Native Steampunk: The Path Without End
Finally fed up with the inability of words to capture my interpretation of Native steampunk, I went back to my origins and added a twist. What resulted was an experimental animation made out of imagery that has been in my dreams for a number of years.
I make jewelry such as chokers, necklaces, and earrings. This unfortunately dropped away in the mix of life (mamahood, work, dissertation). I just couldn’t justify spending the time on anything other than what I saw as absolute necessity, but as I grow, I’ve come to realize that these parts of life are the necessity. Without that elation of creation, my perception of life simply isn’t as beautiful as it can be. There are certain creative triggers that I can’t resist, including stories and music. I am thankful for these that have guided my personal breakthrough recently.
The Path Without End is a story that has been with me since childhood. It tells an Anishinaabe story of the Moon People, and namely, brings into play a mixed child (that is, Anishinaabe and Moon Person). These stories are not my own, but everyone’s, told and kept by our elders for generations.
Cris Derksen, a part Cree cellist, has several amazing tracks that make my mind spin off into other worlds. I ardently believe that much of her music fits the Native Steampunk aesthetic. She merges the cello with Native tones and builds layers using a loop station and effect pedals. It is raw and digital all at once.
Namely, Derksen’s track “Prosperity” kept bringing me back to The Path Without End. I couldn’t get over the visuals in my mind to try to adapt them to a short story. Words. English. It just doesn’t work. Working with photos of raw materials and my best friend Photoshop, I created an experimental animation that is raw and digital, one and the same.
The Path Without End ended up being a 05:55 experimental animation that took 1,376 JPG exports by hand. Okay, yes, I’m crazy, and yes, I realize there’s an easier way to animate than move layers pixel by pixel. Since I wasn’t working with body part movements for this one, it worked. I had absolute control over every element.
Hopefully it will be in festival distribution in the near future. Without a doubt, this is just the beginning.
- Beth Aileen Lameman