Saturday, September 11, 2010

Strange Waters

Artist "Mirabella Took" brings us this cunningly crafted brass and copper navigational device. I can't bring myself to call it by it's official name, a "Steampunk Pirate Pocketwatch", since it's so far beyond the typical brass candlesticks and watch gears junk foisted off by most steampunk artisans. Rant aside, this would make a fantastic arcane device.


Raven said...

Well, there's quite a lot of beautiful Steampunk art around -- Victorian-grandeur type, not just grunge -- and you've featured many other lovely examples of it right here in your blog.

So I don't think the "Steampunk" label should be reserved for the junk.

Why not go the other way, and withhold that worthy label from the junk?

Call the good stuff "Steampunk", and the bad stuff "Steamjunk"?

Propnomicon said...

@ Raven

There's such a taint of poor craftsmanship associated with "steampunk" that I hate applying the term to anything.

Raven said...

Yet you don't apply any other single term in its place.

Some things you call "retro-tech" or "retro-futuristic" or "mad science"... but others are left unlabeled... and there's no unifying tag for search use -- save "Physical Props" (which covers non-steamy props too, so people looking for "pieces like this one" might not find the other sculpted brass gadgets, or the Tom Banwell helmets, before they give up wading among all the unrelated props).

As a result, the entire aesthetic they have in common, and which the artists themselves (as in this case) even identify as their inspiration, goes entirely unnamed.

That doesn't seem quite right either, does it?

Since you don't feature poorly-crafted items here, surely there's no issue of lumping the good and bad together.

But for clarity's sake, would a tag like "Steampunk-not-junk" express the desired meaning?

Propnomicon said...

@ Raven

I rather like the Steampunk-not-junk idea.

"Physical Props" is a catchall that I rely on far too much (not to mention being redundant), but there's so much stuff that's just unclassifiable. I'm probably overdue for another sweep narrowing things down a bit.

Raven said...

I'm glad you like the idea!

Though any easily understood name could have served as a tag -- "Age of Brass and Steel" (or "Brass Age" for short), "Neo-Victorian Tech", etc. -- if there's one term you prefer to cover the whole category.

The "Physical Props" tag isn't redundant at all, because "Paper Props" and "Postal Props" and "Prop Documents" and "Prop Photographs" exist as other categories.

But, *ahem*, it might seem that "Physical Props" risks becoming the catch-all, when even the recent pharmacy labels PDF got that tag.