Holly Gonzalez | September 20th, 2017
Decopunk is a derivative of dieselpunk, with a few qualities setting it apart. It falls under the definition of 'Ottensian' dieselpunk, the more 'utopian' side of dieselpunk. The optimistic attitudes of the early twentieth-century shine here, specifically between the 1920s to early 1950s. It was a time of celebration, hope for a bright and glorious future, technology viewed as the savior of humanity rather than its downfall, jazz and swing music, dancing, glamorous cinema, and the aspiration that even a nobody could become great in spite of the wars and economic depression of the era. Art Deco, Streamline Moderne, Bauhaus, Cubism, and Surrealism all emerged during this time. A sense of progress, efficiency, and opportunity were modeled in the geometric designs and abstract aesthetics of architecture, fashion, and industry. Above all, decopunk is about style. Everything is bright, bigger than life, and up-in-your-face fun-- even when dark forces threaten the utopian dream. The shadowy side of decopunk often includes film noir and expressionist elements. Anti-heroes, larger than life villains, classic horror and occult themes, paranormal anomalies, and criminal underbellies still lurk beneath the glistening palisades and chromed edifices.
From astonishingadventures.com: "In an interview at CoyoteCon, steampunk author Sara M. Harvey made the distinctions "...shinier than DieselPunk, more like DecoPunk." and "DieselPunk is a gritty version of Steampunk set in the 1920s-1950s. The big war eras, specifically. DecoPunk is the sleek, shiny very Art Deco version; same time period, but everything is chrome!"
The earliest examples of decopunk can be seen in silent films and classic science fiction. Groundbreaking films like Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis' and Cecil B. Demille's 'Madame Satan' thrilled audiences with their spectacular sets, costumes, and concepts. Comic books also paved the way with greats such as 'Flash Gordon', 'Buck Rogers', 'The Rocketeer', and 'Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow'.
Modern audiences continue to enjoy the brilliance of the Art Deco era and the dream of a bright tomorrow through adaptations and reboots of vintage favorites. Art, television, cinema, video games, comics, and novels convey the grandiose visions of yesterday through contemporary eyes. Games like 'Bioshock Infinite', the buoyant music of neo-swing and electro-swing bands like Caravan Palace and Squirrel Nut Zippers, and the modern remakes of films like 'Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow' carry the chromed torch well, and they've paved the way for this exciting--yet still obscure--sub-genre to shimmy its way into hearts and lives today.
As the 2020's draw near, the appeal of decopunk and its endless possibilities will surely roar into the coming decades.
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