Sunday, 7 January 2018

Pink Boy and Tom Girl, the world of fluid genders

When BJ, his great aunt and adopted mother, asks Jeffery, "What would you like to be when you grow up?", he thinks hard and says, "I think that I want to be a girl." BJ, her companion Sherrie and the boy Jeffery, are part of a short film on gender fluid children called "Pink Boy".

A still from the short film "Pink Guy" - Films on Gender fluidity

This post is about some short films on gender fluidity, about persons who are not sure about their genders. You can look at it as a kind of free film festival on gender fluidity - all the films mentioned here can be watched free on YouTube.

Gender fluidity - some concepts

Majority of children are born with male or female genitals. Most of the time, children born with male bodies think of themselves as male and most of children born with female bodies think of themselves as females.

However, sometimes, the bodies and feelings do not match. Thus, a child with male body may feel that he is a girl and a child with female body may feel that she is a boy. Often during childhood, such feelings can be fluid, in the sense that these feelings are not fixed, and they can change. For example, some children born as boys, who may have thought of themselves as girls for a certain period, as they grow up, finally decide that they prefer to be boys, while others decide that they are girls. Some can even decide that they would prefer to be some times girls and some times boys or none of the two.

These children (persons) who are not sure about their gender are called "gender fluid".

We human beings are incredibly complex and some of us do not fit into any label. My explanations about gender fluidity are only a simplified version of this complex reality.

Short film 1: Pink Boy

It is short film (15 minutes, 2016) directed by Eric Rockey. It looks at the challenges faced by a lesbian couple in raising up a gender-fluid boy. The film is told mostly from the point of view of BJ, a masculine lesbian woman. Jefferey was the son of her niece and she had adopted him when he was 2 months old.

BJ explains her initial difficulties in accepting that Jeffery wanted to dress like a princess and to play with barbie dolls. Then she decides to provide acceptance and support to Jeffery, in whatever decisions he is going to make about his gender identity. Aware that he would have to face bullies, discrimination and violence, she decides to enroll him in a martial arts training so that he can defend himself.

You can watch Pink Boy on the Vanity Fair YouTube channel and you can also check the film website for more information about the film and its background. An interview on the Vanity Fair website explains that Jeffery has now become Jesse.

Short film 2: Tom Girl

"Tom Girl" (14 minutes, 2016) is by director Jeremy Asher Lynch. It is about a seven year old boy called Jake. It has his mother and father, as well as some other persons from his life, including a psychologist, talking about what it means to have a gender fluid child and how important it is to accept the child as he is. Jake himself is incredibly clear about what this means for him.

You can watch Tom Girl on YouTube.

In the film, at one point, Jake's mother says that probably there are many other children like Jake, but we as society force them into specific gender roles.

I think that our process of guiding our children towards specific gender roles starts very early and in unconscious ways. When a one year old son is taken to a shop and if he points to a doll or a pink cap, his mother or father, just shake their heads and instead nudge him to another kind of toy - that boy is already learning that he is not supposed to like dolls or pink caps.

However, having said that, I do not think that all stereotypical ideas about male and female preferences are only a result of cultural influences, at least some of them of them are in-born.

Short film 3: It is a stereotypical day

The 4 minutes long film (2015) by Alex Harrison can be a good introduction to understanding your feelings about some of the issues surrounding gender fluidity.

The film is about 3 mornings. On the first morning, the adolescent hero wakes up, goes out and meets some people on the way to school. On the next day, he sees the same persons but some switch has been flipped and people are behaving contrary to their expected gender roles. On the third day ... you can watch it on YouTube to find out the surprise ending.

Short film 4: I am Oliver

The 4 minutes long film by Moustache Geek (2015) is about being a transgender teenager. The film looks at the life of an adolescent facing problems in school, her desire to be boy and the sympathy s/he gets from a classmate. All these things are shown through the role played by social networks and internet in our lives. The film is a personal testimony.

