Steampunk: What It Is and a Few Words From History
This genre is now the only one of its kind. On the one hand, it has a futuristic shape, and on the other hand, it shows retro features and Victorian steampunk styles. Steampunk art is truly a unique trend that is unlike any other these days. This genre is a mixture of 19th-century aesthetics and technology with elements from science fiction. All the actions that we can observe in various audio and video works of this genre take place in an alternate reality, where the bias is towards the development of technology on a steam engine, without electrical appliances.
The main element of steampunk is steam, so a steampunk engine is often used there. In this unique universe, technologies and mechanisms are very well developed, they work using steam as a fuel. Steam is the main source of energy instead of electricity, oil, or gas. That’s why steampunk looks like something related to retro. It is very much reminiscent of the era when the industrial revolution took place in the world.
Douglas Fetherling was thinking about steampunk. He said that this genre shows us all what the past could have been like if the future had come before its time. We can safely say that steampunk is a modern technology that has a retro look.
If we talk about the steampunk aesthetic part of this genre, the primary inspiration was taken from the English fashion of the Victorian era of 1837-1901. An important role here is played by the era of France 1871-1914 and 1861-1865 years of the Civil War in the United States. You can look at the clothes of people from the steampunk alternate reality. It looks exactly like the clothes of the above eras, only with the addition of mechanical elements and gears. Every steampunker likes it very much.
We should also mention some rules of steampunk fashion. Women’s steampunk clothing is mostly corsets, steampunk glasses and other design elements, while men often wear long coats and top hats. Glasses are the most common accessory for men and women.
Why Does Steampunk Contain Punk?
To explain this feature, we need to consider the story at the beginning of the genre’s appearance and the cyberpunk vs steampunk issue.
The term “steampunk” firstly appears in a 1987 letter in Locus magazine. It was sent by a writer from the United States – Kevin Jeter. Kevin used the word steampunk as a joke. He described the Victorian literature with which he and his assistants Tim Powers and James Blaylock worked. The term “punk “was a reference to the word” cyberpunk”, as the libertarian ideology of punk was much less pronounced in steampunk, as opposed to steampunk cyberpunk.
The very term of this genre is not clear enough, but for many people, this genre and its aesthetic features are very close. This is all because of the culture and the dissemination of information.
For example, the novels of Jules Verne can be classified as steampunk. In “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, the underwater futuristic boat Nautilus is designed during the classical era of 1867-1868. But we all know that the novel was written in the 19th century, so it belongs to science fiction novels. The Nautilus submarine is a futuristic machine, it is the most advanced in the latest technology, unlike other submarines from that time.
There is also an interesting mention of steampunk in the TV series Wild Wild West. This is a famous TV show where two secret agents in the 1870s make a trip to the Far West. The idea is that they use different steampunk inventions to fight the enemies. It is one of the best steampunk movies and steampunk inventor variety.
Are you fans of comics? What if it’s a steampunk comic about a sci-fi universe with steamed technology, steampunk weapons, and Victorian fashion clothing? There’s an amazing Alan Moore comics book series: “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”. The comic is a great example of the steampunk genre. The main action takes place in a fictional steampunk Victorian era, there are popular people of the 19th century: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Captain Nemo, the Invisible Man, and others. All these famous people are united in one big organization to protect the country from enemy attacks and other futuristic threats, using interesting methods of that very era.
We can’t help but mention another interesting eccentric character: Sherlock Holmes. Probably everyone is familiar with his film adaptation of the amazing detective adventures in the British Empire, where there are retro-futuristic gadgets, mysticism. The methods of Sherlock Holmes and his adaptations for working and finding the truth in investigations are very well thought out and implemented. This is a great example of the steampunk genre.
We all know the wonderful director Martin Scorsese. His film “Hugo” is a touching fairy tale that won many awards in a variety of categories. Excellent praise for the acting, visual effects, production from the director, music, and much more. The steampunk genre is recognized in the film from its first minutes and allows any viewer to feel this alternative atmosphere.
In the 21st century of our reality, computer technologies are developing very quickly. There are a lot of genres in this field, and steampunk occupies a solid place among them. For example, the steampunk game “BioShock Infinite” is a great example of the steampunk genre among other steam punk games. The story in this steam punk game takes place in 1912 in a floating city. Clothing, airships, weapons, steam equipment. In short, everything is from the steampunk genre. This game is very much liked by many people, thanks to an interesting unique story and impeccable execution. We can safely say that this game is one of the best in the steampunk genre. Moreover, it is one of the best games in general.
Of course, there are various festivals on the theme of steampunk. There are special websites where information about events in the steampunk genre is published. This is happening all over the world in different countries.
For example, in the summer of 2010, the all-American STEAMfest 2010 was held in the USA, Georgia. In 2008, the artist and sculptor Paul St. George installed unique Victorian-style video installations outdoors. These steampunk artwork were connected via a network between London and Brooklyn.
There are a lot of festivals on the theme “Around the World in 80 days”, one of these trans-Atlantic meetings was held by Evelyn Krit. If you often visit the Museum of History and Science in Oxford, you probably go to one of these interesting festivals. It also hosts exhibitions of steampunk artists from around the world.
You may wonder why we didn’t write a word about music. Nowadays, steampunk is not a full-fledged musical direction. However, some bands still claim that they belong to this genre. This also includes such styles as: industrial, dark rave, art-rock, and dark cabaret. Steampunk at such musical groups is manifested in the outfits of the musicians and their fans, texts that mention various historical interesting cases and facts, old motifs from songs of the 19th century.
We got acquainted with the steampunk genre. We learned its history, features, and manifestation in the culture. The steampunk world has got very rich and interesting style and history.
Also important is the fact that the steampunk genre manifests itself in our lives. You can buy interesting things and diversify your appearance or make an amazing pleasant gift to your friends. Steampunk gadgets and steampunk outfits are just perfect for it. You can find the right clothes for yourself and emphasize your style with beautiful steampunk sunglasses. Create a unique style of your image to resemble a popular character from literature or a movie. Plastic accessories used to be in fashion before, but you can improve your outfit with our metal jewelry. Take a look at our catalog of steampunk accessories to look very amazing, beautiful, and aesthetically.