But does it do anything?

Well, it has been on my mind since my post last night and I figured I may as well get the post out of the way.  Plus I want to try out my new poll plugin.

I know I stated in my site info that I believe that the ideas behind genres like Stempunk are subjective and should not be held to the incredibly strict sets of rules that some tend to apply when evaluating and categorizing art of any sort.  I do however believe that there are too many people being incredibly lax with the elements that should be considered when putting things into categories.

For instance, there are many, many people out there that believe that gluing watch parts to a piece of leather or metal instantly makes it “Steampunk”.  Personally I would categorize it as more steampunk-like aesthetically, but I am a believer that there should be some sort of functionality in the construction.  Though I do think there are cases where I am a bit lenient in my belief, such as cosplay costumes.  As much as I think someone truly into Steampunk would try to create working gear and steam-driven arms, legs, helmets, backpacks, or other devices, I understand that the purpose behind cosplay (or LARPing) is makebelieve and pretending “what if.”  So I would love to see someone with a steam gauge that actually reads the steam pressure in the backpack running their artificial limbs, I understand not many are willing to go to such lengths.

In the photo I posted in my last post, my impression was that it is a good example of altered art with a steampunk-like feel using a (according to the article) Victorian organ, but there is no mention of it actually working for the purpose that it was constructed.  I am not talking about as an organ, but I believe that all of the electronic devices added kind of negate the whole point of it being “Steampunk.”  I am not even sure if it would count if he somehow had a steam-powered generator creating electricity to run it (maybe).  I guess it all depends on how you view the potential timeline of a Steampunk alternate reality.  It is possible that at this point in time, we could be living in a steam-powered world with many of the technological advancements that we have now.

This other thing I saw is the “Steampunk Desk” from this article at Geekologie.  First of all it is not really Steampunk, but more like Clockpunk/Gearpunk.  And I love the look aesthetically, but it there are a ton of moving gears with no purpose beyond the art.  Now if there was a working clock, I would consider it functional.

"Steampunk" desk

I do think there are some great examples of functional work that I consider Steampunk, starting with Haruo Suekichi’s watches.  You can also see them at Steampunk Lab.

Haruo Suekichi watch

Another example of working art is by this guy I saw on a History Channel special called “Super Steam.”  They actually talked a bit about Steampunk at the end when they showed the work of I-Wei Huang who, among other things, creates steam-powered toys like tanks and walkers.  You can see his stuff at Crabfu.

Steam Tank

Steam Walker

And of course there are certain groups that work with steam-powered machines, including trains,  such as Kinetic Steam Works in California.

Kinetic Steam Works

I guess I am saying that I understand that there is an level of creativity and imagination that goes into being involved in the Steampunk genre but, as it happens with so many trends in art, fashion, music, and mentalities, people forget the purpose and meaning (assuming they knew it in the first place) of  these worlds in an attempt to follow the crowd or try to market it.

So my question is…

Do you think functionality is an important aspect of Steampunk art and workings?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Tags: , , ,

Comments are closed.