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Author Topic: Retro-Futurism A broader interest than simple Steampunk  (Read 14060 times)
Honky-Tonk Dragon
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« Reply #25 on: March 08, 2007, 06:58:30 pm »

That is a pretty sweet bike, whatever it is. I'm content to call it Steampunk too, but probably more because of his costume than all that much on the bike itself... Now if he made a Pennyfarthering Chopper... ^_Q
Thanks for my second good laugh of the day!
 Grin
Talk about your sui-cycles. Still, I'd try and give it a ride around the block...
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« Reply #26 on: March 08, 2007, 08:13:59 pm »

ByJ Cory, You almost made me choke on my breakfast laughing at your post about Magicpunk.
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Gilded Age Records is a collective of like minded Indie artists, all unified by a common 19th Century/Steampunk theme.
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« Reply #27 on: March 09, 2007, 12:36:52 am »

I'll lob my bowler in to that ring...  This whole thread, while continuing to be a relatively serious discussion, has made me laugh a great deal.  I'm now inclined to agree with both Cory and VP regarding the true essence of Steampunk, and hereby renounce my previously ambiguous ways!
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Josh of Vernian Process
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« Reply #28 on: March 09, 2007, 01:12:30 am »

One of us.... one... of... us...  Tongue
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Cory
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« Reply #29 on: March 09, 2007, 01:54:58 am »

ByJ Cory, You almost made me choke on my breakfast laughing at your post about Magicpunk.

You think it's funny now, but wait until Joe Kelly and Chris Bachalo make their Magicpunk comic: "Imagine a world where all the heroic legends and mythical beasts of the Dark Ages were real, and where magic has made the most eccentric ideas of DaVinci into reality... With our unparalleled creative genius, we have made this totally unique vision into a reality!" 
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Josh of Vernian Process
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« Reply #30 on: March 09, 2007, 02:05:38 am »

Oh god now I have to delete your post, lest Kelly, or Bachalo find it by google searching for their names!  Wink
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Fantômas
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« Reply #31 on: March 09, 2007, 02:23:26 am »

So anyway... not to outofhand dismiss Mssrs Cory and Vernian Process, who both bring interesting facts and opinions to this thread, are there others who are interested in discussing Retro-Futurism, and perhaps petitioning our esteemed moderators for a sub-board under the Off-Topic board?
I think that doing so would allow us to discuss both historical and fictional themes that while not under the aegis of Steampunk or Victorian Anachronism, could help illuminate many of our interests in those eras. Such a move would also allow a venue for conversations such as the above, and the coming storm of Dieselpunk vs. Pulp as terminology, etc.
Huh? Huh?
Any takers?
 Huh

edit-- I suppose I mean under the Non-Steampunk board... oops. Embarrassed

I would so petition.
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Honky-Tonk Dragon
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« Reply #32 on: March 09, 2007, 02:24:02 am »

So can we actually discuss retro-futurism now?
Having moved to Off-Topic?
And (hopefully) determined that it is not the umbrella under which steampunk falls and that it is a different genre from dieselpunk (or pulp)?
Please?
I think it is an interesting aesthetic, which many here might be interested in, if they are not scared off by semantic schisms.
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Fantômas
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« Reply #33 on: March 09, 2007, 02:24:36 am »

screw this, I'm heading over to BrushedAluminumGoggles.co.uk!

hehehe, I'd be right there with ya Wink
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Fantômas
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« Reply #34 on: March 09, 2007, 02:50:26 am »

While of course I should want to step up and defend "Dieselpunk" as a true genre, it is little more than a sub-genre of Steampunk at best, and true Steampunk itself may be a sub-genre of a whole larger genre of science-fiction/alternate history, but I do believe that there's a clear distinction between Steampunk and Retro-futurism, if only for the obvious fact that Steampunk looks to the Past where Retro-futurism looks to the Future, even though that "Future" may be in our past.  However, I think there's more to it than that:  there's a great difference in style and in tone.  Steampunk is less dystopian than Cyberpunk, Pulp, Dieselpunk, etc, yet Retro-futurism is often much more utopian than any other related genre.  Retro-futurism is more light-hearted, where Steampunk can be quite serious, more mature.

NO I don't think so , Taxonomically speaking there is really only one Aesthetic genre binding all of these and steampunk isn't it. It is Retro-Futurism, and it existed well before steampunk;Furthermore there are a wealth of examples. to list just one significant example let me draw your attention the the 16(?)th century Map make Andreas Solarius who (being a mapmaker by profession) viewed his present age of exploration as merely the beginning and believing men would soon be sailing the sky set out to carve a tidy niche for himself by compiling a number of atlases of the sky.
To expose this plain and self evident fact even further, every time anyone thinks of the future and sets their imagination to work imagining to a degree what may be, it is futurism. because they looked to the future in 1950 and 1950 comes after 1900 does not mean that one vision was based on the preveous vision. so Dieslpunk is not at all connected to steampunk, in any other way than that they are both Futurisms.


