Steampunk Hands Around the World: Nané Wapash [english version]

Daniela is a Theatrical Design student. She’s 23 years old and has worked with us doing makeup for some of our characters, her awesome work can be seen here
She has a keen eye that is always looking for something on the floor or anywhere to use in her designs. She’s currently working on the development of a steampunk video game and the crafting of some writing quills, one of which was kindly donated to Ucronias.
Nané, as she is more widely known, is always surprising us with her creations and the unique use of different materials, this is why we want you to know a bit more about her.

Ucronias: What is your vision of Steampunk in Chile?
Nané: In general, it is interesting to observe how a single phenomenon has different variations, tones and flavors depending on the place where it is developed. Regarding in particular the steampunk in Chile, I find interesting the direct linkages that are made with its own history; a clear example is graphic novel 1899 (U: a novel about an alternate version of the Guerra del Pacífico), also, the mental exercise of try to fit characters as the Huaso or the Mapuche, or even fantasize about a big machine that replaces the Fenix capsule that rescued the 33 miners of the San Jose mine.
On the other hand, is nice to see the effect steampunk on the persons interested in it, first of all, the fact that many of them start to rescue their own story, gathering old heirlooms, photographs, family keepsakes; or collecting antiques and even junk to create new things. Even though I think there are still discrepancies about what is steampunk, it is good to see the different artistic manifestations that begin to gestate.

U: What are your inspirations?
N: I like many things about steampunk, the fact that there are as many definitions as there are colors, I fell like it allows to experiment all kinds of things and generate endless wonders. In general, I like more the fantastic and romantic side of steampunk, I like to mix it with magic, mix technology with nature; I tend to prefer mechanical works more than technologic, for example, the marionettes of Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler, or the kinetic sculptures of Theo Jansesn, the power to give life to a creation, as was the idea of inventors when they created automatons.

U: What is your relationship with the steampunk community at the international level? Do you think that the steampunk in Chile is different than in the rest of the world?
N: Honestly, I don’t look at the particular work of each country, I tend to only give a general look, anyway, from what I’ve seen, I can tell that there is indeed a difference, each one is bearer of an idiosyncrasy that cannot be ignored; besides the geography, the fact that, for example, in Chile there are handcrafts made of copper instead of bronze like in other places, the strong influence of mining and naval concepts determines our fictional characters, quite different from the heavily industrialized vision as can be seen in other cultures. In fact, we can even talk about differences inside Chile: in the southern regions, there is a stronger connection with nature, which yields a more magical steampunk, while on the other hand, on the capital city there is a stronger relation with night life, so we can find a lot characters in a bar. In the end, I can conclude that even when Steampunk can be seen as a global phenomenon, if you look carefully, you can see all the differences and tints that make this whole thing very interesting.

U: From the point of view of your field, how do you think that the artistic part steampunk is developed in our local scene?
N: I have the impression that even in the national scene, there is not much steampunk influence, even though I’ve seen some works that have incorporated some of its elements. I suppose that the problem is that the concept itself is not totally understood yet, for example, some of my classmates have made projects completely steampunk, but when I remarked that, they answered that they didn’t know the term; in the end, it motivated them to research more referents following the concepts, broadening their vision.
Nowadays, we can see more stuff related to the classical works of Jules Verne (very soon, there will be a season of Journey to the Center of Earth), or realistic plays based on the victorian era and posterior periods, like Ibsen’s. Even though we cannot yet see a completely steampunk play (unless it’s from a foreign company, like La Machine or La Fura dels Baus), I think that we will soon start to see some, because there are many companies in their production stages, and given the current trend to recicle everything, they end up with creations with a remarked anachronic and retrofuturistic look; this, mixed with andean and southamerican influences, results in very pictoresque and wonderful stuff.

U: Are you currently working in a project or do you plan to start one soon?
N: I recently worked in the elaboration of different quills, to write and draw. I’m currently working in the creation of a role playing video game. I also have a project to create a pair of wings that move with pulleys, but it’s currently in stand by. Lately I’ve been thinking in something bigger; fascinated by the Expédition Végétale that recently visited Chile, I’m eager to create a machine, even though I know that it is impossible for me achieve the scale of that exhibition, I want to make one that at least holds one person.

U: Have you worked or do you plan to work in a group? Do you gain something (in creative terms) by belonging to a steampunk community?
N: Yes. For the time being, it has been small groups, anyway, the game that I talked about requires the story of everyone that wants to participate, so it can be seen as if everyone is working on it.
The truth is, I cannot say for certain if belonging to a groups helps me at the creative level, I think it helps me more on a technical level, there is people that knows a lot and when they show their projects I notice that there are certain mechanisms that may be useful for my own projects, so I ask them how they did it and then I evaluate if it could really work for me.

U: Outside of the steampunk context, does steampunk influences other aspects of your life?
N: Of course, there is a lot of curricular work that I have made in that style (mainly character design for plays), besides that, I think that, together with many people of the group, I’m guilty of having Diogenes syndrome, I’m always trying to recycle and accumulate enough material just in case someday my brain gets any spark of inspiration.
I also have a preference for handmade and customized objects, hopefully done by myself; of course I’m against consumerism and the “pastiche man”, I try to give meaning to my possessions, even ornaments, giving them a personality or a story, like the idea of a living machine (as in The Lost Thing)… but with everything, hahaha. I don’t know if this is really an steampunk characteristic, maybe it’s more of a romantic thing, but I assume that the term contains many aptitudes so I allow myself to tell you all these stuff.


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