[music playing] JOEY MARSOCCI: The world of steampunk right now is growing.
It's hit the tipping point.
It's in the mainstream.
DAVID BRUCE: It's imagining an alternative direction that the universe took.
It's kind of Victorian, but yet you have these futuristic steam-powered contraptions.
JENNINE WILLETT: Art installation and movement and performance all get sort of thrown together.
So that we're actually not just creating a world that in our minds.
But we're really just creating that world.
And then we live in it.
And then the art comes out of it.
JOEY MARSOCCI: The key element of steampunk is that it was a world that never happened.
The Industrial Revolution took over.
We forgot about how to make things with our hands.
Where steampunk comes in is that it went off into an alternate timeline where steam power is still mixed with electrical Tesla power.
And we can make bigger and better things.
But they're still beautiful.
They're still smart.
That's the style I've always drawn in, and I've always been attracted to.
I have an appreciation of our history and how things were built.
And I try to stay true to that.
Finding these antique pieces and refurbishing them into other things-- I've always done that.
If I find a piece and it can't be fixed and built back into what it was, then why don't I repurpose it into something new that is just as beautiful?
And you can do that with steampunk.
[music playing] DAVID BRUCE: I went to a friend of mine's house.
And he showed me these things that he'd been making out of scrap metal and just things he'd found lying around.
And he told me that this was steampunk.
There was a few connections which brought me into writing a piece about it.
Firstly, the instruments-- French horn and bassoon and things like that.
They all have this complicated plumbing which looks very much like steampunk design.
He bases the steampunk concept on these instruments-- the contrabassoon.
Which is a large bass bassoon, basically, that kind of has all these crazy metal valves and huge tubing.
And when you think about putting that in one of these steampunk scenarios, it really kind of fits the bill.
DAVID BRUCE: Above all, I'm really trying to make the sense that it gives you of richness in the world, and that takes you beyond just the sort of mundane things of day-to-day life.
ZACH MORRIS: Steampunk was the closest term to an aesthetic that I had always been in love with.
And I was like, oh.
Is that what that's called?
JENNINE WILLETT: We seem to drift toward the Edwardian, Victorian aesthetic a lot.
But there's always some flexibility in that.
TOM PEARSON: It's not bound by period.
But it's informed by it.
And I think that allows us a freedom to create a kind of new space.
ZACH MORRIS: This performance is looking at some of the more sinister aspects of "Alice in Wonderland."
We had two Alices.
And the story that we're telling is one of a personality that's been pulled so hard in two directions, with two conflicting sets of desires, that they've literally been torn asunder.
We've been really interested in this idea of, what does it mean to make a nightmarescape?
And that's inherently what a haunted house is.
Can we make a contemporary art haunted house?
Can we take this stuff that people would not necessarily otherwise go to a theater to see, put it in this new context, and have them dig it?
And the answer was yes.
There was something about this sort of high level of artistry focused around the steampunk aesthetic that really resonated.
With steampunk, I think a lot of our work has to do with the collision of disparate elements-- taking things that might not otherwise be contiguous and putting them together to create new meaning.
JOEY MARSOCCI: Steampunk is happening all around the world.
And certainly it's a reflection of where we came from.
DAVID BRUCE: The creative process is often about taking things that already exist and re-imagining them in a different context that they weren't intended for.
TOM PEARSON: It combines something very adventurous with something that is also very sexy, colliding fashion and technology, and putting that into myth-making.
JOEY MARSOCCI: I hope it's going to be utilized in a good way, that it's actually going to get more and more artists to think about their resources.
Think about what we're doing with our history, our yesterday, and our memories.
There's just so much out there.
And it's growing.