Abstract and Keywords
Retrofuturism can be defined as an ambivalent fascination for a future that never came to pass. But, by engaging the popular strain of Futurism that thrived from the late nineteenth century through the 1970s, the term is usually applied to an array of pop-culture ephemera from the early to mid-twentieth century, from robot toys to shark-finned hovercrafts, pulp magazine covers to architectural utopias. When the term “retrofuturism” was coined in the 1980s, it was believed to reflect changing ideas of progress; recently, however, the “steampunk” movement has emerged as a newer revision of the modern past and its engagement with the future. Steampunk rehabilitates with mock seriousness old-fashioned technoscientific ideas. Recently, steampunk has mutated to become a popular subcultural expression, but is often identified as one more form of retrofuturist style. Yet, unlike the latter movement, steampunk forces us to reconsider the roots and historical import of the digital.
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