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Title [sv]
Urverk, mässing och korsetter: Politik och drömmar i steampunkkulturer
Title [en]
Clockwork, Corsets, and Brass: The Politics and Dreams of Steampunk Cultures
Abstract [sv]
Steampunk är en estetisk teknologisk rörelse som inbegriper science fiction, konst och en livfull subkultur. På senare tid har steampunk porträtterats i New York Times, The Guardian och på MTV, Lady Gaga använder steampunkelement i videon Alejandro, och i oktober 2009 öppnade utställningen Steampunk Art and Design på Museum of the History of Science i Oxford, vilket blev den populäraste utställningen i museets historia.Steampunk kännetecknas av retrofuturistiska, neoviktorianska drömmar om vad som kunde ha hänt om 1800-talets ångdrivna teknologier hade utvecklats annorlunda. Steampunkare är hårdvaruhackers som vill ge tekniken tillbaka till folket, kritiska till hur användare stängs ute från samtida digitalteknologi. Steampunkens kostymer blandar stormhattar och korsetter med mässingsgoggles och elaborerade urverkskonstruktioner. I ett samhälle med stor tillit till (digital)teknisk utveckling rymmer steampunk viktiga motberättelser.Syftet med projektet Urverk, mässing och korsetter är att utforska de politiska dimensionerna i steampunk som subkultur, framför allt utifrån kopplingarna mellan kropp, teknologi och materialitet. Projektet kombinerar feministisk teori med teknik- och vetenskapsstudier och använder etnografiska metoder för att med utgångspunkt i den svenska steampunkscenen studera dess deltagare och kreatörer, online liksom offline. Vad innebär en steampunkattityd till teknik? Och vad finns det för förbindelser mellan steampunk, politik och genus?
Abstract [en]
Steampunk is an aesthetic technological movement, incorporating science fiction, art, engineering, and a vibrant 21st century counterculture. It is characterized by a retro-futuristic envisioning of alternative pasts and futures in which the steam-powered technologies of the Victorian era came to develop quite differently. Steampunks are hardware hackers with a punk Do-It-Yourself ethos, reclaiming technology for the masses. Their costumes mix top hats and corsets with brass and elaborate clockwork constructions. The project aims to critically investigate the political and theoretical implications of steampunk counterculture, and in particular focus on its ways of re-imagining the relationships between technology, materiality and embodiment. It combines feminist theory and science and technology studies and uses ethnographic methods to study the steampunk scene (Sweden is the point of departure), online as well as offline. How are corporeal differences, such as gender, sexuality and ethnicity, imagined and embodied in steampunk countercultures? And how do particular technologies and modes of embodiment make and shape the participatory practices of steampunk? Steampunk is a playful yet decidedly political response to the production and consumption of digital media technologies. The ways in which we imagine technologies matter in a society with a strong belief in technological progress. This project brings the power of re-imagination and critical humanities perspectives to technological cultures and technological development.
Publications (9 of 9) Show all publications
Sundén, J. (2016). Glitch, genus, tillfälligt avbrott: Femininitet som trasighetens teknologi. Lambda Nordica (1-2), 23-45
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Glitch, genus, tillfälligt avbrott: Femininitet som trasighetens teknologi
2016 (Swedish)In: Lambda Nordica, ISSN 1100-2573, E-ISSN 2001-7286, no 1-2, p. 23-45Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Technologies always implicate their own failures, breakdowns, and glitches. The purpose of this article is to develop an understanding of gender in general – and femininity in particular – as something fundamentally technological, and, as such, broken. Drawing on the technological undercurrent in current posthumanist feminist theory, arguing for a re-introduction of technologies in the midst of feminist posthumanist critique, the author puts into play a vocabulary of malfunctioning, broken, vulnerable technologies of gender. In particular, the term “glitch” is put to use to account for machinic failures in gender within the digital domain. By using glitch as a way of theorizing gender, the article is a dual contribution to digital media studies and feminist theory in a technological vein. Glitch is the spinning wheel on the computer screen, the delay between a command given and its execution. Etymologically, glitch (possibly) derives from the Yiddish word glitsh, meaning a “slippery place” or “a slip.” Glitch signals the slipperiness of something or someone off balance and a loss of control. It usually refers to a sudden unexpected event, a surge of current or an illegitimate signal that breaks the flow of energy, information, and affect. Glitch is, fundamentally, a struggle with binary code. Gender is a similar struggle to cope with binaries, with a loss of binaries, and about what happens when the vulnerability of the system is revealed. On this side of glitch, the tendency is toward hesitation and anticipation, irritation and annoyance, as well as pain and anxiety in the face of technologies and bodies that skip, crash, or get stuck. The default mode of gender is technological failure, and cis-gender normativity – what the author calls gender “high fidelity” – an unobtainable ideal of impossible perfection. If to glitch is to slip, to stutter, to stumble, gender high fidelity is to slip by unnoticed. In contrast to the notion of cis-gender normativity as a desire to cover or remove “noise,” to clear the channel, glitch is that which infiltrate, make dirty, and ultimately put pressure on the norms and ideals that structure gender as pure, clear, cold, binary code. In this sense, glitch is also about a perceived beauty in crashing and skipping, holding an intriguing critical, aesthetic, activist potential. In the hands of glitch artists, circuit breakers, and gamers, but also queers, and trans-performers, glitch becomes a celebration of the beauty of malfunction and gender-technological fragility.

