Steampunk Takes Technology Back to the Future



“Steampunk lies at the intersection of science and romance,” says one of its foremost practitioners, Jake Von Slatt. “It embraces technology but demands technology return the favor.”

We came across Von Slatt while checking in with our friend Bob Eckstein, whose recently completed project, The History of the Snowman is now out in the world after six years of grueling research.

One of Eckstein’s next projects is producing a graphic novel out of a nautical explorer’s diary from 1850. A full-immersion writer, Eckstein has gotten himself in the mood for the work by transforming his office space into a 19th century Captain’s Quarters. He refitted his computers and office equipment into old ship instruments to lend verité to his efforts, and secured vintage trappings to serve up authenticity to his muse.

Hence, my introduction to Steampunk.

Click on pics in the gallery below and follow after the jump for more of the story.

Low-Tide Double Monitor iMac Set-up iMac Close-up Captain's Quarters
Steampunk LCD Monitor Detail Seampunk LCD Monitor Detail Steampunk LCD Monitor
Steampunk Mac Mini Mod Steampunk Mac Mini Set-up #2 Steampunk Mac Mini Set-up

Eckstein’s set-up includes a double-monitor Intel iMac, with a Wacom pad he uses for drawing. “Most of the items in the room [I] found or bought at local auction,” he told us. The scanner/copier on the left of his desk hides behind old wood (hot-glued, of course).

That’s an Ivory whale box on top along with an old globe he found for a dime. That’s a tape-measure clock bottom right. The close up shot below shows the pin-hole drilling work he used to expose the iMac’s camera for videoconferencing.

As Eckstein says, “I had done this before I realized this was a “movement” and as fancy as work [like von Slatt’s] is, mine is the opposite aesthetically. If their computers smelled like Victorian perfume, mine would smell like low–œtide.”

Much of von Slatt’s work, such as his keyboard modification project and his Victorian All-in-One involves PCs or gear originally made for PCs. But his iPod etching story is an interesting one, and the Mac Mini modification project produced some exquisite material.

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