I don't know how that could be more self evident. Another simple example is my ability to imagine the future in this very moment, it doesn't hinge on previous notions of what the future might have been from 1900 at all, and it never would, because those visions are obsolete and impractical that impracticality has however made them novel, and that novelty is why they mat be aesthetically recontextualized as "retro".

see? the very reason steampunk is lovable , is the very reason it is not really connected to any other retro futurism.
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Fantômas
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« Reply #35 on: March 09, 2007, 02:57:14 am »

So can we actually discuss retro-futurism now?
Having moved to Off-Topic?
And (hopefully) determined that it is not the umbrella under which steampunk falls and that it is a different genre from dieselpunk (or pulp)?
Please?
I think it is an interesting aesthetic, which many here might be interested in, if they are not scared off by semantic schisms.

I don';t think it needs to be moved you know? it's a steam punk forum, and we are going to discuss steampunk, but unless we are just going to type "steampunk steampunk steampunk steampunk steampunk steampunk steampunk steampunk steampunk "

at some point we might have to talk about the relationship of the genre/subculture/aesthetic/DIY movement and ...god forbid, something else.

There are several topics in the off topic section which discuss steam punk way too much to be there, i don't see anyone moving THEM to their proper place in the forum.

leave the thread here, it doesn't do any harm to the forum to discuss a creatively expansive subject on this forum, and if it somehow does, if the forum moderators really want to squelch creativity and the exploration of steampunk, then I don't want to contribute here anymore, because thats ludicrous and I wouldn't want to add any value where there isn't at least a little bit of easy going maturity.
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Honky-Tonk Dragon
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« Reply #36 on: March 09, 2007, 03:06:14 am »

hmmm...
In my gut, I'm prone to agree with you, Fantomas.
Just because Wikipedia paints "retro-futurism" with a mid-century SF brush, doesn't mean we must limit ourselves with that definition.
A futurist, like your Andreas Solarius, is one who tries to predict the future based on various trends and patterns they see in cultural movements, technological advances, and scientific thought. Some, like Busckminster Fuller, try to do more than just surf this zeitgiest, they try to channel it. Futurist is an established term for this vocation and avocation.
A futurist can also be a member of an italian school of painting from the early 20th century. This doesn't imply that Fuller or Robert Anton Wilson ever picked up a paint brush. Words have multiple meanings...
Retro, well we all know what retro means...
I know this will probably stir up more debate, so I'm going to think about it more, before I go on...
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Fantômas
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« Reply #37 on: March 09, 2007, 03:07:16 am »

OK.

I would like a short concise argument for how Steampunk is not a retro-futurism. Not semantic games, not empty explanations with holes in them that when addressed lead to an infintie recursive chain of more faulty explanations and questions. No. A clean concise self evident explanation of how steam punk which carries all the earmarks of Retro-Futurism, somehow does not fall within this category taxonomically called Retro-Futurism.

I don't think we will see one. We may see rhetoric we may see posturing, and we may see a lot of very emotional outcry, but that will not change the nature of the thing, and I don't even see how it is a big deal? I mean so what if it is?

But it isn't going to stop being what it is because someone doesn't like it.
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Fantômas
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« Reply #38 on: March 09, 2007, 03:09:05 am »

hmmm...
In my gut, I'm prone to agree with you, Fantomas.
Just because Wikipedia paints "retro-futurism" with a mid-century SF brush, doesn't mean we must limit ourselves with that definition.
A futurist, like your Andreas Solarius, is one who tries to predict the future based on various trends and patterns they see in cultural movements, technological advances, and scientific thought. Some, like Busckminster Fuller, try to do more than just surf this zeitgiest, they try to channel it. Futurist is an established term for this vocation and avocation.
A futurist can also be a member of an italian school of painting from the early 20th century. This doesn't imply that Fuller or Robert Anton Wilson ever picked up a paint brush. Words have multiple meanings...
Retro, well we all know what retro means...
I know this will probably stir up more debate, so I'm going to think about it more, before I go on...


BUCKY OWNS!!!

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Honky-Tonk Dragon
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« Reply #39 on: March 09, 2007, 03:16:17 am »

OK.

I would like a short concise argument for how Steampunk is not a retro-futurism. Not semantic games, not empty explanations with holes in them that when addressed lead to an infintie recursive chain of more faulty explanations and questions. No. A clean concise self evident explanation of how steam punk which carries all the earmarks of Retro-Futurism, somehow does not fall within this category taxonomically called Retro-Futurism.

I don't think we will see one. We may see rhetoric we may see posturing, and we may see a lot of very emotional outcry, but that will not change the nature of the thing, and I don't even see how it is a big deal? I mean so what if it is?

