Here’s where a couple of ideas come together: creative economy and steam punk. By creative economy, I mean this:
Sculpture Installation, Gibraltar Mine
Cultures vary, but creative use remains constant. In Iceland, old industrial sculptures like this are carefully preserved for the creative potential in all their tempered and angled and fitted iron bits, which can be recombined into almost anything, in something like constructive chess. In Canada, where creativity is not seen as practical, such industrial sculptures are usually melted down into pig iron and remade into barbecues and lawn furniture, for a new life shaping humans to their wills. Occasionally, though, one or two escape to live a wild and happy life as targets for hunters and general social and personal anger.
By steam punk, I mean a couple things. First, pure art (portraits of nature to be contemplated, not manipulated within the world; the world in this art form is to be approached socially, with the hope that all good things will follow from that.). This “art” thing can be beautiful:
Back Alley Behind the Curry Pot Restaurant
Vernon, Cenotaph Square. A place designed for enjoyment by ghosts, in a society designed to live within the deeds of the dead.
And what do ghosts want? Why, to escape the square into life, of course! It’s a brutal irony, but leads to beauty. Here, a soldier blasts out of the natural gas valve-shaped human at road level, through the heat of the curry, by passing jail, with his feet on the British Flag, into a trench that separates him from the Okanagan hills, ready to take on whatever Germans he finds there, of which there appear to be none, but mud. Lots of mud. Obviously the method is a little wobbly, despite its beauty. Here’s some steampunk updated for installation into the world today …
What a glory of lines and poles and wires. This is steam punk sculpture at its finest. Some of the highlights are the dry-cleaning sun and the telephone switching box sunflower, both of which replace their living counterparts, in order to more accurately display the way in which in a steam punk world, social relationships, and especially past relationships to technology and the latent creative energy within objects trumps the natural world.
It might sound like I’m being grim, but I’m not, because there is a different latent energy within those objects, apart from their recycled, reforged steel forms, and the 19th Century German colour engineering that went into the brightness we see here, and which was essential for the deadly pyrotechnical shows of the Great War between civilization and Kultur, which lasted from 1914 to 1945. This latent energy is the sun and the sunflower themselves. At the moment, they have been magically inserted into this steam-punk landscape, like ancient spiritual amulets. It is that magical energy that remains. What I find exciting is that here, at the heart of steam punk, there is a path to the living earth. When released, it will still be a part of steam punk, and will set this vast, intricate sculptural machine into the life it longs for.
Every day is sends out its message for life. Life is not found in opposition to the steampunk world, but through its door. Now, that’s pretty cool.