Short film 5: I am a boy

The 11 minutes long film by Just Sammy (2016) is about a transgender boy and his journey to accept himself. The film starts with Sammy dressing up as a girl, putting make-up, and not feeling happy about it. She does not want to be a girl. She considers cutting the vein in her wrist and committing suicide. Her family has not been supportive and has asked her to not to talk about her desire to be a boy.

Instead, Sammy decides that he is a boy and to live like a boy. He uses an elastic wrap around his breasts to hide them and puts a sock in his pants to camouflage genitals. He talks about his daily struggles with his peers, and his fears and desires about his gender identity. This film is also a personal testimony.

Short film 6: Trans guy problems

The 10 minutes long film by Isaac Eli (2017) is a wonderful film to get a glimpse into the lives of transgender boys/men (persons born as girls who feel that they are male). It is also a personal testimony.

It is a simple film - just Isaac sitting in front of the camera and talking about his problems, like what it means for him to have monthly periods; the difficulties of using public bathrooms and how he wishes for gender-neutral bathrooms (which can be used both by men and women); the difficulties of going to a swimming pool and not being able to go open chested like other boys; the love/hate relationship with binders to hide his breasts; the endless waiting for everything from top-surgery (to remove breasts) to the treatment with testosterone; and his disgust when someone talks to him as if he is a girl or is talked about with a female pronoun.

I liked this video very much. Compared to the other films, this film made me think of so many different ways our genders influence everything we do in life and how that can create challenges for persons like Isaac. I also liked it because Isaac has a very nice dog and I love dogs!


I hope that you will watch the films I have included in this list. If you do, please make constructive and supportive comments under each of these videos. To be an adolescent is tough, to be an adolescent who does not fit and conform, can be heart-breakingly tough.

Persons with gender fluidity issues have high rates of depression, suicides, alcoholism and substance abuse. Often they face rejections from their natural and adopted families. They also face a lot of emotional, physical and sexual violence. If you are a parent or a relative or a friend of a person who does not conform to his/her gender, be accepting, be loving and be supportive. They will have to fight the world for a life with dignity, at least make sure that they don't have to fight their families as well.

You can also read more about this issue. For example, the Gender Spectrum website has lot of good advice and information for parents and families on this subject.

GLBT fashion show, NE Pride Parade, Guwahati, Assam, India - Image by Sunil Deepak

All the films mentioned in this post are from Europe and USA. I looked for similar films from India, Asia and Africa but did not find any. Perhaps there are but they are in other languages! If you are aware of any good short films on this theme that are available on YouTube, please tell about them in the comments below.

For a long long time, in the developing world it was difficult to get any information about trans issues. Now, thankfully technology is changing the situation and hopefully more persons will be able to share personal testimonies, find strength in sharing their stories and experiences with others and build supportive virtual communities that can one day spill over in the real world.


Monday, 1 January 2018

The year that was - 2017 in 10 pictures

For the new year, I want to remember through pictures my most beautiful moments of 2017. So join me in discovering my most exciting and unforgettable memories of the year gone by.

Venice carnival, Italy - Images by Sunil Deepak

Actually the first and most important memory of 2017 is the birth of my grand daughter in June 2017. However, I am a little superstitious that way and I don't want to put her picture here. I am sharing my memories regarding the places I visited during the year.

Moments from my Japan trip

Finally in 2017 I visited Japan for the first time. I had had opportunities for visiting Japan in the past, but I had to decline them, so I am glad that this year I could visit it. I didn't go to the well known cities like Tokyo or Kyoto, instead my visit was in the south-west part of the country.

The first image is of the atomic dome from Hiroshima, memory of the atom bomb explosion that had devastated this city during the second world war. I remember standing near this building, feeling my heart palpitate with emotions.

A-dome, Hiroshima, Japan - Images by Sunil Deepak

The second image is from the Shinto temple of Ako, remembering the legend of the 47 samurais who became ronin to avenge the honour of their lord. Keanu Reeves had made the film 47 Ronin on this legend.