But it isn't going to stop being what it is because someone doesn't like it.


I think Cory and Vernian Process's point might be best summed up in this excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on retro-futurism:
Some steampunk works can be seen as retro-futurism, based on a 19th-century vision of futuristic technology. However, in many cases steampunk involves steam-powered versions of more advanced technologies that we know about today but which did not figure in 19th-century visions of the future, such as the mechanical computers of The Difference Engine, whereas retro-futurism typically is based on the visions of actual science fiction of the time.

There are also many works which take styles and genres of past eras and place them in a futuristic setting, such as the Old West elements in Firefly or the 1940s film noir elements in Blade Runner, but these would not generally be seen as retro-futuristic because they are not based on a specific past era's vision of the future.


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Fantômas
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« Reply #40 on: March 09, 2007, 04:32:19 am »

OK.

I would like a short concise argument for how Steampunk is not a retro-futurism. Not semantic games, not empty explanations with holes in them that when addressed lead to an infintie recursive chain of more faulty explanations and questions. No. A clean concise self evident explanation of how steam punk which carries all the earmarks of Retro-Futurism, somehow does not fall within this category taxonomically called Retro-Futurism.

I don't think we will see one. We may see rhetoric we may see posturing, and we may see a lot of very emotional outcry, but that will not change the nature of the thing, and I don't even see how it is a big deal? I mean so what if it is?

But it isn't going to stop being what it is because someone doesn't like it.


I think Cory and Vernian Process's point might be best summed up in this excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on retro-futurism:
Some steampunk works can be seen as retro-futurism, based on a 19th-century vision of futuristic technology. However, in many cases steampunk involves steam-powered versions of more advanced technologies that we know about today but which did not figure in 19th-century visions of the future, such as the mechanical computers of The Difference Engine, whereas retro-futurism typically is based on the visions of actual science fiction of the time.

There are also many works which take styles and genres of past eras and place them in a futuristic setting, such as the Old West elements in Firefly or the 1940s film noir elements in Blade Runner, but these would not generally be seen as retro-futuristic because they are not based on a specific past era's vision of the future.





Yes it contains those elements, but it doesn't CONSIST of them, Moreover if the literature in question may not  may not function in an elaborative fashion, then it would become merely a rehashing of preexisting literature. A great deal of contemporary couture is what would be deemed "Retro" but it is elaborative also, that is it contains style elements which simply did not exist during the original period of fashion aesthetic. This precisely is what differentiates "retro-aesthetics's" from mere "anachronism".

While Anachronism seeks a high degree of historical accuracy, retro does not, because retro is elaborative, and within it's formula history functions as a utility, but not a constraining criterion. "Retro" can not succeed without frequent and stylistically determined divergence from it's historical roots, the simple reason is clearly self evident. It is that if "retro" does not diverge it ceases to be retro and it becomes nothing but anachronism and the two are not synonyms.

therein my point lies, the fact that steampunk diverges from the specific history of futurism in the period is exactly what makes it retro futurism, and exactly what makes it not merely historical anachronism. For it to be Historical anachronism, it would have to be more or less mere reenactment, and it clearly encompasses more than that.

as i said, it has all the earmarks.

1. It makes use of history, but does not strictly adhere to it.
2. When it diverges from strict historical adherence it does so for creative, stylistic and aesthetic reasons, making it elaborative.
3. it is a recontextualization, of former views and approaches including a broad range of things, which in the context of the contemporary become "Novel".




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Cory
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« Reply #41 on: March 09, 2007, 04:39:45 am »

I would like a short concise argument for how Steampunk is not a retro-futurism. Not semantic games, not empty explanations with holes in them that when addressed lead to an infintie recursive chain of more faulty explanations and questions. No. A clean concise self evident explanation of how steam punk which carries all the earmarks of Retro-Futurism, somehow does not fall within this category taxonomically called Retro-Futurism.


I would assume that you read my post and still asked this in light of it, but on the off chance: http://www.brassgoggles.co.uk/bg-forum/index.php?topic=438.msg4986#msg4986
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Fantômas
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« Reply #42 on: March 09, 2007, 05:02:35 am »

I would like a short concise argument for how Steampunk is not a retro-futurism. Not semantic games, not empty explanations with holes in them that when addressed lead to an infintie recursive chain of more faulty explanations and questions. No. A clean concise self evident explanation of how steam punk which carries all the earmarks of Retro-Futurism, somehow does not fall within this category taxonomically called Retro-Futurism.


I would assume that you read my post and still asked this in light of it, but on the off chance: http://www.brassgoggles.co.uk/bg-forum/index.php?topic=438.msg4986#msg4986

Yes I saw it and yes I did post in spite of it.
Your post doesn't actually present anything to support your claims other than some call to authority (a well known fallacy) "Because William Gibson said it it is true" a little bit of backing up your assertions with your own opinion (and if you think that works try leaning on yourself while you wait for a train and you will find it doesn't.)

