Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Steam Wars

One of my favourite blogs is Brass Goggles, dedicated to the Steampunk subculture. For those of you unfamiliar with the genre, Steampunk is (arguably) an offshoot of Cyberpunk, the postapocalyptic dystopian motif involving decayed cities, lots of leather and buckles, sci-fi in the vein of Neal Stephenson and William Gibson.
Steampunk, however, takes a decidedly Victorian, Jules Verne-esque approach to the theme. Imagine if 19th century English manners, dress, and customs were combined with futuristic technology. What would it look like? There's a definite aesthetic goal here; in a world where computers come in beige plastic boxes and technology all has a vaguely aloof, snobbish feel, Steampunk imagines a hands-on, DIY approach. Technology becomes approachable in the way that brass cogs, gears, leather fittings, and coal-powered engineering were back in the 1800's. Once upon a time, it was possible for the average layman to know everything there was to know about the technology of his day. Now, how many people could, in their basement, using found objects and everyday techniques, build a silicon microchip? How about even a microwave oven?

The above is a brief introduction to the subculture, which I include simply to show you this: A gentleman calling himself Sillof (pronounced SY-loff) has created these lovely Star Wars-themed action figures in the manner of Steampunk. Imagining a universe populated by Jedi warriors who looked like European knights crossed with industrial-ready aviators, and steam-powered droids, Sillof has depicted an alternate version of a galaxy far, far away. While I'm not a huge Star Wars fan (though my friends Cowboy and FTB certainly are), I drool over the concept of having these figures lined up on a mahogany & brass shelf somewhere.

Click the riveted, furnace-like R2D2 picture above to see all Sillof's work.

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