Steam punk – resisting the digital life

You know when digital has reached it’s culturally locked in status when the counter culture emerges. A far  cry from the Luddite movement, steam punks embrace technology, at least in it’s antiquated, polished brass state. You may have noticed the traditional pocket watch making a return to the high street and fashion aficionados looking more and more like Victorian chimney sweeps. When George Lucas’s merchandising machine is jumping on the Stevenson’s rocket, you know the steam punk movement is chugging it’s way into the mainstream.

The early wisps of steam punk emerged in the late 80’s and early 90’s of the last millennium. Science fiction yes, but not to be confused with cyberpunk. Similar underlying themes of rebellion  remain, but the grimy near post apocalyptic world Blade Runner revealed to us is replaced by with far more gentlemanly fair. Steam punks doff their top hats towards the science fiction romantics of the 19th century of writers such as HG Wells Mary Shelly.

Steam punk duel animation

So what is behind the appeal of steam punk?

As we move into the digital age, our world is filled with zeros and one’s. Theoretical renderings of mathematical equations surround us.  We interact with objects we can’t actually touch and feel, only see and hear. Do digital objects really exist in the traditional sense?

Digital is daunting, knowledge of the nuts and bolts of the micro processor is way beyond the grasp of  the vast majority.  We understand good old industrial steam, however. Steam technology was probably the first time man harnessed Einstein’s theory of relativity and was the driver of the industrial revolution.