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The Gloriously Unrealistic Atompunk Mega City

Wow, it turns out that waiting a week in between Act releases is actually torturous for me as well as you. I WANT YOU TO SEE WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN.

But alas, wait we must. So in the meantime here’s a bit of fun and wonder inspired by and often blatantly and shamelessly taking from Dark Roasted Blend’s Retro-Future: Glorious Urbanism.

Nowdays, especially in the West, the idea of the megacity has lost its luster. The urban hell and environmental nightmare that goes along with it has been discarded in favor of more sustainable visions of future population clumps. But during much of the 20th city, retro future vision of wondrous mega cities abounded.

A quick note here as to the size of New Albion. I have made a point of never really saying just how big or small it is. We do know that it is a city state, as are most cities in the region of the continent it is on, but its size will remain undisclosed. Eventually artists will come along and portray New Albion (some even have) and i leave such visions open to interpretation.

“See that gleaming Metropolis on the horizon? – these majestic towers were something to aspire to, to dream about, to shape your life accordingly in an effort to reach it, and finally attain it as the ultimate reward… Such ideas were popular during the infant days of futurism in the 1920s, then in fantastic literature on both sides of the Atlantic during the Golden Age of Wonder in the 1930s, until finally, these grandiose visions fizzled out sometime in the 1980s together with the general decline of futurism.”

 

 

Atompunk megacity retro future city

Atompunk megacity retro future city

Atompunk megacity retro future city

 

Atompunk megacity retro future city

 

Atompunk megacity retro future city

 

Atompunk megacity retro future city

Many visions of the inevitable megacity saw it with wonder and optimism. It would be a place where every science miracle of the future would be contained, the edges of what the 20th century human mind could dream.

 

However, there were others who say a darker, gothic vision, like architectural draftsman Hugh Ferriss. “Through his moody chiaroscuro renderings of skyscrapers, he virtually invented the image of Gotham visitors came to the city to see and residents identified with so fondly. As Michael Mallow puts it: “By the mid-twenties, renderings by Ferriss had become almost de rigeur for successful competition projects; countless skyscrapers waited their turn to be bathed in the dark monumentality emanating from his drafting table. In these works a blasé department store appears as a giant lording over its block. Stodgy hotels cease to be stodgy hotels and become looming silhouettes emerging from the urban haze like shipwrecks. Ferriss went to grand new lengths in suppressing detail for mood, and clients loved it.””

hugh ferris Atompunk megacity retro future city

hugh ferris Atompunk megacity retro future city

hugh ferris Atompunk megacity retro future city

hugh ferris Atompunk megacity retro future city

hugh ferris Atompunk megacity retro future city

hugh ferris Atompunk megacity retro future city

hugh ferris Atompunk megacity retro future city

hugh ferris Atompunk megacity retro future city

hugh ferris Atompunk megacity retro future cityhugh ferris Atompunk megacity retro future city

 

Ferriss wasn’t alone. Artists such as William Robinson Leigh were coming out with these megacity visions as early as 1908, which would become enormously inspiring to both modernists and futurists.

william robinson leigh Atompunk megacity retro future city

hugh ferris Atompunk megacity retro future city

 

william robinson leigh Atompunk megacity retro future city

 

hugh ferris Atompunk megacity retro future city

 

King Champ Gillette’s 1894 proposal:

King Champ Gillette Atompunk megacity retro future city

 

European modernists like Charles-Edouard “Le Corbusier” Jeanneret and Ludwig Hilberseimer were revolutionaries, fascinated with large-scale schemes that would wipe away the old order and comprehensively reorganize cities for personal mobility via the automobile. The selling points were speed, efficiency, cleanliness and progress, a message that played especially well in America. A 1924 proposal:

Ludwig Hilberseimer, Hochhausstadt, 1924 Atompunk megacity retro future city

 

And let’s add a modern take on the theme from Ryan Bliss:

Ryan Bliss Atompunk megacity retro future city

But of course, it wasn’t just the West dreaming big. Especially in the atompunk era following WWII, the Soviets dreamed big of a glorious future full of megacities.

