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Brazilian Steampunk Redux: A Chat with Bruno Accioly

Jha pointed out this interview with Brazilian Steampunk (Steampunk activist?) Bruno Accioly.

Moreover, one of the issues that have been discussed in the steampunk communities I participate in is how steampunk should address the darker aspects of the Victorian era. Topics like slavery, colonialism, sexism, class divides, and the history of race have been brought up by steampunks as important issues to talk about. I have discussed with others how to appropriately express steampunk style without promoting oppressive ideas that people had during the Victorian era. Have these concerns been discussed in your communities as well?

This is a very important issue to me and to Brazilian authors and journalists. Certainly more important to us than to the general public who expect to be entertained instead of taught by the SteamPunk works.

On a long (and extensively edited) workshop, myself, the sci-fi author Fabio Fernandes and Gianpaolo Celli, who is responsible for the book “SteamPunk – Histórias de umPassado Extraordinário”, discussed this with other authors and the press. It was a major concern not to depict the Victorian Era in England and the XIX century in Brazil as an Utopian period. [Note from Ay-leen: Bruno linked the video of this workshop here].

There is a tendency to believe that time was actually the greatest time of all. In Brazil, “Belle Époque” (just like the French, but we call it “Belle Époque in Brazil”), so it is very clear where the “cameras” were pointed at. Sure, technology made great steps and science consolidated its credibility and influence upon our minds, but the social and cultural mindset then was borderline Dystopian in nature.

I think it would be a waste not to use it and depict it in a way that it would make a difference to the “reader” of a piece. I like to write not to criticise the period, but to use the Zeitgeist of that Era as an argument about the crudeness of the intolerant totalitarian essence and as a sarcastic way of criticizing today’s thoughts, philosophy and modusvivendi.

It is important to say that the author is not obligated to criticize, embed subtext propaganda or try and denounce anything, although it is a very engaged and difficult thing to do it properly. The thing is SteamPunk is a very rich genre that way and it offers a very prolific setting in terms of similarities to today’s thinking.

The amazement with new machines, crazy products that do not work properly, practices that could lead to the extinction of our race, moral relativism, and lack of ethics toward other human beings based on a set of dissimilar characteristics… SteamPunk is a blessing to the artist ready to kick some totalitarian butt!

Even though the Victorian Era and the XIX century wasn’t even nearly perfect, it is very important to Conselho SteamPunk to maintain a structure based on a set of principles some would describe as Utopian, without any leaders but filled with mutual admiration, without the need for bureaucracy but filled with selflessness generosity, without any excess of cautiousness towards others but filled with “Pronoia” the opposite of paranoia, the healthy delusion that other people are conspiring to help you succeed. – read the rest of the interview.

December 9, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

1 Comment

  1. It is an honor to be quoted here (and it was great to be described as a “SteamPunk Activist”) =)

    Thanks and please take a look at our websites and our social network http://www.steambook.com.br (it has an automatic translator to help out people from other countries).

    Every SteamPunk enthusiast should feel free to contact me or any other member of Conselho SteamPunk. It is always great to discuss these issues and share what we intend to build in Brazil.

    Comment by Bruno Accioly | December 23, 2009


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