I have recently discovered an artistic opportunity for a Steampunk-themed show. It is not a foreign topic to me as I have seen people wearing the top hats, corsets, goggles, "gear-everywhere" outfits, passenger balloons and steam engines. It is Victorian, Edwardian, and the Early American West. There are drawings of fantastical cityscapes designed to function on the power of steam and air. Sure, I could draw something like that (no, not really) or a kitten with goggles and a steam-powered laser gun, a clockwork style airship, a lady in a Victorian style dress with a mechanical eye attachment, but is that what steampunk is? Yes, sort-of, but it is much more than that. After spending a bit over a week studying the world of steampunk through YouTube videos and online readings, I feel I have gained some insight into this subculture, even though it is just a toe-wetting bit of knowledge.
I like that Steampunk is community of creative, DIYers that borrow from a particular time in human history and make it into an engaging alternative fantasy world which one can experience in real time with real people. You can even make up your own persona with its own special history!
The community engages in the re-purposing of material, which is becoming a necessity in this wasteful society. They use a term 'Maker'. I am a maker of things! It celebrates history. Even though it's an alternative version set into the modern world, I believe thinking about history helps us not to forget it.
Steam and air power seem like relics in this micro-electronic, fossil-fuel based world, but is it really? Today, we need to start living in an energy efficient society that doesn't destroy our environment. Solar, wind, plant and geothermal energy are on the tips of everyone's tongues, sweet or bitter. I even spent time looking up solar steam power. Its still has some kinks but seems promising. Oh, and making costumes, you know, cosplay, that is just right up my alley.
I am delighted in the way it slips in a history lesson. I enjoy historical research and then bending it to my own will. The community within Steampunk incorporates ideas that I agree with already.
1. Community is important.
2. Creativity is necessary for survival.
3. History has much to offer in the way of inspiration.
4. Being Steam is being Green! Re-purpose and make anew.
5. Play and use your imagination, life's too short not to.
Oh, and I am still working on what to do for the show.
"What to do, what to do?" I ponder to myself, as my mechanical finger clicks gently to my temple while I gazing at the bulbous airship passing by my tea room window.