Streaming steam: crafting online retrofutures in Steampunk short film

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Building its present identity from the reimagined recollections of a past age of industry, the steampunk movement’s array of antiquated yet spectacular machines have become hallmarks of our fascination with technology’s history. In this article, I will trace the movement’s retrofuturistic sensibilities through a wave of short films and web series that set themselves within worlds that are constructed from anachronistic devices that belong to neither the past nor the present. Instead, these are texts that, whether constructed by amateur filmmakers, professionals – and a range of practices in-between – use their science fictional identities to disrupt the seemingly linear trajectory of our media’s historical progress. Through them, the aesthetics of nineteenth-century photographic techniques and special effects are reimagined through the lens of current streaming platforms, modern computer-generated imagery and a new breed of maker cultures who desire to conflate cutting-edge innovation with the first wave of invention and experimentation that breathed life into our visual media. Most significantly, however, by exploring the proliferation and popularization of neo-Victorian machinery within the vast array of short films that have been both distributed and produced through highly digitized practices, the steampunk genre will be used to examine representations of craftsmanship and “making” that have become embedded within contemporary popular culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-313
Number of pages18
JournalScience Fiction Film & Television
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Streaming steam: crafting online retrofutures in Steampunk short film'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this