Monday, August 23, 2010

Making and Steampunk

Making Monday

Steampunk is a movement that began in literature (Jules Vern and H.G. Wells) and has since spilled out into art, style, and (for a few dedicated individuals) life.

The steampunk aesthetic combines beautiful enclosures, often of brass and wood, with exposed parts; a style where form follows function even when function springs from fancy. Custom, with all the idiosyncrasies that implies, is the order of the day.

I once heard steampunk, as a contemporary movement, characterized as, "We love the machine, not the factory."

There's a fair amount of overlap in the conceptual landscape between steampunk and making. Steampunk aesthetics provide strong visual metaphors for the individuality of the makers and the ideal openness of things made.

A steampunk-style desktop computers (from the Wikipedia article).

The care and craftsmanship that go into an enclosure like this show the love that is is the foundation of true making.

Tim Wetherell's Clockwork Universe sculpture at Questacon, Canberra, Australia (September 24, 2009)
The open parts here invite us to understand, repair, and reconfigure--to take responsibility for the made world in which we live.

 Image: Bill Longshaw /

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