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Steampunk and PSI

Steampunk and PSI

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Published by lbp
A short article about the concept of Past Future Imagism, a term coined by Adrian Ionita in the pages of Egophobia.
The article has also a Romanian translation and a translation in French by Gabriela Merchie.

article published in www.egophobia.ro/
A short article about the concept of Past Future Imagism, a term coined by Adrian Ionita in the pages of Egophobia.
The article has also a Romanian translation and a translation in French by Gabriela Merchie.

article published in www.egophobia.ro/

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Published by: lbp on Jan 12, 2009
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06/17/2009

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Steampunk and Past-Future-Imagism
by Adrian Ioniţă
 During an interview I had with
about Dr. Evermore’s
, the contraption designed to propel a gigantic egg in the air, I recalledan event which took place about a year ago when the “Studio Museum in Harlem”presented thePhilosophy of Time Travelan installation made by several artists from Los Angeles. The contraption, envisionsConstantin Brâncuşi's
 Endless Column
” as if it had been launched like a missile from its home in Târgu–Jiu, Romania, crossed the Atlantic,and crashed through the roof of the Studio Museum’s exhibition space in Harlem. Nocustom fees or taxes.©2007 The Philosophy of Time TravelThe installation could have been better fitted for a display in Central Park, New York, oron the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago, where in 1956, the Romanian artist intendedto erect a 400-meter tall stainless-steel skyscraper as an axis mundi and "one of the wonders of the world". Beyond the intention of the artists, the
 Philosophy of TimeTravel” 
, given its subject, the grandiose vision and impact on our imagination,epitomizes a perfect example of PFI.
 
Past–Future-Imagism seems to be the right term to describe this installation whichotherwise could fall into any other alternative artistic genre including Steampunk. Suchan association may raise some eyebrows, a reason good enough to travel in the lofts of my mind around the history of object representation in art.In 1926 the photographer Edward Steichen imported to United States,Bird in Space, asculpture created by Brâncuşi in Paris. The custom officials of the time taxed the shiny  bronze sculpture as a piece of manufactured kitchen utensil, ordaining the controversy tothe famous “
 Brâncuşi vs. United States
” trial. In their defense, The Customs Courtinvoked a 1916 decision according to which sculptures are distinguished, as artwork only if are imitations of natural objects. Brâncuşi won the trial and marked through his victory a shift in our perception about the boundaries of artistic representation in art.Even though, his series of mysterious birds and abstract sculptures goes back in time asfar as 1908, it was his friend Marchel Duchamp, who in 1917 confronted us directly andprovocatively with the more challenging idea of accepting a found object as art. Henamed them
"tout fait”,
or
 
 
in English. One of his most cited works by criticsis Fountain”, a porcelain urinal submitted in 1917 to the Society of Independent Artistsexhibit from New York.I received recently a message from Radu Stern, the director of education at the Muséed'Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland, which amazed me and deepened my research aboutpast-future-imagism and Steampunk. Radu pointed my direction to a materialpublished by Art & Academe Vol. 10, No. 1 (Fall 1997) under the long title “MarcelDuchamp's Impossible Bed and Other "Not" Readymade Objects: A Possible Route of Influence From Art To Science”. (ImpossibleBed ) The article written by Rhonda Roland Shearer, the wife of late Stephen Jay Gould is adetective investigation behind Duchamp’s provocative objects. According to her, manof the readymades done by Duchamp, including his “ Fountain” andRoue de bicyclette(Bicycle Wheel, 1913/1964) are not found objects. Duchamp signed his urinal with thename Mutt, the name of an existing company at his time, but Rhonda Roland Shearercould not find any model in the Mutt catalog to fit exactly the details of the urinal, raising the suspicion that he did not “find” his readymades, but actually constructed them
dal capo al fine
.In other words, this is as if today a steampunk artist is constructing the simulacra of anobject that looks so convincingly real as a found object, that will make us to believe thatit is just a simple mumbo-jumbo of screws and gears, a mutant of cannibalized fleamarket finds, artistically assembled as a contraption, when in fact it is an object created by traditional means. This late discovery just shows us one more time, how deceivingcan be our perception about the artistic object, and encourages us to find Steampunk roots beyond the efforts of  
not to mention
 who opened our eyelids of awareness about this phenomenon.In his description of Dr. Evermore,
who always made things and signed them with false states from eighteen hundreds, and the objects, as you looked at them, looked likeit could be that old, but then also, they looked too futuristic, producing steam punkexpressions you don’t quiet know if are hundred years in the future or in the past, or acombination of both
. “, Johnny Payphone sees the magic around Steampunk, not only asa nostalgia or fascination for the past, but also as a voyage produced in the deepest

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