.  It's glorification of violence, the machine, velocity and motion are all themes that can be found in Dieselpunk fiction.
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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2007, 10:10:13 pm »

don't forget art decco aesthetics, they go very well with diselpunk.
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« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2007, 02:20:32 am »

I think a lot of the utilitarian, spartan design of Eastern Bloc countries from the 30's through 80's would be a good resource for Dieselpunk.
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« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2007, 05:00:49 pm »

I assume by "Dieselpunk" you mean Pulp.

The Pulp period more-or-less stretches from the late 20's to the early 50's... Basically, the interwar period from the end of WWI to the end of WWII. In fiction and culture, it is sandwiched between the end of the Edwardian Period and Victorian-Edwardian Scientific Romances and the beginning of the Atomic Age and the Science Fiction that came with it. Some Retro-Futurism certainly draws from this period, since Retro-Futurism is any past vision of the future, not just Atomic Age, Googie, Jetsons sort of stuff. The Pulp era had a pretty lively and lurid Science Fiction itself. Keep in mind that the 1939 New York World's Fair theme was "The World of Tomorrow", and its Trylon and Perisphere are Retro-Futurist icons.

Aesthetically, the Pulp era is dominated by streamlined, Art Deco (or Art Moderne as it was actually called at the time) and German Expressionist influences. This is a definite contrast (and often a deliberate one) to Victorian-Edwardian naturalistic, Art Nouveau and Gothic Revival art and architecture. Just compare a Victorian steam train to a 1930's steam train, or the skyline of Victorian London to that of 1930's New York City.

In fashion, the Pulp era is post-suffrage and post-Roaring 20's. Women are still into big hats, but they're showing more leg. On men, the ubiquitous fedora has replaced the tophat and bowler hat as a companion to the Zoot Suit. Now that flight and motorcycles are coming into their own, you're getting the leather bomber jacket with billowing scarf and riding pants. Again, just compare any picture of how people dressed in the Victorian-Edwardian Era with how people dressed in the 1920's, 30's and 40's.

In entertainment and culture, the time period isn't called the "Jazz Age" for nothing. Jazz, Swing, Harlem and Motown, Big Band and Crooners were all big. The Pulp replaced the Penny Dreadful, and the modern comic book was just being invented. Talkies have replaced silent films, and despite the Dirty 30's, Hollywood was entering into its Golden Age. The influence of German Expressionism changed Hollywood films as directors like F.W. Murneau were brought over and Americans like Orson Welles took what they did and ran with it. Speaking of Orson, his infamous War of the Worlds broadcast was October 30, 1938, and wonderfully points out the power of radio - comparable to that of TV today - and the contrast between Pulp's wireless and Victorian's telegraph.

Films are a good place to go to get a feel for it. Some good primary sources are...
- Metropolis: Fritz Lang's 1927 Retro-Futurist vision.
- The Universal Studios Monsters series: Lots of excellent German Expressionist influence. A particular one to pay attention to is The Black Cat, in which the villainous Satanic priest Karloff has a sleek, streamlined, ultra-modern mansion.
- King Kong, Tarzan of the Apes and Tarzan and His Mate: Just to see what real action-adventure films are like.
- The Max and Dave Fleischer Superman cartoons: The first half of the series is best, and filled to the brim with lots of nice streamlined and Deco designs, crazy mad science contraptions using electricity, robots and the like. 
- M: Lang introduces the genre of Film Noir.

And some good secondary sources are:
- Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow: This is exactly the sort of film they would have made in 1939 if they had CGI, warts and all. And as director Kerry Conran's love letter to the Golden Age of Hollywood, it pretty much includes every Pulp trope, from evil German mad scientists to 1930's Retro-Futurism to exotic adventure films.     
- Raiders of the Lost Ark: Steven Speilberg and George Lucas introduce Indiana Jones in this tribute to Pulp serials.
- The Batman Adventures: The mid-90's cartoon version of Batman, which does a marvellous job of capturing 1930's Deco and Noir feel. Often imitated by later Batman, Superman and Justice League cartoons, but never duplicated.

 
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« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2007, 01:41:30 am »

Is anyone knowingly familiar with Boris Artzybasheff?
I say knowingly, because most folks are at least familiar with his portrait of Buckminster Fuller which was once on the cover of Time magazine, and more recently used on a USPS stamp.
Great, great stuff, and in my eyes very Dieselpunk. A lot of his work has a very distopian feel, as well as a unique sense of whimsy.

Links to images of his Time magazine covers
Links to some of his posters from WWII (warning these are fairly propagandistic, so the depiction of Axis figures is not really PC.)
Here is his "Executive of the Future," which is a great example of his style.


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« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2007, 06:02:12 am »

Can we have a vote to lobby Cory to change his name to Corypedia? Really, your posts are a wealth of information and insight. Thank you so much for all you've posted, most wonderful.

