Friday, September 19, 2008


I'm not sure what to think about steampunk overall, but I do really like the anachronisms that exist within the genre. The nostalgia of the aesthetic also is fascinating when combined with technology. A nice counterpoint to the fear of robots/computers taking over that is so prevalent in things like The Matrix or I, Robot.

Today I went to the show Anachrotechnofetishism: Artifacts by Pioneers of American Steampunk at Suite 100 Gallery in Belltown (2222 - 2nd Ave). The gallery is small and cozy and one is easily able to get up close and personal with the objects. There were paintings, photographs, drawings, jewelry, and constructed "things" all over. One of my favorites was a keyboard that had been redone in brass, wood, and old typewriter keys. Oh yeah, and the show closes on October 3rd, so if you want to see it you should hurry!

But the piece that really stood out for me was the one pictured above, which is Mechanical Womb with Clockwork Fetus by Seattle-based Molly "Porkshanks" Friedrichs. Moving beyond most of the objects there, this one seemed to have something extra to say. I'm still thinking about it tonight, which is more than I can say about most of the other pieces I saw. What I'm really left with are questions:
  • What is a clockwork fetus and what will it grow up to become?
  • Does this come from a world where humans are obsolete?
  • Would a male artist have ever decided to deal with this type of subject matter?
  • What would Sarah Palin think about this artwork--would she want to ban it?
I like that this work deals with themes of procreation and artificial intelligence in a way that is both romantic/tender/sweet and also uncomfortable/scary/weird. If I had a spare $8500, I'd buy it.


RiverMist said...

I LOVE steampunk! and similar genres, so cool, so cool.

Manthony said...

Went back to the show today for a second look. Turns out that the mechanical womb also includes a music box!

JRSM said...

What a cool object. Shame about the artist's nickname!

Manthony said...

"Porkshanks" wouldn't be my first choice either, but I guess she doesn't mind?