One more thing, it isn't anything but rude and totally not your place to tell some very enthusiastic folks what can't be done with a genre and subculture that is still growing, because it isn't just yours.

Many here are trying to help invent it, and you are only standing there telling them "it will never fly".

thats not the wright side to be on. Wink




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Fantômas
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« Reply #43 on: March 09, 2007, 09:17:54 am »

Here is the wikipedia entry for retro-futurism. I think it might be helpful to have it on hand.

text and source.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retrofuturism


Retro-futurism
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Retro-futurism, retrofuturism or retro-future (terms combining "retro" and "futurism" or "future") can refer to two distinct concepts:

    * A return to, and an enthusiasm for, the depictions of the future produced in the past (most often the early through mid 20th century), both in science fiction and in nonfiction futurism of the time, which often seem dated by modern standards.

    * An ideology combining retrograde social and economic views with techno-utopianism.[1]


The word retrofuturism was coined by Lloyd Dunn in 1983, according to a fringe art magazine published from 1989-1993. [1]

[edit] Characteristics and examples

The setting of retro-futuristic stories is sometimes a utopian society; its spirit of optimism and embracing of the status-quo is a contrast with cyberpunk, although in many cases the utopianism is presented in an intentionally ironic or campy light.

Retro-futuristic stories need not always be set in the future; in some cases they may be set in alternate versions of the past in which the dreams of science fiction writers and illustrators were a reality, as with the movie Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, set in an alternate 1939. Some also use "retro-futurism" to describe stories set in a largely recognizable past or present, but in which during the course of the story some "futuristic" technology reminiscent of older science fiction stories is introduced by a brilliant inventor or alien species, as in The Rocketeer or The Iron Giant.

Some steampunk works can be seen as retro-futurism, based on a 19th-century vision of futuristic technology. However, in many cases steampunk involves steam-powered versions of more advanced technologies that we know about today but which did not figure in 19th-century visions of the future, such as the mechanical computers of The Difference Engine, whereas retro-futurism typically is based on the visions of actual science fiction of the time.

There are also many works which take styles and genres of past eras and place them in a futuristic setting, such as the Old West elements in Firefly or the 1940s film noir elements in Blade Runner, but these would not generally be seen as retro-futuristic because they are not based on a specific past era's vision of the future.

These films and cartoons have heavily influenced the visual styles of retro-futurism.

    * Metropolis (1927)
    * Just Imagine (1930)
    * Things to Come (1936)
    * Flash Gordon serials (1936, 1938 & 1940)
    * Buck Rogers (1939 & 1950)
    * Fleischer Superman cartoons (1941-1943)
    * Commando Cody (1950s various)
    * Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century (1953)
    * The Jetsons (1962)
    * Astro Boy (1963)
    * Space Ghost (1966-1968)

[edit] Retro-futuristic films/television

    * Flash Gordon (1980)
    * 1984 (1984)
    * Brazil (1985)
    * Wallace and Gromit (1989, 1993, 1995 short films, and 2005 movie)
    * The Ren and Stimpy Show (1991) -- The Space Cadet episodes
    * The Rocketeer (1991)
    * Mars Attacks! (1996)
    * Bride of Chaotica! (1999) -- episode of Star Trek: Voyager
    * The Iron Giant (1999)
    * Futurama (1999-2003)
    * The American Astronaut (2001)
    * Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (2001)
    * Metropolis (2001)
    * The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (2002)
    * Duck Dodgers (2003-2005)
    * Casshern (2004)
    * The Incredibles (2004)
    * Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)
    * Zathura (2005)
    * Monarch of the Moon (2005)

Duck Dodgers in the 24th 1/2 Century depicted space travel in the far future.
Duck Dodgers in the 24th 1/2 Century depicted space travel in the far future.

[edit] Notable literary precursors

    * Science fiction pulp magazines such as Amazing Stories, Astounding Stories and Startling Stories.

[edit] Retro-futuristic literature

    * The Gernsback Continuum
    * The Rocketeer
    * Fear Agent
    * The Goon
    * Tom Strong
    * Zot!
    * Planetary
    * Mister X
    * Terminal City

[edit] Retro-futuristic video and computer games

    * Bioshock
    * Crimson Skies (Both the Pen-and-paper and Video game versions)
    * Destroy All Humans!
          o Destroy All Humans! 2
    * Fallout series
    * Futurama
    * The Incredibles
          o The Incredibles: Rise of the Underminer
    * MDK2
    * Mega Man (original series)
    * Stubbs the Zombie
    * Zombies Ate My Neighbors

[edit] Retro-futurism in role-playing games

    * Gernsback from GURPS Alternate Earths
    * Sons of Ether from Mage: The Ascension
    * Pulp Hero from the Hero System (review)
    * GURPS Atomic Horror
    * Spaceship Zero
    * Danger Quest (review)

[edit] Retro-futuristic music videos

    * Express Yourself -- Future like Metropolis.
    * One Word -- Future like Brazil.
    * Keep A Lid On Things
    * 311's Prisoner
    * Orgy's cover of Blue Monday

[edit] Design and arts

A great deal of attention is drawn to fantastic machines, buildings, cities, and transportation systems. The futuristic design ethic of the early 20th century tends to solid colors, streamlined shapes, and mammoth scales. It might be said that 20th century futuristic vision found its ultimate expression in the development of googie or populuxe design.

