Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Oxford's Steampunk Exhibition

On the Costume Mercenary's meandering way to the rather distant and southern Bristol (I needed to be there at ten in the morning, so travelling the day before was a necessity), she stopped by Museum of the History of Science's steampunk exhibition in Oxford.

Suffice to say, it was utterly brilliant.

There are moments when it almost feels as though one has stepped sideways in time to an alternative world where history played out differently and the technological fantasy is indeed true, perhaps it's because the exhibition is housed in the Museum of the History of Science and placed alongside the beautiful steampunk pieces, such as the complete mechanical womb and the Anglo-Parisian Barnstormer, were clockwork bird scarers, intricate astrolabes and pieces from Babbage's Difference Engine from our own very real, very solid history. It was transporting.

It was almost strange, almost surreal to be seeing all the familiar names from the internet, including work from Datamancer (maker of the famous Steampunk Laptop) and Herr Döktor (the beautiful Celestial Sphere).

Incidentally, Oxford is also a beautiful city. The density of very large, very old, very pretty buildings over a really rather large area is almost to the point of overwhelming. I had thought that, coming from Durham, I'd well acclimatised to being around historical buildings, but I was rather reduced to state of squeeing and pointing with the occasional coherent word being pretty! said in an unnecessarily high-pitched voice.

More photos of the exhibition behind the cut.

Just a note, the photos seen here are the ones that turned out well. There were many beautiful things of which I  only have eye-wrenchingly blurry photos of.

Pachyderm Mask, by Tom Banwell

"Eye Pod" Audio Device, by Dr Grymm

The Anglo-Parisian Barmstormer, by Kris Kuksi

The Complete Mechanical Womb, by Molly "Porkshanks" Friedrich

Professor Maelstromme's Replacement Arm Mark II, 
Professor Maelstromme's Superior Ocular Replacement, 
Professor Maelstromme's Pan-Atmospheric Breathing Mask with Darwin Chamber Filter, 
by Amanda Scrivener and Thomas Willeford

Part of Charles Babbage's Difference Engine

Quartz Clock 6, by Eric Freitas

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