Soviet megacity Atompunk megacity retro future city

 

Soviet megacity Atompunk megacity retro future city

 

 

Soviet megacity Atompunk megacity retro future city

 

Soviet megacity Atompunk megacity retro future city

Soviet megacity Atompunk megacity retro future city

Soviet megacity Atompunk megacity retro future city

Soviet megacity Atompunk megacity retro future city

Soviet megacity Atompunk megacity retro future city

Soviet megacity Atompunk megacity retro future city

 

Yes, for a few shining decades the megacity of the future looked glorious, instead of the soul sucking, over populated, environmentally disastrous hell hole it would actually have been. The mega city encapsulates much of modernism in one fell swoop, with all its theoretically glory and realistic idiocy.

Atompunk megacity retro future city

Atompunk megacity retro future city

Atompunk megacity retro future city

Atompunk megacity retro future city

r5

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Welcome To Act 1 Of An Atompunk Opera

It is wisest to promote the new release of the 1st Act of An Atompunk Opera another day, so i am doing so, but after the link we’ll talk a hair.

If you haven’t heard, the 1st Act of An Atompunk Opera, The New Albion Guide To Analogue Consciousness is here! Listen to it! Buy it! Keep me and the singers alive! Every Tuesday another act will be released.

Okay. Now that that’s out of the way, i hope you are enjoying the first act.  There are a few things i was very specifically attempting to do with it.

First of all, since this is the final piece of a trilogy, the 1st act is designed as a play on numerous parallels and inversions of parallels to A Steampunk Opera. Should you be noticing any of them (and there’s a list of parallels and inversions) i assure you, they’re all quite intentional. I do not do this with the other acts, only this one, but i really wanted to begin the Trilogy closing by riffing and inverting the Trilogy opener.

This opera differs from the first two in that the entire opera carries a much, much greater emphasis on an unfolding plot. I’m not saying there’s no plot unfolding in the other two, i’m just saying that was really a major, prime even, consideration in the AO from the get go. Thus the 1st Act only goes so far and likes to dangle a lot of threads. Oh, it’ll pay off, don’t you worry.

So welcome to the ride. We’ve got a LONG way to go and the next installment is lots of high energy, so thanks for trying out my ride, i promise, i spent a year making my entire life’s mission that by the time this opera is all over, you will have said “Holy fuck” a number of times. Well, the holy fucking is coming, so stay tuned and thank you all for caring and supporting this trilogy. I love you all. We will discuss the future a little later, but rest assured, it’s on its way.

The New Albion Guide To Analogue Consciousness, An Atompunk Opera Paul Shapera

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Act 1 Of An Atompunk Opera Is Out Now!

Okay kids, here it is. Act 1 of An Atompunk Opera!

The remaining Acts (4 in total) will be released each Tues from here on in.

A few things:

1. Please bear with it. Think of this as a weekely series and this first episode is of course where we set up the pieces. A single act is only 20 something minutes and you may hate me when it suddenly ends. But i’m very curious to try out this format and curious what you think of it in the long run.

2. Don’t forget, your purchase will go straight to paying the singers, those delicious voices you hear who make the opera sound awesome and not like crap. They are literally what brings this thing to life. The poor dears need fed, BY ALL THAT’S HOLY PLEASE FEED THEM.

3. Posting links and tweets and talking about this online is how we have gotten here. It is THE reason there is now 3 of these instead of just 1. Thank you all for that. Please keep it up.

4. I love you all. I hope you enjoy.

The New Albion Guide To Analogue Consciousness, An Atompunk Opera Paul Shapera

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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John Lautner’s Atompunk Houses

Well kids, i’m off on a plane tomorrow to London to record the singers for The New Albion Guide To Analogue Consciousness, An Atompunk Opera, the final in the New Albion trilogy.