47 Ronin, Ako temple, Japan - Images by Sunil Deepak

The third and last image of my Japan visit is of a traditional drum dance in Osafune. I can say that the Japan visit gave me an opportunity to admire nature, a journey in history and legends, and a glimpse of art and culture in Japan.

Traditional drummers, Osafune, Japan - Images by Sunil Deepak

Moments from my India visit

In 2017 I also visited Kerala as a tourist for the first time. I had been to Kochi in the past, but it was always for work and without any possibility of going around and visiting places.

This time, I was able to spend some days in Fort Kochi and even visit the Kochi Biennale.

Fort Kochi, Kerala, India - Images by Sunil Deepak

I was also able to visit Munnar and Thrissur and could go for a small backwaters tour. I wanted to go to Kannur but could not manage it this time.

Munnar tea gardens, Kerala, India - Images by Sunil Deepak

Passing the days of Holi in Gurgaon with my sister's family was a joy. It was also an opportunity to enjoy the rich winter calendar of events in Delhi including some talks organised by Sahapedia and a Holi Kathak dance programme by students of Shovana Narayan.

Shovana Narayan's group Kathak dance, India - Images by Sunil Deepak

Moments from my life in Italy

I live in Schio in the north-east of Italy. Venice is just one hour train journey away from my home. This year I was able to go back to the carnival in Venice. I chose a day when they didn't have any famous events in the carnival so I could avoid the big crowds, which make me feel sick. The picture from Venice carnival is at the top of this post.

I was back in Venice for visiting the Venice Biennale. It was huge and I visited only the Biennale buildings in the garden, thinking that I will go back to look at the Arsenal part of the exhibits on another day. Unfortunately I could not manage to go back and thus missed out on the Arsenal part, still I am glad that I could see works of so many different artists that I liked.

Venice biennale, Italy - Images by Sunil Deepak

The next image is of Thai dancers from the Orient Festival in Padua. It was an exiciting visit, an opportunity to see dances, art, theatre and taste food from different Asian countries.

Thai dancers, Orient festival, Padova, Italy - Images by Sunil Deepak

The last image of this post is from a motorcycle rally in Schio. It was my first time in a motorcycle rally and though I was only a spectator, I found it very exciting.

Motorcycle rally, Schio, Italy - Images by Sunil Deepak


I hope that you have enjoyed some of the highlights from my memories of the year gone by. I know that I have not managed to put all the significant things in the ten images presented above. Like the birth of my grand daughter and the visit of an old friend from Assam.

2017 was also a good year for my blog writings. In the past, I was dividing my blog-writing time between 4 blogs including 1 in Hindi and 2 in Italian. Now I am focusing only on this English blog, also because it has most readers.  Started 12 years ago, hopefully next year it will reach a total of 1 million readers. This year I wrote 60 posts, mostly about travels and arts. Thanks to all those who come here to read my posts.

2017 has been a good year to me and to my family. I hope that 2018 will also be a good year. I am keeping my fingers crossed. Best wishes for the new year 2018 to all of you.


Saturday, 30 December 2017

Discovering John Latham's art at Venice Biennale

Books, both as physical as well as conceptual objects, can be a part of an art installation, and can express ideas about different things including memory and knowledge. A Zambia born British artist, John Latham (1921-2006) is known for his art installations in which books played a central role. In Venice Biennale this year, different installations of Latham were brought together in a special exhibition.

Art of John Latham at Venice Biennale, Italy - Images by Sunil Deepak

This post is about the art of John Latham, as well as a few other art works related to books from Venice Biennale 2017.

Art and books

Books have been around us for a relatively short time but they have deeply affected and changed the way we think about and understand the world. Art was a precursor of writing and became an integral part of the books, as can be seen in a medieval manuscript in the image below (from the medieval art museum, Bologna, Italy).