Keywords
brokenness, digital media technologies, femininity, gender, glitch, posthumanist feminist theory, somatechnics
National Category
Gender Studies Media Studies Cultural Studies
Research subject
Critical and Cultural Theory
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-31227 (URN)
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P11-0091:1
Available from: 2016-11-25 Created: 2016-11-25 Last updated: 2022-07-13Bibliographically approved
Sundén, J. (2015). Clockwork Corsets: Pressed Against the Past. International journal of cultural studies, 18(3), 379-383
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Clockwork Corsets: Pressed Against the Past
2015 (English)In: International journal of cultural studies, ISSN 1367-8779, E-ISSN 1460-356X, Vol. 18, no 3, p. 379-383Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

For a feminist scholar of technology, contemporary steampunk cultures incorporate several interesting elements. They embrace playful ways of relating to technology. They contain thrifty Do-It-Yourself strategies and ethics of recycling, linking the crafting of sexually specific bodies to imaginative time-play. They involve an intermingling of technological extensions with modes of embodiment and costuming. The corset is an emblematic Victorian, industrial technology in steampunk costuming, altering bodies and affects as well as aesthetics and politics. But how far can white, Victorian, middle-class, imperialist, corseted femininity be ‘punked’, twisted, modified, or transformed? And how much do these transpositions in and through time get caught up in a machinery of repetition rather than revision? Or are there ways of thinking the old and the new differently altogether?

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2015
Keywords
corsets, femininity, feminist theory, steampunk cultures, temporality
National Category
Gender Studies
Research subject
Critical and Cultural Theory
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-21483 (URN)10.1177/1367877913513697 (DOI)000353213400012 ()2-s2.0-84930396622 (Scopus ID)946/42/2011 (Local ID)946/42/2011 (Archive number)946/42/2011 (OAI)
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P11-0091:1
Available from: 2014-01-21 Created: 2014-01-21 Last updated: 2019-08-29Bibliographically approved
Sundén, J. (2015). On trans-, glitch and gender as machinery of failure. First Monday, 20(4), Article ID 5895.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On trans-, glitch and gender as machinery of failure
2015 (English)In: First Monday, E-ISSN 1396-0466, Vol. 20, no 4, article id 5895Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper develops an understanding of gender as something fundamentally technological, and as such broken. Drawing on the technological undercurrent in current posthumanist feminist theory, it puts into play a vocabulary of malfunctioning, broken, vulnerable technologies, and in particular uses the term ‘glitch’ to account for machinic failures in gender within the digital domain. As an intriguing example of the technologies of (trans)gender, the core example consists of the social media presence and public transition of Isabella Bunny Bennett — a musical performer and a member of the U.S.-based band Steam Powered Giraffe. Drawing on how glitch is understood as an accidental error and a critical potential in aesthetic practices, the article is a contribution to what recently has been coined ‘glitch feminism.’

