Monthly Archives: December 2012

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Steampunk and dieselpunk : the cyborg aesthetic?

Steampunk and dieselpunk : the cyborg aesthetic?

Continuing my series of cross-posting from the old Tumblr-oo, these were my quick ramblings concerning the steampunk fashion. They have been modified as it was originally written over a year ago.
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Through the past year, I have been thinking about this subject quite often. I don’t why my head has constantly been jumping back to what I personally find an aesthetically pleasing genre: steampunk. Then, sometime around Christmas 2011, I realized that steampunk contains what the label cyborg aesthetic might actually be fitting.

Yes, we know, steampunk and dieselpunk are sci-fi genres. What could this ultimately mean to my whole cyborg work? Let’s face it, cyborgs in themselves were, until quite recently, sci-fi themselves. When you really think about it, so was science in general! It took a lot of imagination to come up with some of the researches and ideas scientists do and have.

(Addendum: having gone much further in my research than I had at the time this was originally written, I have changed my views on this. Cyborgs, from the idea of meshing human and non-organic materials, have existed for quite a long time. Indeed, there are 16th century artificial arms, one beautiful sample of these is in the Wellcome Collection. However, this all depends on how we define cyborgs, which is an area with which I am still tackling.)

My main idea here is what kind of potential consequences these sub-genres could have on the popular view of cyborgs. Fans of steampunk usually integrate some kind of mechanical limb (clockworks and all) to their bodies (see picture). Also, this genre seems to be filtering into our mass media, slowly but surely. Justin Biever actually made a steampunk influenced music video for Christmas 2011, and last year’s displays at Macy’s are full of clockworks.

Could this, eventually, have an influence on society’s take on cyborgs? Generally, people seem to shudder when they think of half-mechanical men, but could a large-scale diffusion of this genre’s popularity change that? I have often questioned the possibility of there being some kind of claim of pride over prosthetics, as I’ve often observed in Aimee Mullins’ TED talks (which I shall post in this space at a later date). It comes from a feeling of not having had a limb taken away, but more than that, having something <i>more</i> put in its place.

Possibilities are endless when it comes to the cyborg aesthetic. My header at the moment is a leg designed for Viktoria Modesta, which she proudly wears at galas. I think my point is that prosthetics are more than aides, replacements, limbs. They can go further than a genetic leg.

Photo Credit: Anton (skeep11 on DeviantArt)

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Transcendent Man (2009) by Robert Barry Ptolemy

We’re two days away from a new year, and maybe closer to what Ray Kurzweil defined as the Singularity. To welcome the new era, and to not abandon this blog, I’m cross-posting my old entries from my Tumblr to this space, beginning by this trailer of quite an interesting movie.

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The whole idea of a singularity causes mixed emotions. From “weird”, to “freaky” to, “I can’t wait”, this doesn’t leave anyone neutral. Where does the human stop in the singularity, and when do we become a Homo Electronicus, or is the singularity in itself the definition of a Homo Novus, if you will? Isn’t the point of the singularity to forget there ever was a gap between human and technology? And was there ever really a gap?

Changing Platforms…

The World Wide Web, and Web 2.0, where we are all connected and connected within our connections (Facebook to Twitter to Tumblr to WordPress) have made me realise how choosing the appropriate platform to present your views on random subjects can make a change.

An addict to Tumblr, I find it excruciatingly hard to step away from it. As fun as its set-up is, it delivers what it promises and leaves little room for commentary and exchanges in a direct relationship with spontaneous readers (though it is ideal for the “follower” system, which quickly becomes a harmless popularity contest).

Becoming more active in the world of blogging and realising that it just might be the best way to collect my thoughts as well as expressing them to the wider audience (small as it may be), I think it is time to migrate from the world of “fandoms” to the world of writer-blogs. The first few entries, however, will be literal transfers. I shall be posting the few things I found might be better translated onto the WordPress platform (not many, but better some than none).

With this, I leave open to the world my new corner in the Internet. You’re all welcome at any time.