Art in a medieval manuscript, Medieval museum, Bologna, Italy - Images by Sunil Deepak

Democratisation of reading books occurred mainly in the 20th century with increases in literacy. Thus books were seen as repositories of knowledge, memories, histories and cultures, leading to the consolidation of languages and loss of "dialects". In the 21st century, technological advances have completed this circle and we seem to be going back towards a world dominated by visuals (video along with virtual realities and artificial intelligence), as primary medium of human expression.

It is possible that in the human future, with increasing spread of videos, reading books may again become a marginal activity, no longer necessary for learning or communication. But for us old timers, books still continue to be an important part of our communication. 

John Latham's art installations

Latham became known for his use of spray-paint as his primary art-medium in the 1950s. In the 1960s, he started using books in collage art works. For these collages, he tore books into pieces, cut them into different shapes, burnt parts of them, creating specific objects which represented shapes and colours, as well as our ideas and feelings about role of books in the society.

Art of John Latham at Venice Biennale, Italy - Images by Sunil Deepak

Together with other artists, he created events of "Performance Art", during which they brought together art, creativity and the sensibility of theater performances.

Art of John Latham at Venice Biennale, Italy - Images by Sunil Deepak

His use of books and related materials in the art works was called "Skoob" (Books written backwards). From creating collages, he moved to creating book-structures such as towers, which were then burnt during performances, creating a transitory art which could evoke deep feelings in the audience because of the way they perceived the sacredness of books.

Art of John Latham at Venice Biennale, Italy - Images by Sunil Deepak

In 1966, Latham invited a group of art students to chew the pages of an art book taken from the library. Later all those chewed pages were put into a phial and returned to the library. This exercise was supposed to express the concept of "destruction is an equal and opposite process of creation". Such "performance art" created his image as a firebrand revolutionary artist. Latham's influence can be seen from the 2016 album of Pink Floyd, which had a previously unreleased song titled "John Latham".

Art of John Latham at Venice Biennale, Italy - Images by Sunil Deepak

Among all the works of Latham presented in the Venice Biennale, I personally liked the round ball like sculptures hanging from the roof, in which books or parts of books were placed/collated in different ways. They made me think of books and knowledge as a new born bird, breaking out of the egg and growing up as an independent and interconnected idea.

Art of John Latham at Venice Biennale, Italy - Images by Sunil Deepak

Among Latham's ideas, I find intriguing those on the "flat time" and moving away from "space-based art" to a "time-based art".

Other book-based art works

Near the John Latham exhibition, around the Venice Biennale library there were some other art works in which books played a central role. For example, there were different paintings by the Chinese artist Liu Ye such as "Books on books" shown in the image below.

Art of Liu Ye at Venice Biennale, Italy - Images by Sunil Deepak

Then there were the works of Romanian artist Ciprian Muresan, who had used all the art works from a book to create his collage of sketches on a single sheet. His work shown below has a collage of sketches from all the paintings from a book on Tretyakov Gallery.

Art of Ciprian Muresan at Venice Biennale, Italy - Images by Sunil Deepak

Finally there was the installation "Al Saadi's diaries" by Abdullah Al Saadi from United Arab Emirates. This installation had 39 metal boxes, each containing a canvas with drawings, notes, pictures.

Art of Abdullah Al Saadi at Venice Biennale, Italy - Images by Sunil Deepak


Venice Biennale had a lot of stimulating and interesting art works. Among them was the John Latham exhibition. I have a long-standing interest in different uses of books in art and art-installations, thus it was wonderful to discover his works. It was a wonderful opportunity to see the different works of John Latham in one place.


Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Around the world with 80 cows

Cows are considered sacred by a large number of Indians. They are a popular theme in sculptures and a source of meat in other parts of the world. In this post I am bringing together some of my favourite images of cows and cow-sculptures from different corners of the world.

Let me start this post with a beautiful green cow with black dots from the 2015 World Expo in Milan. The popularity of cow-sculptures can be understood from the "Cows in Parade" initiative - it was one of the biggest public art events ever organised and between 1999 till 2015, has been held in about 15 countries so far.

