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What is Steampunk? - A Look at KURIOS by Cirque de Soleil

ACTIVATE is back this Thursday, August 27! Ignite your imagination with a Steampunk journey through time and space. As you enter Haddock Place, you will be transported to an alternate reality that pays tribute to the past and looks to the future. Curators Missy Perkins, Stuart Hall and Keith Brownlee, have planned a memorable night full of pinstripes, pocket watches, goggles, gadgets and everything in between.

If you are new to the Steampunk scene, you may be wondering what the goggles and gadgets are all about. Explaining a genre of the imagination is not an easy task. Fortunately, the minds behind KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities by Cirque du Soleil have experience bringing the curious world of Steampunk to life around the world. Although the characters of KURIOS will be staying in their curio cabinet, exploring the show will help you understand the Steampunk genre's unique design. 

Industrial Revolution + Futuristic Elements = Steampunk

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Main Photo: Photo: Martin Girard / shootstudio.ca Costumes: Philippe Guillotel  © 2014 Cirque du Soleil

“It’s like Jules Verne meets Thomas Edison in an alternate reality, out of time.” - KURIOS Set Designer Stéphane Roy Explaining his Steampunk-inspired design.

A time-period that evokes the imagination, the Industrial Revolution was a time of rapid growth and fundamental change. The power of the steam engine had taken the world by storm making things that seemed impossible, possible. Mix that hope and innovation with the possibility of today’s future and you have Steampunk. Generally set in Victorian England or the American Wild West, Steampunk is a genre that has been referred to as “retro-future” in an alternate reality.

What if today’s technology was powered by steam?

Photo: Martin Girard / shootstudio.ca Costumes: Philippe Guillotel  © 2014 Cirque du Soleil

The steam engine reigns supreme in the Steampunk genre. KURIOS Set Designer Stéphane Roy pays tribute to the steam engine throughout the show. The adventure begins as a locomotive pulls into the train station and lets off a motley group of passengers straight from the 19th century. The train in this scene extends out from Mr. Microcosmos’ costume over 62 feet!

Photo: Martin Girard / shootstudio.ca Costumes: Philippe Guillotel  © 2014 Cirque du Soleil

The airplane was invented in the early 19th century bringing yet another seemingly impossible feat to life. The wonder of flying is showcased in KURIOS through Rola Bola, a fearless Aviator who balances on cylinders and planks as his airplane suspends him in the air. 

Steampunk Fashion

Photo: Martin Girard / shootstudio.ca Costumes: Philippe Guillotel  © 2014 Cirque du Soleil

Steampunk fashion delights the senses. Embracing the richness and whimsy of the Victorian era, Steampunk fashion is often characterized by goggles, top hats, corsets, pocket watches and other mechanical fashion pieces.

The costumes of KURIOS –Cabinet of Curiosities are the result of a visual exploration of the beginnings of science, of the discoveries and inventions that led to the industrial revolution of the 19th Century – from the steam locomotive to electrical power to electromagnetic waves. They embody and celebrate the advancements of science, but in an imaginary, parallel world.

What if by engaging our imagination and opening our minds we could unlock the door to a world of wonders?

Main Photo: Photo: Martin Girard / shootstudio.ca Costumes: Philippe Guillotel  © 2014 Cirque du Soleil

Above all, Steampunk is about expression and the imagination. KURIOS - Cabinet of Curiosities by Cirque du Soleil is at the United Center until September 20, 2015. Check out our Linger Longer guide to receive 10% off select tickets. We hope you will join us this Thursday at ACTIVATE for a night of wonder and excitement! 

RSVP for ACTIVATE

Main Photo: Photo: Martin Girard / shootstudio.ca Costumes: Philippe Guillotel  © 2014 Cirque du Soleil

Location: United Center


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