Clockwork Crow

Last night a friend gave me a catalog page showing a striking tapestry called Clockwork Crow.  The catalog describes it thus:  “It’s like an Audubon print – steampunk style!  Geared, spring-legged and feathered in steel, this retro-tech corvine raises a squawk from everyone who sees him.”  You can see him at the Pyramid Collection online.

This proves to be quite thought-provoking.  For one thing, Audubon’s prints date back to the mid-Victorian era and fit right in with the Victorian-give-or-take ambiance of steampunk.  There was a Victorian affinity for natural history;  nature still felt like an undiscovered country.  The crow part of Clockwork Crow is a sepia-toned, carefully detailed, and rather stifffly posed bird.  Definitely evokes Audubon.

At the same time, I don’t like the idea of steampunk cyborgs any more than than slick high-tech ones.  For me, as for a lot of us, the gloss is long since off the idea of cyborging nature to make it better, faster, cooler, or whatever other technological conceit.   A creature with gears, springs and steel grafted on is no more attractive than one augmented by polymers and computer chips.

On the other hand….  If ever a crow were to get into steampunk garb – and a crow would:  they’re that smart, curious, playful and contrarian – why, this one is marvelous and elegant.  Complete with a metal bill-mask the better to preen steel feathers!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *