Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Fuzzy Spectrum Steampunk meandering or What is steampunk?

Fuzzy Spectrum Steampunk meandering or What is steampunk?

Define steampunk... is it pre-'polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride'
Oh dear, Boffin has again been asked 'what is steampunk'?

For me & I can only speak personally, to me it is;-

A fantasy view of a pre WWI-past era envisaged into the future, created or enacted/stitched/built/written/painted/performed/etc. in the present
 had they had our technology in the past.
(There you go.... Clear as mud!)

Historical era wise for me  Steampunk draws influence from & reflects (but not slavishly copies) a style period from the end of the Georgian C18th running up until-ish the end in 1910 of Edward the VII reign or a pre-WW1 (1914-18), so Victorian-esque give or take a decade of style origin.

...or to put it another way Steampunk reflects mainly (but not exclusively)  a time pre-mass production of 'polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride' or 'Bakelite' as it is more commonly known as, an early plastic invented in 1907.

iRetrofone Steampunk styled after one of bakelite

Contradiction: But then I 've seen some fab Art deco influenced steampunk items, which historically design-wise runs up until almost the outbreak of WWII in 1939, so that pre-Bakelite guide is most of the way out-the-window ....

Deco lamp
featured on  -

For those who say historically plastic has no part of the Victorian era from whence most steampunk draws influence from.  Well 'no plastic' ('squirms'), strictly speaking is not quite true as celluloid, (Ivorine or French Ivory) an early form of thermoplastic & often used as a faux ivory, had been around since the C1860's & was widely used for making many objects inside the mid reign onwards of Queen Victoria (1819 -1901).

x4 Celluloid Hair Combs c1890
previously offered at auction  -

Basically, I see steampunk, as people socialising, making, creating & having fun!

 (Please don't try to put my perception of steampunk in a rigid box; unless its mahogany & then only if it has brass bound corners & recessed carrying handles!)

Now the Boffin developed steampunk interests in virtual complete isolation from any steampunk organised influences. In fact I've found steampunk moderately hard socially to break into on forums & in chat, but Boffin knows what he likes.  My influences may have been subliminal images from some science fiction films, the occasional stumbled upon picture & a healthy teenage diet (decades ago) of pulp Science fiction.

Having also been an antique furniture restorer & polisher as a form of employment years ago & being an avid collector of multiple & diverse 'things' may also have helped.

Most people once involved in steampunk I feel will develop their own sense of 'what is steampunk' to them...and that's just fine!  A sort of Fuzzy Spectrum of Steampunk ranging across a diversity of approaches, perceptions & appreciations.'s what you make or make of it!

Kind regards


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