[edit] Notable Artists
Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy
Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy

    * Richard Arbib (1917-1995) [1964 World's Fair, Newsweek ]
    * Norman Bel Geddes (1893-1958) [designed Futurama pavilion for the 1939 New York World's Fair]
    * Chesley Bonestell (1888-1986) [Mechanix Illustrated]
    * Jack Coggins (1911-2006) [ Spaceship to the Moon ]
    * Gene Colan [ Guardians of the Galaxy ]
    * Lee Conrey (1883-?) [ American Weekly ]
    * Howard M. Duffin [ Amazing Stories ]
    * Kenneth Fagg [If]
    * Hugh Ferriss (1889-1962)
    * Frederic W. Freeman (1906-1988)
    * Russ Heath (1926-) [Humbug]
    * Matt Jefferies [ Classic Star Trek ]
    * Alexander Leydenfrost (1889-1961)
    * J Mays (October 15, 1954) [ Automotive design at VW and Ford ]
    * Arthur Radebaugh The Future We Were Promised
    * Frank Rudolph Paul (1884-1963) [ Amazing Stories, Science Wonder Stories ]
    * Leo Rackow (1901-1988)
    * Stewart Rouse [Modern Mechanics]
    * Norman Saunders (1907-1988) [Modern Mechanix]
    * Bradley W. Schenck (1958-) Long Playing Computer Graphics
    * Alex Schomburg (1905-1998) [Satellite Science Fiction]
    * James B. Settles [ Amazing Stories ]
    * Malcolm Smith (1910-1966)
    * Osamu Tezuka (1928-1989) [ Astro Boy ]
    * Edgar Franklin Wittmack [ Popular Science ]

[edit] Architecture
An example in Shanghai of a retro-futuristic design in architecture
An example in Shanghai of a retro-futuristic design in architecture

Retro-futurism has appeared in some examples of postmodern architecture. In the example seen at right, the upper portion of the building is not intended to be integrated with the building but rather to appear as a separate object - a huge flying saucer-like space ship only incidentally attached to a conventional building. This appears intended not to evoke an even remotely possible future, but rather a past imagination of that future, or a reembracing of the futuristic vision of googie architecture.

[edit] Hoaxing

The familiarity of genuine retro-futuristic depictions of the present era from past decades lends a measure of credibility to the retro-futuristic hoax. Such a hoax may involve photoshopping elements from genuine period images into combinations which did not exist at the time, together with a fictional caption adjusted to give the appearance of aged newsprint. A notable example by the user Lukket of Fark.com fooled a number of news outlets.[2]

[edit] Books on retro-futurism

    * Astrofuturism: Science, Race, and Visions of Utopia in Space ISBN 0-8122-1847-7
    * Future Perfect ISBN 3-8228-1566-7
    * Out of Time: Designs for the Twentieth Century Future ISBN 0-8109-2939-2
    * Yesterday's Tomorrows: Past Visions of the American Future ISBN 0-8018-5399-0
    * The History of the Future: Images of the 21st Century ISBN 2-08-013544-9
    * Futuropolis: Impossible Cities of Science Fiction and Fantasy ISBN 0-903767-22-8
    * Retrofuturism: The Car Design of J Mays ISBN 0-7893-0822-3

[edit] References

   1. ^ Carrico, Dale (2005). "Neo-Conmen and Retro-Futurists". Retrieved on 2007-02-13.
   2. ^ See Image:Lukket-50s-computer-HOAX.jpg for details of the hoax.

[edit] External links

    * "Retro future" on Wiktionary
    * Tales of Future Past
    * Dreams of Space
    * Future of the Past
    * Welcome To The Retro Future
    * Modern Mechanix: Yesterday’s tomorrow, today.
    * The Illusion of a Future: Retrofuturist Artifacts of the Silver Screen
    * The Tomorrow That Never Was

Literary sci-fi punk genres
Cyberpunk — Postcyberpunk — Steampunk — Biopunk
Other themes
Retro-futurism — Cyberprep — Transrealism
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retro-futurism"

Categories: Science fiction themes | Architectural styles
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Honky-Tonk Dragon
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United States United States

Scootin' through a West that Ne'er Was...


