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Author Topic: In Steampunk, does punk = grime?  (Read 1637 times)
cossoft
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« on: August 02, 2018, 11:00:51 pm »

I recently posted a thingie that I had made, and asked for feedback.  Some terms that respondents used were:  grunginess,  muck, tarnish and assorted battery, and patina.  No one so far has said, "Oh that's nice and clean!"  Yet when you see examples of Victorian apparatus, some of it is beautifully clean.  A microscope or a mirror galvanometer. Heck, even most rebuilt and working steam engines are so clean that you can eat your lunch off them.  Like so:-







So in most people's notion of common Steampunk, is the punk part synonymous with grime and dirt?
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RJBowman
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« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2018, 03:55:56 am »

The word was coined in the 1980's, when the cyberpunk genre was booming in popularity. The "punk" in steampunk means nothing specific, but suggests something modern and novel in contrast to "steam" which suggests old technology and aesthetics. The word and the genre are jarring whimsical mixtures.
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Banfili
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« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2018, 06:14:09 am »

The word was coined in the 1980's, when the cyberpunk genre was booming in popularity. The "punk" in steampunk means nothing specific, but suggests something modern and novel in contrast to "steam" which suggests old technology and aesthetics. The word and the genre are jarring whimsical mixtures.

Similar to an oxymoron, then? Grin
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2018, 07:54:22 am »

I never took grime as being the primary difference between Victorian anachronism and Steampunk. I believe that the grunginess is just an aid to give realism to to something that otherwise would look artificial. The other grunge in Steampunk is the Post Apocalyptic dimension. There are a lot of people who overlook Victoriana in favour of apocalyptic DIY as an aesthetic for Steampunk . Naturally the look of survivalism is grungy by default. The grunginess could be the result of the clash between the two movements, Steampunk and DIY in the early 90s. But grime is not required at all in Steampunk.
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RJBowman
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« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2018, 06:38:40 pm »

"Punk" can also mean criminal. There is something appealing in the idea of 19th century style street criminals adopting odd technologies; ray guns, etc.

An example, albeit lacking anything as exotic as ray guns, is the Michael Crichton film "The First Great Train Robbery", in which a crew lead by Sean Connery pulls of the first train robbery, an elaborate heist requiring detailed preparation, 19th century gimickery, and the participation of highly skilled criminal specialists. It may not technically be a steampunk film, but it really has a steampunk vibe to it.
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Sorontar
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« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2018, 03:57:36 am »

To me, 'punk' means 'non-conformist to the expected social norm'. For steampunk, that means many things in a Victorian-like setting
 - technology that is beyond the expectations and realism of the time
 - clothing combinations that are non-standard
 - attitudes and roles that are abnormal
 - other variations from the norm
 - science fiction (and fantasy) that uses any of the above

So, if you want to be a female mechanic who wears her Sunday best whilst repairing her drigible's engine, that can be steampunk.

Nowhere does there have to be grime or cleanliness, though both can play a role in adding steampunk to the envirnoment and story.
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« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2018, 06:28:19 pm »

There has been debate for years about what the "punk" in steampunk means.

My view is the same as RJBowman's: it's more or less an accident and attempts to turn the "punk" into something political have failed. I wrote something about that a few months ago.
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« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2018, 09:28:59 pm »

The word was coined in the 1980's, when the cyberpunk genre was booming in popularity. The "punk" in steampunk means nothing specific, but suggests something modern and novel in contrast to "steam" which suggests old technology and aesthetics. The word and the genre are jarring whimsical mixtures.
Nail on the head
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Banfili
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« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2018, 01:30:02 am »

Sort of an oxymoron!
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chironex
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« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2018, 05:21:59 pm »

Go volunteer at a preservation railway and shovel out a few smokeboxes, and you'll have your answer.
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SolarCenturion
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« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2018, 09:39:12 pm »

To me, 'punk' means 'non-conformist to the expected social norm'. For steampunk, that means many things in a Victorian-like setting
 - technology that is beyond the expectations and realism of the time
 - clothing combinations that are non-standard
 - attitudes and roles that are abnormal
 - other variations from the norm
 - science fiction (and fantasy) that uses any of the above

So, if you want to be a female mechanic who wears her Sunday best whilst repairing her drigible's engine, that can be steampunk.

Nowhere does there have to be grime or cleanliness, though both can play a role in adding steampunk to the envirnoment and story.