One of the hardest parts of this opera was figuring out what to fit in and what to leave out so that the thing doesn’t become overly long. As such i’ll tell you now, there may be a few questions you have at the end. I believe just about everything you need to know is in there (as usual i will provide lyrics) or easy enough to extrapolate, (and there’s no surreal 4th wall breaking this time) but i’m always happy to answer any questions since a couple points do require a hair of extrapolation. (There is a hidden plot point, but a crafty listener will catch where it is and figure out how to unlock it) I want to make clear, there is nothing in there that’s “up to you” in the sense that i don’t have an answer. I have answers to everything. If you ever want to know, just ask. (although obviously not until all 4 acts are released)

Let’s then take a post to show you the incredible space age architecture of John Lautner.

John Lautner (1911-1994) is a giant in architecture, and created numerous famous houses in southern California.

He was born in Michigan and at age 22 joined a Frank Lloyd Wright apprenticeship program. “I soon realized that i had little interest in formal drafting and avoided the Taliesin drafting room, preferring daily duties of “carpenter, plumber, farmer, cook and dishwasher, that is an apprentice, which I still believe is the real way to learn”

John Lautner Atompunk space age architecture

John Lautner Atompunk space age architecture

John Lautner Atompunk space age architecture

John Lautner Atompunk space age architecture

John Lautner Atompunk space age architecture

John Lautner Atompunk space age architecture

John Lautner Atompunk space age architecture

John Lautner Atompunk space age architecture

John Lautner Atompunk space age architecture

John Lautner Atompunk space age architecture

John Lautner Atompunk space age architecture

John Lautner Atompunk space age architecture

John Lautner Atompunk space age architecture

l14

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Russian Space Art

The Atompunk era is fascinatingly paralleled across much of the planet. As in the west, the soviet block went through a similar arc. The 1950s were prosperous and held the promise of a future without limits.  This led into an optimistic 1960s in which dreams of space were becoming real.. And of course, just like the in the west, over the course of the 1970s it crashed. There are different circumstances and reasons, but i still find an amazing assortment of parallels up until the 80s, and for me the 80s is the atompunk cut off.

I highly recommend the book Red Plenty by Francis Spufford. The book is historical fiction, the specific little stories are made up, but all the details are absolutely real and carefully presented. The book deals with the Soviet optimism of the 50s into the 60s and the details of how and why the dream of the planned economy rose, crested and crashed.

Red Plenty Francis Spufford

“20th-century magic called ‘the planned economy’, which was going to gush forth an abundance of good things that the penny-pinching lands of capitalism could never match. And just for a little while, in the heady years of the late 1950s, the magic seemed to be working.Red Plenty is about that moment in history, and how it came, and how it went away; about the brief era when, under the rash leadership of Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet Union looked forward to a future of rich communists and envious capitalists, when Moscow would out-glitter Manhattan, every Lada would be better engineered than a Porsche and sputniks would lead the way to the stars. And it’s about the scientists who did their genuinely brilliant best to make the dream come true”

You can buy the book here.

But that’s not why we’re here today. While we’re on the topic, let’s check out the soviet space art of Nikolai Kolchitsky.

In the 1950s and 60s Soviet artist Nikolai Kolchitsky was in his prolific heyday, creating visions of outer space for various magazines,  “Technique – Youth”, “Spark”, “Young technician”,  as well as a wealth of illustrated books, short stories, essays. While American pulp mags like Amazing stories featured art that created a sci fi vision for the mind of american youth, Nikolai Kolchitsky was one of the most important pop culture artists doing the same for Russian children dreaming of a future in space where worlds waited to be explored and mankind’s future lead.

Nikolai Kolchitsky died in 1980. Here are his atompunk visions:

Nikolai Kolchitsky russian space art

Nikolai Kolchitsky russian space art

Nikolai Kolchitsky russian space art

Nikolai Kolchitsky russian space art

Nikolai Kolchitsky russian space art

Nikolai Kolchitsky russian space art

Nikolai Kolchitsky russian space art

Nikolai Kolchitsky russian space art

Nikolai Kolchitsky russian space art

Nikolai Kolchitsky russian space art

Nikolai Kolchitsky russian space art

Nikolai Kolchitsky russian space art

Nikolai Kolchitsky russian space art

Nikolai Kolchitsky russian space art

n15

Nikolai Kolchitsky russian space art

Nikolai Kolchitsky russian space art

Nikolai Kolchitsky russian space art

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The Atompunk Opera Overture

So uh… well, here’s the Overture to the Atompunk Opera, at least as it stands now. I’ve only just stopped work on it after 2 furious days and have no doubt i may make corrections. The voice in particular is absolutely going to get an overhaul, but for one thing, it won’t even be my voice on the final album, it’ll be Kayleigh McKnight, and until then i will be exploring better fx tricks.