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« Reply #44 on: March 09, 2007, 11:32:25 am »


I think Cory and Vernian Process's point might be best summed up in this excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on retro-futurism:
Some steampunk works can be seen as retro-futurism, based on a 19th-century vision of futuristic technology. However, in many cases steampunk involves steam-powered versions of more advanced technologies that we know about today but which did not figure in 19th-century visions of the future, such as the mechanical computers of The Difference Engine, whereas retro-futurism typically is based on the visions of actual science fiction of the time.

There are also many works which take styles and genres of past eras and place them in a futuristic setting, such as the Old West elements in Firefly or the 1940s film noir elements in Blade Runner, but these would not generally be seen as retro-futuristic because they are not based on a specific past era's vision of the future.





Yes it contains those elements, but it doesn't CONSIST of them, Moreover if the literature in question may not may not function in an elaborative fashion, then it would become merely a rehashing of preexisting literature. A great deal of contemporary couture is what would be deemed "Retro" but it is elaborative also, that is it contains style elements which simply did not exist during the original period of fashion aesthetic. This precisely is what differentiates "retro-aesthetics's" from mere "anachronism".

While Anachronism seeks a high degree of historical accuracy, retro does not, because retro is elaborative, and within it's formula history functions as a utility, but not a constraining criterion. "Retro" can not succeed without frequent and stylistically determined divergence from it's historical roots, the simple reason is clearly self evident. It is that if "retro" does not diverge it ceases to be retro and it becomes nothing but anachronism and the two are not synonyms.

therein my point lies, the fact that steampunk diverges from the specific history of futurism in the period is exactly what makes it retro futurism, and exactly what makes it not merely historical anachronism. For it to be Historical anachronism, it would have to be more or less mere reenactment, and it clearly encompasses more than that.

as i said, it has all the earmarks.

1. It makes use of history, but does not strictly adhere to it.
2. When it diverges from strict historical adherence it does so for creative, stylistic and aesthetic reasons, making it elaborative.
3. it is a recontextualization, of former views and approaches including a broad range of things, which in the context of the contemporary become "Novel".


Alrighty then... I'm gonna take this slow, cause I think this Zepplin is breaking some altitude records, and the air is getting mighty thin up here. If we haven't already lost everyone without a penchant for post-modern (Gawd, I hate that term, shouldn't modern mean contemporary, how do you get post-contemporary without a time machine?) philosophy, we are about to.
But first let us raise a glass, and spill some of our libations to Jean Baudrillard.
Better minds than I could come up with some really interesting cultural commentary just by rubbing the steampunk community up against his Simulacra and Simulation ... but since we are starting to climb into those rarefied heights, I'll give it the old college try.

I'm going to assume that we have all seen the original Matrix film. Early in the movie, Neo pulls some warez he has for sale out of a hollowed out copy of Simulacra and Simulation. While this operates as a visual pun, it is also a heady allusion. The Matrix series is greatly influenced by this book. Baudrillard's thesis in this work is that we live in a culture that is so filtered by media representations that we accept these representations as being more real than reality itself.

from the Wiki on this book:

Baudrillard describes a world saturated by imagery, infused with media, sound, and advertising. This simulacra of the real surpasses the real world and thus becomes hyperreal, a world that is more real than real. It presupposes and precedes the real. In this world an apathy and melancholy permeate and begin to erode Nietzsche's feeling of ressentiment.

A specific analogy that Baudrillard uses is a fable derived from the work of Jorge Luis Borges. In it, a great Empire created a map that was so detailed it was as large as the Empire itself. The actual map grew and decayed as the Empire itself conquered or lost territory. When the Empire crumbled, all that was left was the map. In Baudrillard's rendition, it is the map that we are living in, the simulation of reality, and it is reality that is crumbling away from disuse.


When Morpheus shows Neo "the real" this influence is most clearly illustrated.

OK, so now I'm going to start some stream-of-consciousness free-association, and I hope some of you will be able to bear with me...

Cinematically, the real world that Neo is shown resembles nothing more than the future of the Terminator films. How is this relevant to the debate at hand?
Well, Cory has borrowed the phrase "colonizing the past with the present," and I have followed his lead, because I think this is an important identifier of -punk sub-genres. This is exactly what Kyle Reese does in the first Terminator film, from his perspective. In a way, it explains my preoccupation with the punk part of steampunk. What is more transgressive, subversive, empowering, in short "punk," than trying to colonize the past with present? Yes, it can be mere escapism, kitsch, and nostalgia. It can also be a means for divorcing oneself from the hyperreal and trying to reconnect with the "real." It can be a denial of our soporific culture, and an embracing of a life of our choosing. And nothing my friends, is punker than that.

