by Commander Bob from Victor Sierra
Actually more than being a mere projection of the mind towards a future that could have been Steampunk offers possibilities of immortality. If time leaves its bed and alters its normal flow from A to Z from past to present and from present to future we can travel from here to eternity and come back. Though Steampunk would not start before the 19th century industrial revolution because of its deep technological aspect. Let’s then say that from steam to eternity.
Man invents and dominates the machine for his own good and then he can think he dominates his own death. The classical steampunk attire include weapons of various kinds and origins. The “ray-gun” is a typical example of dystopian contraption. The gun has existed for many centuries but the laser beam is rather recent. The aspect of the ray-gun is usually a mix of both antique and ultra-modern conceptions of weaponry so it can then be considered as a weapon out of our common time. Therefore it’s a weapon that is able to defend ourselves against any danger that might cause us harm coming from any period of time – of course we can conceive of time. But steampunk is our own creation and so are the dangers, a ray-gun dominates space and time, It’s utopia and “uchronia”.
The physical aspect of the steampunk outfit is important, be it for woman or man. Here comes the “hero” aspect, a steampunk individual can’t die, he or she suffers, fights, flees, comes back, is defeated, is taken prisoner, escapes, wins, etc… but he or she can’t really die. For that purpose he or she wears the outfit of the hero, wonderful clothes but bearing marks of past battles and perhaps of struggles to come. The most beautiful uniform elements coming from different periods of time are mixed to produce the image of the hero. We find here another hint of immortality.
Age matters little among steampunk people, quite the opposite of the nowadays way of life. Conventions and gatherings show people communicating whatever their age can be. Would Steampunk be a response to the institutionalized dictatorship of the youth? A blunt answer would be: yes but it’s not something that comes up after some kind of symposium discussions. Steampunk doesn’t care about age simply because the question doesn’t come up. “Uchronia” means un-chronological flow of time, so do the maths… the future can be the past and vice versa, what’s young today can be old in the steampunk philosophy. Why limit creativity to contemporary time practices? Beauty is ageless and so is intelligence and knowledge, experience talks and provides a strong skeleton to the airship while youth’s enthusiasm gives impetus to go forward. In that sense we can talk about a “community” of knowledge: new information technologies have brought tight links all around the planet and intrinsic curiosity drives those further than a simple epistolary connection. No heavy family-like ties though steampunk is not static and embraces many trends and researches. Why keep it simple when difficulty brings heroism?
And there is steampunk art or retro-futuristic art, be it painting, cinema, music, photography, steampunk art shows the permanence of the “time” characteristic. You can’t hardly find any piece of art not mixing anachronistic features. The overall atmosphere can be dark and foggy, even “smoggy”, typical of Victorian or Edwardian era but steam engine trains can fly and dirigibles perhaps are atomic. What air are we breathing there? Probably one loaded with many mortal gases and such but who cares? It’s the steampunk world… we can’t die!
And we’re fighting imaginary and symbolistic fierce adversity to defend our freedom. The Hebrew Bible depicts a typical symbolistic enemy called “Amaleq”, this symbol is embodied in the course of time on a regular basis by real people as Nabuchodonosor, Assuerus, and closer to us by Hitler. This symbol represents absolute evil that must be fought without any mercy to regain or maintain our free will. Steampunk loves myths and these imaginary enemies could be very close to “Amaleq”. Steampunk clearly stands for free will.
If history can choose every ways of evolution at the same time, if human beings make evolution, if evolution doesn’t follow a chronological path, it gives us a sense of eternity.
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