You don’t have to travel far in speculative circles to find references to steampunk, but when an exhibit shows up at the Museum of the History of Science (University of Oxford), you know the trend has gained more wide-spread recognition. The video clip below gives a fascinating glimpse into the exhibit as well as the origins of and variety within steampunk. As the narrator states, “It’s a very broad based discipline. It involves everything from literature to science fact to science fiction, art, sculpture, digital photography. And of course it’s very popular in film.” Naturally, however, the museum display focuses on physical devices, some functional, some fantastical.
Many of the craftsmen whose works were displayed dressed up in steampunk regalia, and I found their explanation of their devices intriguing–a good dose of inspiration for creativity. Some of the inventors are also novelists as the imagination necessary for one lends itself well to another. Though short, this film clip is a fascinating look at the artistic and cultural trends inspired by steampunk literature. This movement inspired by books helps reveal the impact of speculative novels on culture as a whole.
Without further ado, here is the clip:
For more information, including some additional videos go to the museum exhibit page. Sadly, the exhibit was temporary, but they’ve left up quite a bit of information.
Would you classify steampunk as a movement? Do any of these devices particularly catch your interest?