As Fantomas discusses in the above quoted post, retro-futurism involves more than just what he terms reenactment, or what I would term nostalgia or kitsch. When it has an elaborative element, or re-contextualizes, it subverts, it transgresses the status quo. It can do this in a way that just creates a marketable novelty, such as Wild Wild West and LXG, or it can do it in a liberating way, as is illustrated in Jake Von Slatt and Datamancer's personal definition of what Steampunk is.

Don't get me wrong, I'm as much a product of Western Industrialized consumer culture as anyone else here. I dig me some big budget steampunk that has no other purpose but to fill theater seats and sell carbonated corn syrup beverages. But I think retro-futurism, steampunk, dieselpunk, et. al., can do a lot more for us than just provide us with entertainment. They can make us think "what if?", and the value of that should never be underestimated...

Sorry, this turned into quite the rant  Embarrassed

To borrow a page from Johnny Payphone's book...
Until next time, I like my punk like I like my ladies, steamy and brassy.
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« Reply #45 on: March 09, 2007, 11:50:43 am »

Sirs, may I suggest, with all due respect, that this is a silly argument and that you should stop cluttering up the entire forum with it. I have been following it (it's impossible not to, the damn thing finds its way into the 'how to build goggles' threads), and I have my opinions on it, but I'm not going to get into them. Why? Because it is utterly inconsequential, and has only the effect of stirring up bad blood over nothing.

Honestly, can we agree that everyone on this forum is here because they like steampunk? And beyond that, that if someone posts something to the forum that it is because it strikes a steampunk chord in them? I don't think that these are premises anyone rational would disagree with. With these principles in mind, let me ask you something:

If these people, ideas, or posts don't strike the same steampunk chord with you as they do the poster, how much pain, money, or computrons does it cost you to simply ignore it? Just don't reply. Don't dedicate any thought to it. Don't sit there fuming saying "But that's not steampunk hjghahkahjkfdsahjklfdsa!!!!!11one11"

There are plenty of threads that don't look appealing to me on here, so I just don't bother with them. I occasionally peek in to make sure I'm not missing anything awesome, and then I make my way along. If something truly is incredibly lame or "not steampunk", it will fall to the bottom of the boards, and you don't have to even look at it.

Stop being such nazis about labels. Does anyone here not like retro-futurism? Is anyone here sitting there saying, I love the Difference Engine, but fuck all this other shit! Come on, this is a gathering place of like-minded people with steampunk as a general organizing principle. Stop crying if those people want to talk about 20's scifi or something. Just ignore it.

I'm sorry if this post seemed mean-spirited or appeared to take one side or the other on the debate. It's not the participants I have qualms with, it's the debate itself. It's simply a nonissue.

Regards,
Alexander
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Honky-Tonk Dragon
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« Reply #46 on: March 09, 2007, 11:56:13 am »

Sirs, may I suggest, with all due respect, that this is a silly argument and that you should stop cluttering up the entire forum with it. I have been following it (it's impossible not to, the damn thing finds its way into the 'how to build goggles' threads), and I have my opinions on it, but I'm not going to get into them. Why? Because it is utterly inconsequential, and has only the effect of stirring up bad blood over nothing.

Honestly, can we agree that everyone on this forum is here because they like steampunk? And beyond that, that if someone posts something to the forum that it is because it strikes a steampunk chord in them? I don't think that these are premises anyone rational would disagree with. With these principles in mind, let me ask you something:

If these people, ideas, or posts don't strike the same steampunk chord with you as they do the poster, how much pain, money, or computrons does it cost you to simply ignore it? Just don't reply. Don't dedicate any thought to it. Don't sit there fuming saying "But that's not steampunk hjghahkahjkfdsahjklfdsa!!!!!11one11"

There are plenty of threads that don't look appealing to me on here, so I just don't bother with them. I occasionally peek in to make sure I'm not missing anything awesome, and then I make my way along. If something truly is incredibly lame or "not steampunk", it will fall to the bottom of the boards, and you don't have to even look at it.

Stop being such nazis about labels. Does anyone here not like retro-futurism? Is anyone here sitting there saying, I love the Difference Engine, but fuck all this other shit! Come on, this is a gathering place of like-minded people with steampunk as a general organizing principle. Stop crying if those people want to talk about 20's scifi or something. Just ignore it.

I'm sorry if this post seemed mean-spirited or appeared to take one side or the other on the debate. It's not the participants I have qualms with, it's the debate itself. It's simply a nonissue.

Regards,
Alexander

Alexander-- I agree with you for the most part.
Personally, I find these kinds of debates stimulating, but it is frustrating when they intrude upon other discussions, such as "how to build goggles"...
Hopefully we can keep our little semiotics/debate club sequestered to Non-Steampunk board from now on...
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« Reply #47 on: March 09, 2007, 04:32:19 pm »

Yes I saw it and yes I did post in spite of it.
Your post doesn't actually present anything to support your claims other than some call to authority (a well known fallacy) "Because William Gibson said it it is true" a little bit of backing up your assertions with your own opinion (and if you think that works try leaning on yourself while you wait for a train and you will find it doesn't.)