In this post, I am devoting more space to cows in India because it is here that we have such a complex relationship with them and because they evoke so much passions among Indians unlike any other animal.

Cows in India

As in almost every aspect of life, India has multiple and contradictory approaches to the cows and their sacredness. On one hand, people offer food and prayers to them, build Gaushalas (cow homes) for them, and put up their statues in the temples. The beliefs about the sacredness of cows, though more predominant among Hindus,  are shared in different degrees between the different Indic religions. On other other hand, ill nourished cows can be seen looking for food in the garbage dumps, eating plastic bags and sitting abandoned in the middle of the roads while the traffic passes around them. My images of cows from India bring together some of these contradictions.

Let me start with some images from the north-east of India. The first image is from Ambubashi festival in Guwahati. One of the Sadhavis near the Kamakhaya temple asked me to click her picture with the Gaumata (mother cow).

The next two beautiful images of the cow sculptures are from the entrance of the Shukreshwar temple on the banks of Brahmaputra in Guwahati. These include a statue of the mythical Kamdhenu cow.

The fourth image is about the worship of a young cow during the Rongali Bihu celebration in Assam.

The fifth image is from Bellary district in Karnataka, showing a cattle market, especially for the sale of cows.

The next image is also from north Karnataka, showing a centre for protection of indigenous varieties of Indian cows.  It includes services for sterilizing and making medicines from the cow urine according to the Ayurveda traditions.

The next Indian image is actually from the V.A. museum in London, showing an antique sculpture of the mythical Kamdhenu from south India. Kamdhenu is the cow of the gods, which can fulfill all the wishes of those who pray to it.

The next image is from a Garbage dump in Boragaon (Assam) showing cows searching for food.

The final image from India is from Nagaland, showing the cow/bull horns decorating the entrance of a house. Different parts of India, especially in the north-east and in Kerala, also have wide-spread traditions of eating cow meat.

Cows from other parts of the world

While in India the cow sculptures are almost always linked with Hindu temples, in the rest of the world, cows do not have a sacred significance. Instead, as mentioned earlier about the "Cow in Parade" initiative, cow sculptures are mainly about art. Let me start this part with a cow sculpture from Brazil, which has a huge cow meat-eating culture. This beautiful sculpture is from Goiania in central part of the country.

The next cow sculpture is from Vienna in Austria. It is designed like a bar for drinking beer.

The next two images of multi-coloured cows were clicked in the World Expo 2015 in Milan (Italy), but they are a part of the "Cows in Parade" initiative.

The final two images of cows are from the Novegno mountain near our home in Schio in north-east of Italy, showing two varieties of local cows placidly grazing in the green mountain pastures. Under the pressure of globalisation, specific high milk-yielding species of cows are replacing the indigenous species of cows all around the world. In this scenario, some groups are fighting to conserve their indigenous varieties of cows.


I hope you have enjoyed this world tour of the cows and cow-sculptures. These were not exactly 80 cows (there are around 40-45 cows in these images) but I liked the title so much that I had to use it.

When I thought of writing this post, I did not realise that I had so many pictures of cows from different parts of the world. In the end, I had to leave out many of those images, but I had fun selecting the images and writing it!

Let me conclude this post with an image of blue cow sculpture with the European flag from the World Expo in Milan.


Saturday, 23 December 2017

The adventures of the Indian Tintin, Jagga Jasoos

Like every year-end, magazines are coming up with the lists of major things that happened in 2017. Among these, are the articles about the disappointing films of the year. One such article wrote, "Big Stars like Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif delivered a dud like Jagga Jasoos, a criminal waste of resources that should have never been allowed." I feel bad that Jagga Jasoos did not do well at the box office, but do not agree with this assessment. I think that it was one of the best movies of 2017.

This post is about why I loved "Jagga Jasoos" and why I am going to watch it again many times in future.

