Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Steampunk Town: Yesterday's future today

We've been a fan of steampunk--as both a literary genre and a mechanical practice--for quite a while now. Basically, steampunk
[blockquote]involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century and often Victorian era Britain—that incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them; in other words, based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, art, etc. This technology may include such fictional machines as those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne or real technologies like the computer but developed earlier in an alternate history.(Source: Wikipedia)[/blockquote].
Steampunk is inventive, futuristic (in a retrospective way) and deeply analogue in nature--and steampunk creations can be incredibly beautiful.
So it's been especially nice to read up on an entire town in New Zealand that's gone steampunk!

Oamaru is being touted as the world's first steampunk town and the townsfolk--with the help of their local League of Victorian Imagineers--have been involved in what seems to be a year-long series of events leading up to this month's grand exhibition of steampunk creations and artwork.

One especially nice dimension of this large-scale civic event is the involvement of local school kids and their teachers, as well as other community groups. This includes blogging about local steampunk events (including a school kid challenge to design a steampunk raygun!), and a video documenting the construction of an Intergalactic Promulgation Transmogrification Appliance (otherwise known as an alien language communication device). Both the device and the documentary were created by the Literacy North Otago group.

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