I'll have to let my profs know that. The only difference between that post and a university paper was a lack of cited sources and about 20 pages.

Quote
One more thing, it isn't anything but rude and totally not your place to tell some very enthusiastic folks what can't be done with a genre and subculture that is still growing, because it isn't just yours.

And it is rude and not their place to try and redefine and relabel Pulp to suit themselves. It is also rude and totally not your place to throw that accusation around at people for dissenting from it.
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« Reply #48 on: March 09, 2007, 05:16:32 pm »

One more thing, it isn't anything but rude and totally not your place to tell some very enthusiastic folks what can't be done with a genre and subculture that is still growing, because it isn't just yours.

And it is rude and not their place to try and redefine and relabel Pulp to suit themselves. It is also rude and totally not your place to throw that accusation around at people for dissenting from it.


Let me ask a serious question.  If someone walked up to on the street and told you that you lived in a giant purple pickle, would you consider it a rude attempt to redefine reality to suit that person's wants, or would you simply assume the person to be a lunatic and quietly ignore them?

Its not much different than someone here attempting to piece together a version of dieselpunk that includes pulp, or stretching the common description of steampunk.  In the end, however someone else wishes to define their version, it still hasn't the least affect on how you view it or on anything else.

There seems to be this fear that if some people are allowed freedom to (re)invent steampunk/dieselpunk, then the entire movement will somehow be thrown into a rapidly declining pit of inanity and madness.  Truthfully, no one person has that much power.  Being a leaderless collection of similarly interested people, the movement will find its home where we all fear it would anyway... as a genre that appeals to most of the people, most of the time.  The least common denominator.

Now what is truly rude, is for someone to try to police steampunk/dieselpunk/otherpunk, reprimanding and slapping the hands of those who wander out of bounds.  At this point, I absolutely agree with Anachronist and think that if someone says something you disagree with, ignore them.  I understand where Honky-Tonk is coming from.  If these discussions could remain civil, then yes, postulating on the meaning of the genre could be intellectually stimulating, but when they fall into accusations of personal behavior, then we have left mild postulation and entered flame wars.

Really, why do people have to be so silly...
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"But that's not steampunk hjghahkahjkfdsahjklfdsa!!!!!11one11" -- Anachronist

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Cory
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« Reply #49 on: March 09, 2007, 06:10:19 pm »

This is of greater (but, indeed, not ultimate) personal concern to me than some lunatic with their lunatic version of reality because it's dealing with... and subsequently sucking all the fun out of... a lot of stuff that I happen to love.

When this board started up we immediately rushed into this big row in which n00bs wanted to "stretch the boundaries" of Steampunk to mean that it belonged only to people like themselves who wanted it to be about adherence to some kind of manifesto-laden, pseudo-revolutionary, DIY, Punk dogma. Not that it was expansive enough to include DIY for people who were into that, not that it was expansive enough to include manifestos for people who aren't involved with actual social, economic and environmental justice causes.... rather, that only those people were "Real Steampunks".   

Okay, sure... so now we've sucked all the fun out of what is really nothing more than a form of entertainment anyways. I'll just go back and start rewatching all those great ol' Dracula and King Kong movies I've been neglecting in favour of watching bad 60's Steampunk movies and arguing with people who want to appropriate Steampunk to their pseudo-revolutionary dogmas.

Oh but wait, now we're having a big fight over renaming all those great ol' Dracula and King Kong movies "Dieselpunk" so we can suck the fun out of that too. Let me guess... Now you're only a "Real Dieselpunk" if you draft up a pseudo-revolutionary manifesto about DIY Punk dogmas about Pulp fiction? My goodness where does it stop... unless you're a DIY flintnapper and subscribe to manifestos about the downtrodden dinosaur slave class, you're not a "real" fan of the Flintstones?!

Those of us having a fit over "(re)invententing steampunk/dieselpunk" aren't worried that "the entire movement will somehow be thrown into a rapidly declining pit of inanity and madness." It's just that we don't want "prescriptivists" sucking all the fun out of something we genuinely like and turning it into something it's not because they want to posture themselves as being somehow revolutionary and counter-cultural for liking one form of entertainment over another, only to abandon it in a few months anyways as they go chasing after the next big fad. Like, seriously fmra, if you want to do something important, put away your Ramones CDs, leave Steampunk alone and go join Amnesty International or Habitat for Humanity. There isn't anything more revolutionary DIY than building a house for someone who doesn't have one. 

If Steampunk isn't fun, it has no point. And if your idea of fun is taking away someone else's fun so you can think you're being counter-cultural, then you should expect that those people will fight to keep their fun.   
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