Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Steampunk 101 with the Jules Verne Phantastical Society at Hal-Con 2011
Workshop leaders and members of Jules Verne Phantastical Society
Steampunk is an intriguing movement with a rapidly growing number of enthusiasts, which was quite apparent by all the stunning costumes and props at Hal-Con.
The first time I had heard about it in depth was on Fanboy Confessional that Shannon and I discussed at length on an episode of Hexed. As a result, I was very excited to attend the Steampunk 101 Workshop at Hal-Con hosted by the Jules Verne Phantastical Society.
BECOME A "MAKER"
At the workshop we learned about the writers and minds involved in creating the idea of futuristic Victorians but it went far beyond a history lesson.
The main reason I was immediately drawn to Steampunk was the members' passion to be their own makers and opt out of buying stuff at big box stores. As someone who enjoys making jewellery, the idea of creating pieces with found components of current technology in a look that is reflective of the Victorian era kind of blows my mind.
Above you can see an example of the mixed time period. A contemporary computer hacked to appear very Victorian in style. It is a beautiful lie that is historically impossible. Absolutely fascinating.
Art made its way into Steampunk and so did fashion. Accessories like goggles and old guns is an easy way to clearly indicate a Steampunk look. The aesthetics are Victorian with a sci-fi influence. Women often wear dresses with bustles and men can don cravats and hats. Yet, as you can see in the photo above, you can play with the period of your look to make it your own.
Steampunk is not just about wearing a costume. Members of the movement go beyond making an outfit by also envisioning a real life character for themselves, complete with specific details, personal story and historical context.
STEAM PUNK IN THE MEDIA
Although Disney was one of the first to put a Steampunk aesthetic on the big screen with 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, there have been more recent movies with this style: Van Helsing, Wild Wild West and Sherlock Holmes, to name a few.
Reg and I wondered if Hell Boy and Sanctuary would also count as movies with Steampunk style? During the discussion I had a sudden realization that the recent Three Musketeers movie may be Steampunk and if it is, makes so much more sense now.
Steampunk is supposed to be a Victorian period with a twist on reality. It makes you ask yourself, what if the past was different? Where would that lead me? Who could I be from a time period in the past with some of the modern tools of today? For me, it appears to be a fiction wrapped in impossibility, decorated with a little hat that gets blown away by an old fashioned gun.
Jules Verne Phantastical Society
I have always been drawn to the Victorian aesthetic and the idea of a punk movement with manners and members who drink tea together is intriguing. Living a speculative life as your own fictional character is beyond fascinating. It is Steampunk. I wonder where this movement will go?