On Sept. 1, the Buskirk-Chumley Theater's Textillery Gallery will premier "Pipe Dream," a multimedia exhibit by local artist Libby Bulloff. The exhibit runs Sept. 1-30, with an opening reception on Friday, Sept. 7, from 5-7 p.m.
Bulloff, an IU graduate, combines her many artistic talents through various endeavors. She's the co-creator, co-promoter and director of design for Axis of Evil, a monthly Gothic dance event; a contributing writer for SteamPunk Magazine; graphic designer and videographer for IU's Residential Programs and Services; and the owner of Exoskeleton Cabaret, a Web-based business dedicated to hairpieces and wearable art.
Her exhibit exemplifies her wide variety of talents. "Pipe Dream" synthesizes art and craft, retrospect and innovation," Bulloff said in the exhibit's news release. "It is about creating impossibly wondrous worlds out of the discarded and forgotten in order to resurrect a glorious future."
The exhibit coincides with a special "Axis of Evil," a monthly Gothic dance event that will feature a performance by The Ghost Project, accompanied by Nathaniel Johnstone.
"Steampunk" is generally known as a literary subgenre of fantasy and speculative fiction usually set in 19th century Victorian England, an era when steam power was widely used. It's often associated with the cyberpunk genre, thanks to their often-shared themes and fan base.
But Bulloff's exhibit aims to present steampunk as a "burgeoning cultural movement and not simply a literary aesthetic," she said.
SteamPunk Magazine's Web site sums up the steampunk movement: "Before the age of homogenization and micro-machinery, before the tyrannous efficiency of internal combustion and the domestication of electricity, lived beautiful, monstrous machines that lived and breathed and exploded unexpectedly at inconvenient moments. It was a time where art and craft were united, where unique wonders were invented and forgotten, and punks roamed the streets, living in squats and fighting against despotic governance through wit, will and wile."
And it's no coincidence that the opening of this exhibit coincides with the return of IU students to Bloomington. In fact, the exhibit was specifically chosen for the start of the new school year as "it parallels the sudden change in Bloomington's atmosphere with the emergence of a new sub-cultural movement," according to the press release.
College students, or steampunkers? Check out "Pipe Dream" and prepare for both.
The Textillery Gallery is located on the second floor of the Buskirk-Chumley Theater and features local and regional artists every month. It's open to the public Monday - Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and during scheduled performances.
Alison Hamm can be reached at .