Monday, 17 September 2012

Steampunk at the Paralympic Closing Ceremony ...


Well now I learn something new once again – as I never thought I’d write about Steampunk!  Perhaps I should have joined Alex’ genre fest ... but I see there’s 182 of you - - - have fun!

Electric Storm on the Crop Circles - let the Ceremony begin
c/o The Evening Standard
The steampunk theme at the Paralympic Closing ceremony was to celebrate all the athletes (4,200 paralympians from 164 nations), performers, creators who are prepared to “CAN DO “...


... including those who can wield a screwdriver, blowtorch sheet metal into exhaust pipes, take something apart then putting together a cranky machine ... rethinking life?

Mad Max and the Fisher King c/o The Sun

Steampunk is a genre that incorporates elements of science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, horror and speculative fiction – it is a right melting pot of technology, art fashion and design  - no wonder I had trouble understanding this genre?!


This Festival of Flame sure showed us recycled parts ... it was like Da Vinci’s machines being automated with gears ... cranking around the stadium ...

Man of Fire towed by Man of Steel
c/o Herald Sun of Australia
... interspersed with sparks flying here and there, health and safety bods with fire extinguishers, pyrotechnics ahoy – reflecting our British pagan roots ...


... the festivals of Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer being depicted in this cacophony of colour, spare parts, and spurting dragon fire ...

The cavalcade - The Evening Standard

The Times’ newspaper gave me a breakdown of ‘Behind the Story’ – where it describes these fantaristic machines ... a motorcade as an ode to recycling ...

... component parts fished out of the sea, dug for in scrapheaps and salvaged from Devon beaches.  Each truck was a hodgepodge of different bits of “rubbish” with long backstories, welded together:

Clocks truck – a 20 metre crane arm s the clock hand, this truck was made out of an old fire engine.  Its creators took inspiration from Isambard Brunel, Chaplin’s Modern Times, industrialisation and Steampunk Victoriana (a la Jules Verne);

Winter truck – Scottish thistles blow torched out of sheet steel and 200 exhaust pipes representing global warming made up the truck, surrounded by a twisted Dickensian garden with railings salvaged from Kensal Rise cemetery.

Clamposaurus – A hydraulic dinosaur, his body made of 25 BMW frames welded together, his teeth and head from agricultural machinery, and his tail was a slashed tractor tyre.

Grasshopper – this was made out of aeroplane parts: the back legs were a pair of glider fuselages, the wings were those of several light aircraft, and the head was made out of a Gazelle helicopter embedded with a trampoline.

Fish - An East German army truck rescued after the Cold War and debris from the Devon coastline were adorned with 600 graffiti-sprayed hub caps by 120 school children, selected from the Olympic host boroughs.

Steamship – A ship cobbled together out of old parchment maps, a bicycle chain for a bowsprit, a telescopic mast made out of an army radar system, and wrought iron salvaged from the burnt-out west pier in Brighton.

The Grasshopper c/o MSN News

The Closing Ceremony paid homage to the eccentricities of the Britain – we had crop circles ... the Monty Python-esque parade of Mad Max style vehicles ... the music and songs by Cold Play evocating the steampunk madness of the evening ...

... yet celebrating the achievements of any disabled performer in their ability to adapt, manipulate, meld, make-do ... and all the while achieve by moving inexorably towards their goal ...

Fish Truck c/o 02varvara


I applaud you – if this is what steampunk is .. then long may it last ... dreams are made of these tinkerings ...

Alex Cavanaugh's Genre Fest today .. 

TerryGilliam – Monty Python band member: his early life makes interesting reading .... 

TheTimes Newspaper ... the extracts used to describe the monster vehicles were taken from the 10th September 2012 paper

Steampunk c/o Wikipedia

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

24 comments:

Southpaw said...

WOW! Now that is cool. That fish truck is eye-catching.

Old Kitty said...

I love it - all of it!! Especially as all these fabulous sculptures were made of reclaimed, recycled materials!! Brilliant! Take care
x

Elise Fallson said...

I'm a big fan of steampunk, especially in fashion. It can be very dark but also very creative and artistic. Wish I could have seen the closing ceremony in person...Enjoyed your post as usual! (:

Birdie said...

Amazing! I would have loved to have seen this but none of my local TV stations had even one minute of the Paralympics! I was not pleased. Thank for showing a snippet here.

Annalisa Crawford said...

After only learning this summer what steampunk is, I was impressed with myself that I recognised it as such. I even said it out loud to Hubby who just looked confused :-)

Lynn said...

My hairdresser and his wife always have steampunk outfits at Halloween - I've never quite understood. This helps. :)

Inger said...

That fish truck! Amazing. This is the kind of post where one just runs out of words or can't think of anything else to say, except AMAZING! And I hope they made a film of it that they can show on BBC or BBC America. And, if so, that I would somehow be aware of it. Great job as usual, Hilary.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Thanks for defining the term, "Steampunk." I always wondered what it meant. My cousin makes some jewelry classified as steampunk.

Love that fish picture at the end!

Ciara said...

I WISH I could have seen that. I'm a huge Steampunk fan. Of course, I'm sure if you've seen my Neumarian Chronicles series, you'd know. :) It's kind of obvious.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Holly - I'm glad I could read about it .. so much going on in the Ceremony!

