CrossLab — Sensory Shopping

Investigating the power of senses, shopping and new media

Steampunk…another approach to new media

Posted by arno -- CrossLab on June 24, 2008

Jake von Slatt is a Steampunk artist.  What exactly is that?

Steampunk is a vintage approach to new media, similar to the concept that Wendy, Dennis, Jeroen and Sharon (3DC) have taken.  It is a return to the future, in a sense.  Taking into account the inventive days of Victorian times, where the future machines and their aesthetic appeal took precendence.  Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia…

Steampunk is a subgenre of fantasy and speculative fiction which came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. The term denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century, and often set in Victorian era England—but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date. Other examples of steampunk contain alternate history-style presentations of “the path not taken” of such technology as dirigibles or analog computers; these frequently are presented in an idealized light, or a presumption of functionality.

Steampunk is often associated with cyberpunk and shares a similar fanbase and theme of rebellion, but developed as a separate movement (though both have considerable influence on each other). Apart from time period and level of technological development, the main difference between cyberpunk and steampunk is that steampunk settings usually tend to be less obviously dystopian than cyberpunk, or lack dystopian elements entirely.

Here, a photo of a laptop made in Steampunk fashion.  Something I personally think is quite interesting is the idea that it presents the notion of an alternate path, or a road that could have been taken.  (In this sense, read Manuel de Landa’s A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History).   The film Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (starring Jude Law) is a good visual representation of this kind of design genre.


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