Keywords
digital media studies, gender, glitch, posthumanist feminist theory, technology, transgender studies
National Category
Gender Studies Media Studies Cultural Studies
Research subject
Critical and Cultural Theory
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-27403 (URN)10.5210/fm.v20i4.5895 (DOI)2-s2.0-84928686530 (Scopus ID)946/42/2011 (Local ID)946/42/2011 (Archive number)946/42/2011 (OAI)
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P11-0091:1
Available from: 2015-05-08 Created: 2015-05-08 Last updated: 2022-05-10Bibliographically approved
Sundén, J. (2015). Technologies of Feeling: Affect between the Analog and the Digital. In: Ken Hillis, Susanna Paasonen, and Michael Petit (Ed.), Networked Affect: (pp. 135-150). Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Technologies of Feeling: Affect between the Analog and the Digital
2015 (English)In: Networked Affect / [ed] Ken Hillis, Susanna Paasonen, and Michael Petit, Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2015, p. 135-150Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In the midst of the affective networks of contemporary digital cultures, something seemingly of the opposite order is taking shape. It is a culture that contrasts speed with slowness, displaces the new with the old and the used, and replaces supposedly immaterial streams of data with highly material, tactile technologies, materials and fabrics. This chapter turns to steampunk cultures as compelling examples of a contemporary affective investment in the analog, coupled with intense digital connectivity. Drawing on affect theory in a neo-materialist vein, the author formulates a critique of Brian Massumi’s notion of the superiority of the analog and suggests that steampunk, rather than being understood as analog nostalgia, is more aptly understood in terms of the transdigital. The term transdigital accounts for analog passions that are shaped through the digital in ways that concretely activate, but also move across the borders of, or beyond the digital. Steampunk, rather than merely being a return to a bygone era, is a re-consideration, or transing, of the (digital) present. Within this chapter, steampunk is used as an especially intriguing example of a broader tendency toward transdigital modes of using and sensing media in contemporary media landscapes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2015
Keywords
affect, analog media, digital media studies, embodiment, steampunk cultures, the transdigital
National Category
Media Studies Cultural Studies
Research subject
Critical and Cultural Theory
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-28796 (URN)946/42/2011 (Local ID)9780262028646 (ISBN)946/42/2011 (Archive number)946/42/2011 (OAI)
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P11-0091:1
Available from: 2015-11-25 Created: 2015-11-25 Last updated: 2019-08-29Bibliographically approved
Sundén, J. (2015). Temporalities of Transition: Trans- temporal Femininity in a Human Musical Automaton. Somatechnics, 5(2), 197-216
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Temporalities of Transition: Trans- temporal Femininity in a Human Musical Automaton
2015 (English)In: Somatechnics, ISSN 2044-0138, E-ISSN 2044-0146, Vol. 5, no 2, p. 197-216Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article takes as its point of departure the social media presence of a human musical automaton called Rabbit. As part of the US-based band Steam Powered Giraffe, Rabbit is performed by Bunny Bennett, who recently came out as a transgender woman. As a result of this shift, Rabbit is being transformed from a male automaton into a transgender female robot. The news of the transformation hit like a bomb in the emotionally invested fan base. The story of the transitioning robot is an intimate coming together of technologies, imagination, and transgender embodiment. It is a story that deserves scholarly attention for two reasons: This case offers ways of re-casting the discussion in transgender studies within a post-humanist framework of somatechnics. Secondly, it is a case which foregrounds an understanding of gender as a question of time. In focusing on transition as a continuous, open-ended process, gender is primarily understood as a temporal form which cuts or vibrates through the body in highly material, embodied ways. The domain of queer temporality is rather densely theorised, but what about trans- temporality? If queer temporality first and foremost deals with sexuality and time, what would it mean to shift the focus to gender? Drawing on Gilles Deleuze on time, this article is a contribution to the field of transgender studies on the question of trans- temporality in a technological vein.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015
Keywords
Deleuze, femininity, feminist theory, online fandom, social media, technology, transgender studies, trans-temporality
National Category
Gender Studies
Research subject
Critical and Cultural Theory
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-28607 (URN)10.3366/soma.2015.0161 (DOI)000364643300007 ()946/42/2011 (Local ID)946/42/2011 (Archive number)946/42/2011 (OAI)
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P11-0091:1
Available from: 2015-10-20 Created: 2015-10-20 Last updated: 2019-08-29Bibliographically approved
Sundén, J. (2014). Steampunk Practices: Time, Tactility, and a Racial Politics of Touch. Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology (5)
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Steampunk Practices: Time, Tactility, and a Racial Politics of Touch
2014 (English)In: Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology, E-ISSN 2325-0496, no 5Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Fembot Collective, 2014
Keywords
femininity, feminist theory, race, steampunk, tactility, temporality, touch
National Category
Gender Studies Cultural Studies Media Studies
Research subject
Critical and Cultural Theory
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-25018 (URN)10.7264/N3BP0128 (DOI)946/42/2011 (Local ID)946/42/2011 (Archive number)946/42/2011 (OAI)
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P11-0091: 1
Available from: 2014-10-15 Created: 2014-10-15 Last updated: 2024-05-06Bibliographically approved
Sundén, J. (2013). Corporeal Anachronisms: Notes on Affect, Relationality, and Power in Steampunk. Somatechnics, 3(2), 369-386
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Corporeal Anachronisms: Notes on Affect, Relationality, and Power in Steampunk
2013 (English)In: Somatechnics, ISSN 2044-0138, E-ISSN 2044-0146, Vol. 3, no 2, p. 369-386Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Steampunk is an aesthetic technological movement incorporating science fiction, art, engineering, and a vibrant 21st century Do-It-Yourself counterculture. This article explores the feminist potentials of ‘thinking with’ steampunk as a playful, affective and decidedly political response to the present technological condition. It starts out by navigating the field of affect theory with a Deleuzian reading of Baruch Spinoza on affect, to then engage in the affective renderings of the relations, rhythms, and power of a soma-technology central to steampunks as well as their Victorian predecessors: the corset. The purpose of the article is (at least) threefold: first, it sets out to complicate the notion of the corset as either oppressive or liberating by a move from signification to affect. Secondly, it aims to put a feminist spin on Spinoza, by offering what Moira Gatens (2000) calls a micropolitical feminism of the in-betweens of subjects (or bodies). The argument, thus, takes seriously the seeming lack of distinction in Spinoza between nature and artifice, which opens up possibilities of exploring the affective relations and the in-betweens of human and nonhuman bodies. Finally, and as a result of this interest in the affective relationality of human and nonhuman bodies, the article contributes to the discussion of ‘somatechnics’ (Sullivan and Murray 2009) by proposing an intimate relationship between somatechnics and affect.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Edinburgh University Press, 2013
Keywords
Affect, Deleuze, somatechnics, steampunk, Spinoza
National Category
Gender Studies
Research subject
Critical and Cultural Theory
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-20131 (URN)10.3366/soma.2013.0103 (DOI)946/42/2011 (Local ID)946/42/2011 (Archive number)946/42/2011 (OAI)
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P11-0091:1
Available from: 2013-11-06 Created: 2013-11-06 Last updated: 2019-08-29Bibliographically approved
Dahl, U. & Sundén, J. (2013). Guest Editors’ Introduction: Somatechnical Figurations. Somatechnics, 3(2), 225-232
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Guest Editors’ Introduction: Somatechnical Figurations
2013 (English)In: Somatechnics, ISSN 2044-0138, E-ISSN 2044-0146, Vol. 3, no 2, p. 225-232Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Edinburgh University Press, 2013
National Category
Gender Studies
Research subject
Critical and Cultural Theory
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-20130 (URN)10.3366/soma.2013.0095 (DOI)946/42/2011 (Local ID)946/42/2011 (Archive number)946/42/2011 (OAI)
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P11-0091:1
Available from: 2013-11-06 Created: 2013-11-06 Last updated: 2019-08-29Bibliographically approved
Sundén, J. (2012). Ångpunkens politik. In: Erling Bjurström, Martin Fredriksson, Ulf OIsson och Ann Werner (Ed.), Senmoderna reflexioner: Festskrift till Johan Fornäs (pp. 91-99). Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ångpunkens politik
2012 (English)In: Senmoderna reflexioner: Festskrift till Johan Fornäs / [ed] Erling Bjurström, Martin Fredriksson, Ulf OIsson och Ann Werner, Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2012, p. 91-99Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [sv]