However, i quite like this, so while it’s a bit premature ( hell, in a couple hours when i go back to listen to it after the day is done i might end up making mad corrections, reuploading and yelling at myself for being such a brainless idiot to put it up without properly vetting it), never the less i’m going to go ahead and give a sneak peak.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Crazy 60s Interior Design

What is left to be said about the 60s? How wild and crazy a time was it? Let’s look at some decorated rooms from the 60s and find out for ourselves.

We start with what HAD to be the room that inspired Don Draper’s apartment:

crazy 60s atompunk design

crazy 60s atompunk design

crazy 60s atompunk design

crazy 60s atompunk design

crazy 60s atompunk design

crazy 60s atompunk design

crazy 60s atompunk design

crazy 60s atompunk design

crazy 60s atompunk design

crazy 60s atompunk design

crazy 60s atompunk design

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Barbarella

Barbarella

I suppose in the interest of all thing atompunk we should mention Barbarella.

Released in 1968 and starring a young Jane Fonda, Barbarella is… it’s insanely campy, and i mean insanely. It’s very sexually themed but i can’t quite tell if it thinks it’s being liberating about women’s sexuality. I think it DOES think it’s being all liberating, but i ain’t buying what it’s selling. Interestingly, it was directed by Fonda’s then husband  French film director husband Roger Vadim. 

If you’re at all famirliar with alternative comics of the time, you can’t miss that it has that flavor. Indeed, it is taken from a French comic Barbarella by Jean-Claude Forest.

barbarella comic

 

Barbarella comic

barbarella

 

As you can see, basically a science fiction heroine who is almost always in some state of undress, sexual post even when just hanging around some foreign planet and often times in a sexual liaison, roams the galaxy finding various fantastical villains and exploits to be erotically charged around.

First published in the French magazine V-Magazine in 1962 it soon became a bit of a hit amongst the French and Belgium comics scene. It created a few scandals for it’s sexually charged content (although there was no actually… you know…there were no x rated shtupping scenes explicitely shown). For her creator, the character did in fact embody his idea of the the modern emancipated woman in the era of sexual liberation.

It may be unfair of my to look back on that era with so much judgement, although i do have a hard time getting around the idea that the best way to create a new, emancipated female science fiction icon is to just concentrate on great stores with a great, deeply developed character. Occasionally you can throw some eroticism in, but when all she does is run around half naked, in uber sexual poses, and constantly in and out of sexual situations, all you’ve done is create a two dimensonal, masturbatory icon. But hell, maybe this is modern thinking and back then the guy was doing the best he could.

I’m not against super erotic comics based around sexy people and sex. I’ve read some awesome ones written by both genders. They’re usually quite funny, winking their tongue in cheek self awareness at you as opposed to misguiding earnestness. Hell, some, like like Fairies series… someone remind me the name, just gets flat out CRAZY with fiaries humping every kind of animal under the sun. But honestly, it’s hysterical, and i just don’t get the same annoyance i get with Barbarella.

Oh yeah! Bondage Fairies!

Oh yeah! Bondage Fairies!

I digress. (A habit of mine.)

SOOOOO, in 1968 they cast a young Jane Fonda, who ahd already had great success in 1967’s Barefoot in the Park with Robert Redford. (Everyone has seen this right? I mean it’s like this STAPLE play/movie. If you’re involved in theater you HAVE to have seen it. I’m under the impression that everyone who ever so much as goes near a stage is required to see it. it’s pretty damn good. Classic Neil Simon play.)

