Winding Down the House
I want to destroy steampunk.
I want to tear it apart and melt it down and recast it. I want to take your bustles and your fob watches and your monocles and grind them to a fine powder, dust some mahogany furniture with it and ask you, is this steampunk? And if you say yes, I want to burn the furniture.
Understand, I want to do this out of love. I love what I see at steampunk’s core: a desire for the beautiful, for technological wonder, for a wedding of the rational and the marvelous. I see in it a desire for non-specialised science, for the mélange of occultism and scientific rigour, for a time when they were not mutually exclusive categories. But sadly I think we’ve become so saturated with the outward signs of an aesthetic that we’re no longer able to recognise the complex tensions and dynamics that produced it: we’re happy to let the clockwork, the brass, the steam stand in for them synecdochally, but have gotten to a point where we’ve forgotten that they are symbols, not ends in themselves.
[Centuries and Symbols]