This... as an old punk rocker, cyberpunk and steampunk, this fits the "punk" perfectly.
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frances
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« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2018, 12:07:04 am »

I have to say that I was initially a little taken aback when  I saw people adding 'grime' around the edges of bolts in metal and joints in wood.  Why did people not polish them right to the edges when they cleaned them.  But I have got used to the 'ageing' now.  But really it is as you wish - be clean and shiny or a bit unkempt.  It is up to you.
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Kensington Locke
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« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2018, 06:44:35 pm »

I have to say that I was initially a little taken aback when  I saw people adding 'grime' around the edges of bolts in metal and joints in wood.  Why did people not polish them right to the edges when they cleaned them.  But I have got used to the 'ageing' now.  But really it is as you wish - be clean and shiny or a bit unkempt.  It is up to you.

I think part of that is visual effect vs. paint job.  Nerfpunk probably exemplifies this.  a clean coat of paint on a nerf gun, including different colors/metallic paints to represent sections/materials doesn't look as good.  a wash to fill in valleys and dry brush over raised surfaces creates depth and shadow, but that adds "dirt" to the look.

Now if somebody made a new boxy thing with actual wood and brass, maybe that'll look great without the grime because it's actual materials and detailing do all the heavy lifting.

But on painted/faux metal stuff, that grime is what fixes it from looking like spray painted plastic.

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Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2018, 06:25:29 am »

I have to say that I was initially a little taken aback when  I saw people adding 'grime' around the edges of bolts in metal and joints in wood.  Why did people not polish them right to the edges when they cleaned them.  But I have got used to the 'ageing' now.  But really it is as you wish - be clean and shiny or a bit unkempt.  It is up to you.

 I never saw the point of the 90s distressed furniture trend.  Why paint something yo look like  it needs painting?
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Kensington Locke
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« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2018, 02:52:04 pm »

I have to say that I was initially a little taken aback when  I saw people adding 'grime' around the edges of bolts in metal and joints in wood.  Why did people not polish them right to the edges when they cleaned them.  But I have got used to the 'ageing' now.  But really it is as you wish - be clean and shiny or a bit unkempt.  It is up to you.

 I never saw the point of the 90s distressed furniture trend.  Why paint something yo look like  it needs painting?

Agreed. 

Somebody in my area posted a nice wooden valet on a community site. A week later, they painted it and put it back on the site.

Never. Paint. Wood.
With few exceptions.
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cossoft
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« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2019, 02:08:18 am »

I see that there is some divergence of views on the degree of "grime" in Steampunk.  However, one of the first comments I received for a piece of mine was "Plenty of muck, tarnish and assorted battery to the shiny bits*, cover it all in muck and then clean it all up in a half-hearted manner, and you're off
to a good start!
". I think that there might be a certain ingrained cognitive bias towards dirt  Smiley Which is okay as a recent TV add for washing powder says that dirt is good.

I have another piece now, and there is no grime on it whatsoever.  So is it not Steampunk, and am I therefore "cured of the steam & punk"..?

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Synistor 303
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« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2019, 01:00:50 pm »

That is lovely, and that is Steampunk. I would classify the grimy stuff as Dieselpunk. But that’s just me - not looking for a fight.
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VampirateMace
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« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2019, 08:20:05 am »

I think punk here refers to the alternate aesthetic from the norm, yes? Hence we can tack onto Steam, Cyber, Diesel, Atom, and so forth (Nothing grungy about Atompunk either).
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Cora Courcelle
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« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2019, 06:24:19 pm »

I would classify the grimy stuff as Dieselpunk.

Or perhaps just in need of a jolly good clean!

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Banfili
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« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2019, 12:14:32 am »

I would classify the grimy stuff as Dieselpunk.

Or perhaps just in need of a jolly good clean!


Dirt is dirt - there isn't any aesthetic improved by being dirty. Worn, well-travelled and a little the worse for wear does not equal dirty, or unnecessarily covered in grease, oil or coal dust.
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Synistor 303
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Zenyna Ironbracker


« Reply #20 on: February 23, 2019, 02:57:02 am »

Oh, and from the look of your work you are absolutely and positively not 'cured' of Steampunk. I'd say you have a full-blown case of it... Keep up the good work!
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Athanor
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« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2019, 12:31:50 am »

Perhaps there should be another category: Grimepunk or Grungepunk?

Athanor
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cossoft
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« Reply #22 on: February 24, 2019, 03:18:40 am »

Slimestyle...  Undecided
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Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2019, 10:04:11 am »

Perhaps there should be another category: Grimepunk or Grungepunk?

Athanor

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