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Author Topic: Help Me Clarify My Thoughts...  (Read 750 times)

United Kingdom United Kingdom

« on: March 03, 2017, 11:52:13 am »

Sorry if this is slightly off topic but I'm doing a project for collage on steampunk and would like to get a better insite.

Am I correct in thinking that steam punk is a lifestyle as in If you choose to embody it all then its taking the charms of the past as in the simplistic life and mixing them with a ideal future. As in we don't need the modern things and the way the world is going isn't great (my opinion) so with steampunk. It takes the good of the past alters them with the charms of the old macanical things. And politely with old morals rebels against modern ethics?

Sorry if I'm wrong I'm trying to get my head around it.

Any help would be apriciated
von Corax
Squire of the Lambda Calculus
Board Moderator
Canada Canada

Prof. Darwin Prætorius von Corax

« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2017, 11:08:21 pm »

One of the challenges to understanding Steampunk is coming to grips with the fact that each of us has a slightly different perspective on it, and a slightly different way of expressing our Steampunkness. For me it's partly about applying Victorian æsthetics to modern technology, modern fashion, and modern speech and behaviour. What it most definitely is not is an historical re-enactment of the Victorian period - in most ways modern life is far better than it was then, and I think it's safe to say that none of us is willing to do without such modern conveniences as fresh and frozen food, modern medicine, indoor plumbing carrying safe drinking water, or the Internet.

By the power of caffeine do I set my mind in motion
By the Beans of Life do my thoughts acquire speed
My hands acquire a shaking
The shaking becomes a warning
By the power of caffeine do I set my mind in motion
The Leverkusen Institute of Paleocybernetics is 5838 km from Reading
Zeppelin Captain
United Kingdom United Kingdom

« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2017, 11:45:53 pm »

One of the most important aspects of steampunk is that it is fun.  Very serious fun.
Argus Fairbrass
Rogue Ætherlord
England England

So English even the English don't get it!

« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2017, 12:06:11 am »

Although nothing to do with the original literature, in terms of the community that sounds pretty much like what some of the "lifestylers" would tell you yes. Whether the subculture in general has succeeded in reaching such aspirations would be another question. Still Mr von Corax is right, it really depends on who you speak to. An example of an article I read recently which I felt sounded a little puffy, was titled (paraphrasing) Steampunk artists reject consumerism ( definition in this case being an inclination toward the buying of consumer goods). My response was to simply post a SP search on Etsy. Some folks want to make a buck and they're happy to do it off of Steampunk. Whether they're fly by night opportunists or long term respected members of the community doesn't alter the fact. Nothing wrong with that in principle, but I think these rather grandiose articles attaching all sorts of lofty principles that realistically aren't much in evidence, actually does the subculture no favours at all.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2017, 12:33:15 am by Argus Fairbrass » Logged

Have her steamed and brought to my tent!
J. Wilhelm
╬ Admiral und Luftschiffengel ╬
Board Moderator
United States United States

Sentisne fortunatum punkus? Veni. Diem meum comple

« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2017, 02:50:32 am »

I'd agree with the two previous posters, but I would add that Steampunk is fairly abstract and multi-faceted concept.

It will be different for everyone. To understand why you need to follow it's evolution from it's inception ad a literary genre sometime in the middle of the last century. It started as a literary genre following the style of earlier Victorian, Edwardian and Early 20th C authors, such as Jules Verne and HG Wells, but the movement was later joined by former Goths, DIY/Makers, survivalists, and all manner of artists and craft people. So each group has a different take on what Steampunk means.

For some people it's Victirian Industrial Folklore, for others it's Post-Apocalyptic aesthetic, for some it's even Fantasy Pirate lore. Steampunk really is all over the map as to what people think it is. It started as an English speaking folklor, but because the Industrial Era spread to the entire globe, it quickly became apparent that almost any country in the world could also have a quasi-Victirian aesthetic (eg Japanese Meiji Era, Russia's Socialist Revolution, Mexican Revolution (Civil War) Period, etc.

About the only thing you can pin down is that Steampunk tends to involve 19th C anachronisms in terms of aesthetic and technology, with the sci-fi aspect pushing it through the present technology and even future technology.

Zeppelin Captain
United Kingdom United Kingdom

« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2017, 12:28:58 pm »

As detailed above, Steampunk is as muti-faceted as a finely cut diamond, so I'll just chime in with my personal take on the... actually the issues come up straight away in the word to use - genre, aesthetic, lifestyle choice, passtime, hobby, culture, movement, all of the above and more? Anyway...

For me it is a heady combination of my love of science fiction (particularly the 'alternative history' genre), actual history, real science/technology and fashion. Now, you can put all of those things together for other time periods, and indeed that has happened (Dieselpunk comes to mind), but up until the digital revolution (which we are of course still living through - will there be a 'Digitalpunk' movement looking back to this era in the future?) the industrial revolution was the single most concentrated set of changes to the lives of people (or at least those living in the industrialised countries). And of course, relatively speaking it was not that long ago - we still very much live with its outcomes, be it in the form of physical constructions such as bridges and buildings or tales of the folks of the time, either through formal histories or family oral histories. All of this makes it a quite familiar but nevertheless fertile ground for people to project their own flights of fancy onto.

The latter point if quite a biggie for me. The Steampunk community is very open to people creating personas (so bringing in elements of role play and storytelling) and are incredibly accepting and open-minded to alternative lifestyles. As you have touched on, people here like to honour the polite and decorous manners of earlier times (one lovely thing around this forum is the total lack of 'flame wars' or trolling). Steampunk is a space than one can explore/indulge alternative aspects of one's own persona in a very safe and supportive place.

I did have a bit more to say, but I'll have to stop here for now (what's that cheering at the back...?  Wink) as family duties call.


Edit: Just a couple more things I wished to say....

Although, as has been pointed out, Steampunk can be a commercialised as any other pass-time (at most events you will find at least one room chock full of tables laden with incredible creations to purchase), I think to a lot of people here do enjoy tinkering and making, and given the fantastical nature of Steampunk the creative impulse can range far and wide, from fully working mechanical marvels to items from Lovecraftian lore. You can literally let your imagination run wild.

But, again as mentioned above, the elephant in the room is Steampunk apparently ignoring the darker side of Victorian times - the poverty , disease, exploitation and rigidly enforced class system. Well, Steampunk is not the only place where people could be accused of cherry-picking from the past. 40s events are incredibly popular up and down the country, but you wouldn't expect to see in a programme of events "To really recreate the wartime experience, between 12:00 and 1:30 Stuka dive bomber will be peppering the site with live 1000 kg bombs". Or for a Viking reenactment event "At 11 am the field will be invaded by Berserkers; we apologies in advance for inconvenience caused by loss of limb". So equally, I don't think it would be much fun to produce at a Steampunk event someone who's been kept in the dark and fed vitamin-D deficient foods for the last two years to give that authentic rickets look. So yes, I guess we do just focus on the more palatable aspects of the era, but I don't think anyone here would be blind to the real history's negative aspects.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2017, 09:40:06 pm by Miranda.T » Logged
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