A year after Barbarella she made  They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? which won her an Oscar nomination. In between she made Barbarella. Maybe she was really into it. Maybe it was because her husband was really into it. Who knows? This is all 2 years before she got involved with the opposition to the Vietnam War (1970) and 4 years before the Hanoi Jane stuff which interestingly STILL pisses of people in the armed services today.

The premise of the insane campy film is, and i quote: “In an unspecified future (the video release states it is the year 40,000), Barbarella (Jane Fonda) is assigned by the President of Earth (Claude Dauphin) to retrieve Doctor Durand Durand (Milo O’Shea) from the Tau Ceti region. Durand Durand is the inventor of the Positronic Ray, a weapon. Earth is now a peaceful planet, and weapons are unheard of. Because Tau Ceti is an unknown region of space there is the potential for the weapon to fall into the wrong hands. Donning the first of many outfits, Barbarella sets out to find the missing scientist. She crashes on the 16th planet of Tau Ceti, on an icy plain.”

barbarella

The rest, is B movie history.

And a scene that is actually kind of cool:

No, i’m not gonna show the stupid Orgasmtron scene. You can YouTube it.

Anyway, there we go! Barbarella. Many like myself would LOOOOOVE to Mystery Science Theater 3000 do Barbarella, i mean it’s MADE for them, but alas it never happened, probably because they couldn’t get the rights.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Japanese Atompunk Manga Covers

Japanese manga is an international rage, although it really only started gaining a sizeable western following in the 90s and especially the 00s. Manga is of course japanese comic books for all intents and purposes, but much like american comics or Belgium comics each have a particular set of styles and tropes manga has its own particular styles and tropes which are vast, as it’s an enormous industry with a long history.

However far you wish to trace back manga (if you want to get really serious you’d go back to the 1800s) there is no question that modern manga owes an enormous milestone to the year 1959. In 1959 two giants of the manga industry were formed which during the atompunk years of the 60s and 70s would shape the face of manga ineligibly.

Shonen Magazine and Weekly Shonen Sunday were both formed in 1959. They featured numerous stories by numerous writers and artists who would go on to achieve legendary status. Many of the stories were episodic and could serialize for years (although up until 2000, 40 issues was the longest any any story ran).

For the record, the word shonen means “few years” and refers to a boy of school going age. In this the Shonen mags are of the same  tradition (though different culture) as those victorian era boys magazines which featuring wild adventure stories for boys that also grew into science ficiton stories as the 20th century progressed. Now of course manga is wildly read by girls, equally so i would say, and covers an enormous range of genres.

My job on this fine day is not to run through the series, characters or the artists who contributed to these magazines. What i wish is to feature the covers for these magazines which ran during the 1960s, because these covers are batshit awesome. They are atompunk on steroids as only the japanese could do.

japanese atompunk manga covers

japanese atompunk manga covers

japanese atompunk manga covers

japanese atompunk manga covers

japanese atompunk manga covers

japanese atompunk manga covers

japanese atompunk manga covers

japanese atompunk manga covers

japanese atompunk manga covers

japanese atompunk manga covers

japanese atompunk manga covers

japanese atompunk manga covers

japanese atompunk manga covers

japanese atompunk manga covers

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Underground Bunkers

With Atompunk comes the atomic age, and with the atomic age comes underground bunkers!

Today we will feature designs for modern, underground bunkers. Live out the end of the world in the bunker of your dreams. Hell, some of these are nicer than my house. Natural lighting might be a bit of an issue…

I think there are many tropes atompunk has to offer, from space exploration to “homes of the future” to surviving a holocaust. Well today, let’s look at how to survive a holocaust forever. Should you be lacking that special someone to survive the coming apocalypse there is actually an online site for you to find someone or even a group of someone’s to plan to spend Armageddon and even the post Armageddon repopulation with. It’s called Survivalist Singles.

underground bunkers

underground bunkers

underground bunkers

underground bunkers

underground bunkers

underground bunkers

underground bunkers

 

underground bunkers

underground bunkers

underground bunkers

underground bunkers

underground bunkers

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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