Steampunk – eller vad man på svenska ibland kallar för ångpunk – kan sägas vara en estetisk teknologisk rörelse som inbegriper science fiction, konst, ingenjörskonst och en livfull subkultur. Den kännetecknas av retrofuturistiska drömmar om vad som kunde ha hänt om 1800-talets ångdrivna, mekaniska teknologier hade fått ett annat spelrum. Dess retrofuturism är en anakronism i form av medvetna kronologiska misstag, en inkonsekvent tidslighet som felplacerar personer, händelser, objekt (i det här fallet främst teknologier). Det kan sägas handla om ett fantasins omskapande av det förgångna med hjälp av nutidens teknologiska sensibilitet och kunskap. 

Den här texten följer några centrala teman inom ångpunken i skärningspunkten mellan teknologi, politik och estetik och organiseras i tre delar. Den första delen fokuserar på det första ledet i begreppet ångpunk, alltså ånga, och söker skissera på vilka sätt rörelsen inspireras och drivs av kraften hos maskiner från en svunnen tid. Den andra delen syftar till att ringa in vad som kan sägas vara ångpunkens punketos i termer av samhällskritik, tekniksyn och motståndsstrategier. Den tredje delen kretsar slutligen kring vad som skulle kunna benämnas ångpunkens kroppsanakronismer. Diskussionen koncentreras främst till de betydelseförskjutningar som uppstår då korsetter och urverksmekanik möter en viktoriansk genuslogik för 2000-talet.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2012
Keywords
DIY, aesthetics, gender, cultural studies, Neo-Victorian, politics, steampunk, subcultures, technologies, DIY, estetik, genus, kulturstudier, neo-viktoriansk, politik, steampunk, subkulturer, teknologier
National Category
Cultural Studies Media Studies Gender Studies
Research subject
Critical and Cultural Theory
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-17205 (URN)946/42/2011 (Local ID)978-91-7519-945-0 (ISBN)946/42/2011 (Archive number)946/42/2011 (OAI)
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P11-0091:1
Available from: 2012-10-16 Created: 2012-10-16 Last updated: 2019-08-29Bibliographically approved
Principal InvestigatorSundén, Jenny
Coordinating organisation
Södertörn University
Funder
Period
2012-01-01 - 2014-12-31
National Category
History of Ideas
Identifiers
DiVA, id: project:1707Project, id: P11-0091:1_RJ

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