Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Our Current Obsession with Steampunk

So lately we've been using our boredom in the venue of cosplay and science fiction. I am referring to, more specifically, the creation of steampunk outfits. Now you may be asking, what is steampunk? or Why steampunk? (and why are we so obsessed that we temporarily changed our background to a neat, steampunk, artsy photo!?) Well to those of you wondering, steampunk is some seriously cool fiction that allows us to be transported to a world in which future technology made its way into the culture of the Victorian and Western 1800's. This creates a fabulous world of cowboys with jetpacks, merchants with airships, and ghostbusters with steam powered Proton Packs. Steampunk often allows us to explore avenues of technology that humanity left for history to swallow up. For instance, what if we had continued to fly blimps or if H.G. Well's time machine had actually existed?

To make a long story short, we decided that we wanted to make Steampunk costumes for Anime Boston, Halloween, and any other use we can possibly get out of them. Darci has gone all out and taken to getting every cog, piece of copper wire or leather, or any other cool craft-able part she can get her hands on. She has also begun the vast design on several characters whose back-stories we will post about soon. My role in this has been mostly research based, as I haven't had too much time to spend on my outfit yet, but I know I'm going to contribute as much as I can (though admittedly I'm not a seamstress by any stretch of the imagination).

A member shows off his awesome costume in a very appropriate setting.

Some cool things I have found in my travels that I wanted to share with you include the Space 1889 Role Playing Game. Though I haven't had a chance to try it out yet it seems pretty sweet and I'm probably going to pick it up and give it a try. It takes place in 1889 as if theories at that time regarding space travel had all come to fruition. Victorian era space faring is supported by the European world powers of the time carving out their territories on Mars, Venus, Mercury, and the like (though most of the focus is on Mars). Technologies include ether propellers to travel through space, and a "liftwood" plant with anti-gravity properties that allows for airships.

Other cool things to check out if you haven't are the steampunk anime and science fiction films that are fun to watch and full of neat concepts. Castle in the Sky, Steamboy, and Howl's Moving Castle are all heavily steampunk oriented, and many of Miyazaki's other films have some light elements taken from steampunk concepts.

Steampunk can also be inverted in a way that allows cultural and technological relics to endure and permeate into imaginary future environments. This is somewhat displayed in Joss Whedon's Firefly and the Playstation game Skies of Arcadia.

A modern cult movement known as Neo-Victorianism attempts to bring Victorian aesthetics and dress into circulation within modernity. A cool but probably doomed-to-die idea that is unlike our cosplay hobby, but still a neat sub-cultural concept. Also, I would love to see some of the dress and design ideas to become style influences in our future, but there are definitely some social concepts, particularly those surrounding women, that I am happy to see buried in the past.

A Neo Victorian watch for sale on artfire.

Bored? Try out this neat mini-game pack called "Cogs" from Lazy 8 Studios. It is basically a pack of puzzles where you put together pieces that will allow a steam punk device to operate. This could include arranging pipes so that you can fill a balloon that will allow a device to fly. Not the most in depth game ever but it would definitely pass a few hours if you needed it to.

Look up some steampunk for yourself and if you decide to join us in our costume making, post a comment or link some photos and we'll be sure to do the same.

Stay tuned for some neat stories, characters, and costumes here at Geek Girls!
Lady Lara Jones

1 comment:

Ian said...

It may turn out to be naught but dust in the wind, but it could be great:

Even if it never happens, The Diamond Age is some great post-cyberpunk, steampunk-ish story. Doesn't hurt that Neal Stephenson is physically incapable of writing anything bad.