Saturday, 24 October 2009

SteamPunk comes to Oxford


I was first introduced to the inspiring world of steampunk by my daughter and these books, Larklight and Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve. Even though these are children's books they totally grabbed me. It has been a long time since I read anything with such original ideas. I simply couldn't put them down. I would definitely recommend them for anyone who is looking for a really good adventure story set in an incredibly appealing steam-driven world.

Steampunk fiction is inspired by the kind of technology found in HG Wells 'Time Machine' or Jules Verne's 'Captain Nemo' (I can't remember how many leagues under the sea it is... always get that muddled, is it 20,000? or 2,000? anyway...). The books are set in an alternative world to ours, but one that we would recognise, and full of amazing steam driven machines, heavy engineering and Victorian values with a sense of humour that had me chuckling out loud throughout.

After that I read every book Philip Reeve wrote ........ with equal enjoyment I might add. Steampunk has inspired a type of clothing too ... sort of space age Victorian with goggles... it's hard to explain but it's really cool!



And then... the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford has mounted a steampunk art exhibition.


We went for a looksee on Saturday. Really if I had been adventurous I would have dressed up steampunk style - but it was cold and raining so my little homage to steampunk fashion went only as far as my button up boots!


My oh my!! Such beautiful things, and everything made me smile. It was a real celebration of engineering and solidity as opposed to the cyber world of 'wireless' and invisible technology. The kind of stuff that makes you think you can build it, fix it, invent it... the ultimate in tinkering in the garage really.

This one is entitled 'Eye-Pod' and it can be worn on the wrist - such fun!!

And so, BillySteve was inspired... he kept talking about all the bits and bobs he kept in the garage 'in the hope that one day they would be useful' and how he could start welding them together to make steampunk artifacts! He has sculptures planned for the garden, clocks for the wall, and a whole retirement devoted to the production of steampunk goodies!! Goodness if he can make anything like these I would be overjoyed. But I think he will need a lifetime of weekends to achieve stuff like this!

Like most of the museum's in Oxford, entrance is free and apart from the exhibition itself there are loads of really interesting things to see. Ancient telescopes and stuff like that... some of it is amazing. The steampunk exhibition is there until February of next year and there are events planned including evenings of films, workshops in making steampunk inspired jewellery, and a lecture about the role of science and technology in fashion. Apart from the purchase of any materials for the workshops everything is free! That's brilliant don't you think?



I sent details of it all to BillyChristina in Japan in the hope that she would be jealous... but I think she is having such a wonderful time it would be hard to make her green, but the museum is right opposite Blackwells the book shop where she used to work at the weekends and so I think it will make her nostalgic - we used to go to quite a few of the exhibitions they had there. I would meet her from work and we would have a picnic tea together... goodness, now I'm getting nostalgic.

5 comments:

  1. oooh! I saw that in town the other day and wondered what was in there. Ofcourse I thought about you and C. xx

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  2. Fascinating, I've never heard of it before.

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  3. i don't know about Billychristina but Billysarahjean is dead jealous. looks awesome. ¿can i put in an order with Billysteve?

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  4. Julia you must go look... its soooo worth it. Hi Ilona - yep... whole world of weirdness out there, you just got to look for it. and of course BillySarahJean would be jealous - but she is also a very talented person who could turn her hand to all sorts of creative things for herself! The internet could be the inspiration...

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  5. Thanks for Posting this, and I'm glad you enjoyed the show!

    ~Doctor Grymm
    (Creator of the Eye-Pod, the goggles above, and other bits in the show!)

    BehindtheSteam@blogspot.com

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