@ Old Kitty - the props were incredible and especially those incorporating humans into the mix .. it was crazy and fun to watch.

@ Elise - the best way and only way probably was to have been there to watch it - though obviously we had some incredible broadcast shots ..

@ Birdie - coverage of the Paralympics was abysmal in the States and Canada I'm afraid to say; NBC were criticised by Time magazine about their lack of interest/coverage ..

@ Annalisa - well you learnt before I realised! It's a bit like shouting out in University Challenge with the right answer - everyone jumps! Your hubby must have been surprised!! This might help him ...

@ Lynn - you can now surprise your hairdresser with your updated knowledge! The Wiki page gives the literary connections ... which certainly informed me.

@ Inger - I'd like to watch it in tiny snippets ... as there was SO MUCH going on .. it was hard to keep up - well I don't think I started! I gleaned info from the paper media having watched in staggered amazement as Steampunk went on around the ceremony.

I hope it comes out in the States - I think they must do something ... because all the ceremonies and the Games were spectacular ...

This was broadcast by Channel 4 (not the BBC) ... Delighted you enjoyed it ..

@ Susan - well I need to define it for myself! Steampunk seems to cover such a wide range of aspects ... I'm sure some of your cousin's jewellery is beautiful in its way ... I'm glad I found that fish picture ..

@ Ciara - yes I gathered Steampunk reigns supreme for you .. I have seen your Neumarian Chronicle series ... now I might understand more!

Great to see you all - I am slightly wiser about the Steampunk genere!

Cheers Hilary

Donna Hole said...

It is a highly creative genre. Those presentations were awesome. So much work to create. I'm with you Hil, I'm impressed with the behind the scenes talent, as well as with the overall end product.

.....dhole

Amanda Trought said...

The Closing Ceremony really did give us food for thought, it was so well executed, and the achievements made by so many men and women despite their disabilities was something to be very proud of, thanks for such an informing post. Blessings for the week, Amanda

rosaria williams said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the performance! I might have missed the relative connectivity of all that was presented; but, overall, it was a grand show!

Lenny Lee* said...

hi miss hilary! yikes! all those steampunky things are made up of junk. wow!how cool is that! i could like to see them for real. a bmw dinosaur! cool for sure! they showed some of those paralympic games on tv and it was soooo neat. hooray for those cool atheletes!
...hugs from lenny

Chuck said...

This is the second run in I have had with the Steampunk term and genre. This looks like it would have been fascinating to watch or experience firsthand. This was well presented Hilary...thanks for sharing, too cool.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Oh that's what steam punk is. I knew it had something to with fantasy and the Victorian period, but that was it.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Donna - it was certainly interesting to find out about the genre and 'understand' some more of its creations. Delighted to read your comment here .. impressive the ceremony certain was ..

@ Amanda - as an artist .. you probably could 'see' more than I could as to what was going on - I was just pleased to find out about the presentation a little more.

I'm sure everyone was extremely pleased with the Paralympics in so many ways .. we certainly won't forget the Games.

@ Rosaria - the Show as 'the Show' was pretty incredible - I was just glad to be able to understand something about it and the creativity behind it.

@ Lenny - I thought you might enjoy these wonderful creatures. Yup - all made out of junk, or even throw-aways!!) .. you're so right that it's great they're being reused! BMW dinosaur - amazing isn't it. Did you get to watch some of the Paralympic Games on tv .. that's wonderful to read.

So right Lenny, the athletes are so cool and hurrah for them .. lovely to see you here ..

@ Chuck - Many thanks .. and glad you enjoyed the write up - it was fascinating to see as a Show ..

@ Stina - well you knew more than me .. but now at least I've some idea!! Glad this helps your understanding as well ..

Thanks everyone .. lovely to see you all .. cheers Hilary

Julie said...

Wow, this is amazing! I didn't really know what steampunk was either, but this is fascinating and what an ingenious idea for the theme for the ceremonies. Love the fish truck! :)

nutschell said...

I loove steampunk so I really enjoyed this post! Love the pictures, though the one with the burning man on the bicycle was kinda scary :)

Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Julie - glad I've enlightened you somewhat! It's that vision .. to put all the pieces together .. the fish truck seems to be everyone's favourite!

@ Nutschell - that's great .. I had no idea what steam punk was, but I'm slightly more aware! Man on fiery bike .. was a tandem, with a pipe man on the back .. very clever I thought.

Cheers to the two of you .. Hilary

Linda said...

I'd never heard of steampunk, but as I'm a fan of recycling, I'm on board with this colorful art in motion. Thanks for sharing!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Linda .. I'd heard the word, but knew little else .. I like your description 'colourful art in motion' - sounds good to me!!

Cheers and have a good weekend -Hilary

juliet said...

This is extraordinary! Thank you for introducing me to steampunk - something I'd never heard of. You keep extending my horizons Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Julet - had to introduce myself first .. but you are right in saying we get extended - my horizons are broadening all the time ... each of my posts I try to stretch my parameters .. it makes posting them so interesting ..

Hope you're having a lovely weekend - cheers Hilary