Good films and bad box office

It has happened many times in the past that a good movie is not appreciated by people when it comes out. Some times, the film even gets good reviews from the critics but people stay away it. Yet, with time people come to recognise that the film was good and thus, sometimes the box-office failures turns into a cult films.

"Jagga Jasoos" got mixed reviews, but people didn't like it. Some critics loved its magical ambiance, its music and its whimsical approach. But would it ever become a cult film? I hope so!

BTW, the last time that I had really loved a movie, which had received bad reviews and had a worse box-office run, was "Jhoom barabar Jhoom". After years, it remains one of my favourites, but I have to say that it was never "rediscovered" and did not become a cult movie.

Jagga Jasoos story

The film is about an orphan boy Jagga (Ranbir Kapoor), who is adopted by a man he calls Tuti Futti (Saswata Chatterjee) and then left in a Boarding school in Manipur. Jagga's only contact with his adopted father is an annual video-cassette with his birthday greetings. In the school, teenager Jagga is known for his observation and deduction skills and helps to solve murder mysteries - first the mystery of the clock-tower and then the mystery of the giant wheel.

A mix-up of his birthday video-cassette with another cassette exposing an international arms smuggler called Bashir Alexander, alerts him to the danger to his adopted father's life. He asks the help of Shruti (Katrina Kaif), a journalist whom he had helped while solving the mystery number 2. Together, they go to Africa, manage to save his father and to expose the arms smuggler.

In terms of Jagga's characterisation and ambiance, there is a clear inspiration from the Tintin comics.

Why I liked the film

It could have been a regular action film but instead the director Anurag Basu has opted for an animation film kind of approach, with a teenage hero who is still studying in school. All the events in the film unfold in vivid colours, often with a painting-like effect, with an occasional present-past-back-to-the-present swing. The boy-hero has some serious stammer, so he hardly has any dialogues but has plenty of songs (great music by Pritam).

The film has a rich canvass, full of small details, which you may miss in the first viewing. Apart from the saturated colours, especially in the shades of green, the film has some of the most unusual locations including a Kayan tribe village from Myanmar, an underground river flowing in a cave and the relatively unknown Manipur. It even has a bit of Assamese Bihu dance. It also has a rich presence of African animals including a a puma, some zebras & giraffes, some marmots and a wild escape riding on the ostriches. Visually, I found it difficult to take my eyes off the screen.

As usual, Ranbir Kapoor is wonderful and he does manage to look like a slightly overgrown schoolboy. Even Katrina is ok (except may be in the song "Daru pi kar chale gaye", where she is bad). However it is the all the other supporting actors, from Saswat Chatterjee (father) and Rajatava Dutta (Police inspector) to Sayani Gupta (classmate and friend) and Saurabh Shukla (ex-policeman and conspirator) to the bit-part players like the nurses and doctors in the hospital, everyone is good. Sarvajeet Tiwari playing the young Jagga has the right mix of vulnerability and curiosity, and is perfect for the role.

The film's opening scene with a pied-piper like figure leading a row of artists, shooting a film in Purulia, shown in a painting like effect, sums up the film - in spite of the Jasoos (spy) in its name, it is not a thriller, but a musical dipped in magic realism, to be enjoyed with a child's wide-eyed innocence. It did touch the child inside me and that is why I liked it so much.

Though the film has Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif, there is no real romance between them. Their relationship is more like a school boy's crush on his favourite school teacher, which was inevitable since Jagga is shown studying in a school while Shruti is an affirmed journalist.

Jagga's logic in involving Shruti in the search for his father - "She is so clumsy and unlucky but every time she has bad luck, it brings good luck to me" - is at best, contorted logic. The film is full of such contorted and yet exquisite moments and ideas.

Things I would change in the film

The film should have been shorter by about 40-50 minutes.

The film moves from one episode to another in quick bursts, without really any time to feel the thrills. For example the lovely scene of the Kayan village, followed by an encounter with arms smugglers, is resolved in a one minute long escape down an amazing waterfall gushing out from a hill. Or the scene of the car chase with the shooter who keeps on missing the targets, ends before you understand what is happening. So many scenes are brief and terminate abruptly. A little longer build-up and follow-through of scenes, would have been better. So how could they reduce the film's duration?