When I hear Dieselpunk, Brutalism and International style Architecture always comes to mind. The works of:

Le Corbusier

Mies van der Rohe

and beloved Frank post 1940

Frank Lloyd Wright

Brutalism

International Style

These are the backdrop to many movies of the style that our wonderful source Cory has already discussed.
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« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2007, 09:07:32 am »

Might be worth looking at the Futurist Movement? 

And Retro-futurist!!

Cheers to that!

mmmmmmm....Retrofuturist....ooooh that rolls right of the tongue.....almost as nicely as "Retrofuturist Forum"...ooooohhhh...
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« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2007, 04:16:39 pm »

Cory, I like your list.  I would make a few inclusions:

The films of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, particularly 'Flying Down to Rio' and 'top Hat'. These use Art Moderne very well.
The Warner Brothers movies of the 1930s were very gritty and dirty, especially gangster films starring people like Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney.  The same goes for horror films at Warner Brothers, although those used streamlining and very Pulpish/Dieselpunkish elements in labs.
Musicals with dance scenes by Busby Berkley.  The two best are 'Golddiggers of 1933' and '42nd Street'.  I'd also include 'Dames'. They are very gritty.
The early movies of actresses such as Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, and Jean Harlow tend to be very gritty.  The same goes for early movies with Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart (who was part of the 'murderer's row over at Warners), John Garfield, Pat O'Brien, and others.  Check the Internet Data Base for more (www.imdb.com).

Keep in mind that movies produced by RKO and Warner Brothers tended to be more Pulpy/Dieselpunky than movies put out by Universal (except for their 'monster pictures'), Columbia, Paramount and MGM because they had smaller budgets and went for working-class audiences.
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« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2007, 02:03:03 am »

You know a good piece of 40's slang? Super mergatroid! What's a Mergatroid? I don't know! I'm been saying "that's super mergatroid" all day, because the reactions are funny. Who knows, it could be dieselpunk's "very flash".
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« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2007, 04:18:56 am »

You know a good piece of 40's slang? Super mergatroid! What's a Mergatroid? I don't know! I'm been saying "that's super mergatroid" all day, because the reactions are funny. Who knows, it could be dieselpunk's "very flash".


http://www.kimcox.org/slang.htm
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All the slang you could want.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2007, 04:20:47 am by The Grand Duchess » Logged
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« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2007, 05:30:10 am »

You know a good piece of 40's slang? Super mergatroid! What's a Mergatroid? I don't know! I'm been saying "that's super mergatroid" all day, because the reactions are funny. Who knows, it could be dieselpunk's "very flash".


I'll take your mergatroid and raise you a "Heavens to Murgatroid."

Snagglepuss a dieselpunk icon? Gets my vote Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2007, 08:49:02 pm »

The Monowheel - surely quintessential dieselpunkery?
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« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2007, 11:05:51 am »

The monowheel is a fantastic invention. I spent a hugely ecstatic number of hours dredging the depths of the intarwub to find myself the largest selection of information available.

In terms of Dieselpunk, I am struck by the Chinese communist propaganda posters of the early sixties and seventies. When I travelled to The Inscrutable East I brought a vast quantity of stylistically beautiful, and often bizarre red and black posters. They seem to be so raw, so simple in what they do, the fact that all writing is in either cyrillic or ideograms means naught when the message is conveyed so finely using only red and black inks. To tie them in with steam-punk, they are rather reminiscent of the penny-dreadful posters, or even Toulouse-Lautrec's Moulin Rouge artworks.

My Google-fu is lacking currently, so I can't find any images which match exactly, but I shall take digital photographs of the posters on my wall, to show all the wonders.
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Ottens
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« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2007, 03:47:32 pm »

Please do!  I love communist propaganda posters!!
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kiskolou
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« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2007, 06:28:15 pm »

Would alternate history film noir count as dieselpunk? Like blade runner, but actually set in an alternate 30's or 40's instead of the future. Hard-boiled detectives and swing music, with flying plymouths and holographic coca-cola signs.
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« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2007, 07:40:42 pm »

Almost certainly. Do you know of an example of something like that?
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« Reply #21 on: March 16, 2007, 09:31:36 pm »

I lost track of this but thought it'd fit here so went digging:

www.athenavoltaire.com

You can read quite a few samples online.
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« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2007, 08:31:31 am »

The monowheel is a fantastic invention. I spent a hugely ecstatic number of hours dredging the depths of the intarwub to find myself the largest selection of information available.

In terms of Dieselpunk, I am struck by the Chinese communist propaganda posters of the early sixties and seventies. When I travelled to The Inscrutable East I brought a vast quantity of stylistically beautiful, and often bizarre red and black posters. They seem to be so raw, so simple in what they do, the fact that all writing is in either cyrillic or ideograms means naught when the message is conveyed so finely using only red and black inks. To tie them in with steam-punk, they are rather reminiscent of the penny-dreadful posters, or even Toulouse-Lautrec's Moulin Rouge artworks.

My Google-fu is lacking currently, so I can't find any images which match exactly, but I shall take digital photographs of the posters on my wall, to show all the wonders.
monowheels are very cool, I remember spotting one in Steamboy (albet it was more steam than diesel) and I remember something similar in one of the star wars movies
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