Being personally invited to attend the Antipodean Steampunk Show was delightful unneccessarism. Delightful in that I had been looking forward to the Brisbane-premeiring gallery since it was announced in 2011; and unnecessary in that there was no way I would miss attending such a premier. Held in the Fortitude Valley, one of Brisbane’s art/alt-culture hubs, the stroll from the train station to the venue in full Professor von Explaino regalia saw barely a batted eye. I caught up with Antipodean Steampunk icon maduncle (Cliff Overton) at the door before perusing the artworks.
The variety is fantastic; from the wall of weapons constructed of found items, through two Steampunk movies playing on a loop, twisting past mannequins in post-apocalyptic and height-of-fashion variants, carefully not-drooling over intricately wrought fine jewellery pieces and finally an exciting examination of actual naval equipment donated by the Australian Maritime Museum – you have to do a number of circuits to take it all in. The number of items with “please do not touch” tickets is, not-surprisingly, large; but there remain a number of interactive displays you can wind a crank on or peer down a magnifying tube.
The exhibit itself was opened by the Minister of Education, Training and and Employment; and maduncle chose to improv his welcome, making it up as he went along, occasionally taking parts from other speeches to include. This gave a properly in-theme kick-off to the show. Attendees were a mix of the devoted and the bewildered, part of the fun of attending as the Professor meant explaining Steampunk to various people (something I delight in as you may have guessed), as well as meeting unknown Steampunkers and marveling over their personal contraptions and styles.
If you are planning to be in Brisbane sometime before the 15th of December 2012 you absolutely must include a trip to the show in your plans. If you are elsewhere in Queensland, have a look at their Facebook page as it plans to move around the state as well as northern New South Wales. Australia’s Steampunk spirit is on splendid display, and shouldn’t be missed. For further enticement, devour some pictures from the opening night.