The film is so beautiful visually, that I think that if I was in Basu's place, even I would have had difficulties in deciding which scenes to cut from the movie. Still a slightly lesser number of events with longer and more emotion-filled conclusions would have helped in creating a better connect with audience.


I think that Jagga Jasoos will be among my favourite films - films that I rewatch every now and then.

If you didn't watch this movie when it was released, if you have the capacity to feel a child's wonder, and if you like reading comics, then my advice is - do get hold of its DVD and watch it! Better still, watch it with kids.

Note: The images used in this post are from the publicity material of the film.


Monday, 18 December 2017

The wonderful world of Steam-Punk

Steam-Punk is a fashion, literature and art movement inspired from the innovations in the 18th century which led to the industrial revolution. Recently I saw some steam-punk enthusiasts dressed in their costumes.

It was my introduction to the steam-punk movement - I had never heard of them before. All the images in this post are of the persons from the Italian "Steam-Punk Nord-est" association.

Costumes and make-believe worlds

People have always loved dressing up in costumes, for example, in the Venice carnival.

The Punk style with striking costumes and colourful spiked hair styles made their appearance in the 1970s. In the 1990s, imaginary worlds of science fiction and fantasy, led to different movements like cyber-punk and diesel-punk. For example, during the 1990s, while living in Bologna (Italy), I came across groups of young persons, living as homeless urban vagabonds, with long matted hair and dogs. They were known as Punkabestia (beast-punk). The Steam-Punk movement also started in those years.

In more recent years, role-play games and fantasy worlds have become popular and are called Cosplay. I love the colourful Cosplay costumes.

Steam-Punk Philosophy

Steam-Punk ideas were influenced by writers like Jules Verne and H. G. Wells. Scientific advances made in the 18th century such as the steam-ship and steam-engines play an important role in Steam-Punk.

The term "steam-punk" originated in the late 1980s as a variant of "cyber-punk". Science-fiction writers of Steam-Punk, imagined alternative worlds based on coal and steam power. For example, American writer Paul di Filippo wrote a trilogy of steam-punk novellas in 1995.

Steam Punk is a retro-futurism - a retro (old) technology imagined as a future. It can mix digital technology with handmade art. For example, look at the amazing old rusty-looking digital camera used by the Steam-Punk enthusiast in the image below.

Steam-Punk Costumes

The steam-punk brings together modern costumes and some elements from Victorian era such as corsets, gowns and petticoats for the women, and waistcoats, long coats, top hats and bowler hats for the men.

The costumes are accompanied by accessories such as old airplane goggles, parasols, stylish guns and sling bows.

Many well known fashion brands such as Prada, Versace and Dior have come up with clothes inspired by Steam-Punk. However, the real steam-punk enthusiasts invest a lot of resources and personal imagination in creating their costumes. For example, check the beautifully made complex hats worn by the two persons in the image below!

Steam-Punk Nord-Est Association

The Steam Punk association of the north-east of Italy, whose members are featured in this post, came to Schio, where I live, during a recent cultural festival called the British Day. Among the group, they even had a look-alike queen Victoria (in the image below).

The members of this association design and wear steam-punk costumes and show them off during the different cultural festivals in the region. They also organise symposiums to present their "steam-punk" inventions and creativity.


As our societies become more developed and as we have more free time, I think that movements like steam-punk will become even more common. They are a way of having fun. They are also a way of organising smaller communities around a common-interest, to escape from the anonymity of the modern urban life.

For me, it was an opportunity to learn about their striking and colourful world. That day, my favourite costume was a photographer with an ancient looking camera (in the image below) though I am not sure if it worked!.

Using your fantasy, if you could create an imaginary world based in your own cultural ethos and history, what kind of worlds would you like to imagine?

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