Luc Northum, aka Allan J. Wells, is pictured second from the right with Gaston Klares
Photo: Art of You
Anno 1900 will once again see steampunk fans and visitors gather at the Minett Park Fonds-de-Gras, Niederkorn, this September. Meet some of the ‘steamers’ who will attend to this year’s festival.
Imagine an alternative history where the technology we know today never came to life, and where everything based on oil is inexistent (plastic, gasoline, etc). Instead, everything past, present or future is based on this alternative era set in the 1800s. In this history, set in the midst of the industrial revolution, everything from fashion to technology revolves around gears, steam and occasionally the first sparks of electricity. As much as the interpretations may differ, this is the overall idea behind the imaginary world of steampunk.
This science-fiction fantasy world has now birthed a whole subculture and community worldwide, including fiction novels, shows, and of course, cosplayers all around the world. Luxembourg, too, has its very own “steamers”.
Gautier Deravet, 27, pictured below, first had the desire to dress up in the steampunk style after visiting Anno 1900, back in 2017. Now, Deravet proudly creates his own costumes which takes him a lot of time, effort and cost. “Unlike cosplay that is faithful to a reference character, steampunk leaves us much more freedom to imagine and innovate,” explains Deravet. “As long as you do not deviate from the style, you can pretty much do what you want. In addition, it must be said that (steampunk) is a pretty classy style! The clothes are beautiful, and the mechanics gives an impressive side!”.
Photo: Primatt Photography
Fellow steamer Luc Northum has used this freedom to create his own steampunk persona. In our world, Northum is a 61-year-old optometrist and was one of the founders of Utopia SA cinema group. In the steampunk world, he is known as Allan J. Wells, a scientist born in 1858 in Paris who, thanks to his time machine, has had the chance to meet and befriend none other than Jules Verne, Gustave Eiffel, Thomas Edison, and Nikola Tesla (all of whom are considered inspiration to the steampunk style through their arts and inventions).
Northum says that he has been in contact with steampunk for as long as he can remember: “Everything was there, in me, somewhere. The steam, the machines, the lights, the atmosphere: I like the smell of fresh oil in the morning […]”. Northum is also one of the founders of the Luxembourg Steampunk Society, alongside his son Max, and friends Gaston Klares and Jang Krips. Northum and Klares (affectionately nicknamed ‘Gast’) enjoy working on their outfits together. “Gast and I are 100% artists and we create all our stuff by our own two, no, four hands!” Northum told Delano. “For me, (Gast) is the greatest! I love to work with that guy!”
Klares, 58, helped found the Luxembourg Steampunk Society back in 2016. Since then, they have gathered 430 members on their Facebook group. “These are quite active members as well as any other people interested in the genre,” Klares said.
“Anybody can join the group, [there are] no limits or requirements as far as it concerns Steampunk in any matter. We have a lot of members from the adjacent countries.” For the most part the group consists of a website and Facebook group where members share events, pictures, and related information. They also meet a few times a year for “a lunch and talk”.
If Matthieu Freund-Priacel, 27, technically did not invent his own character, he still used a lot of imagination when deciding to crossover the steampunk style and a different genre of science-fiction. Freund-Priacel was first introduced to the steampunk universe from video games and since has researched more the visual aspect of this culture that he finds ‘extremely beautiful’. He created his very own steampunk version of Boba Fett (head hunter from the “Star Wars” series).
Photo: Primatt Photography
What Deravet, Northum, and Freund-Priacel have in common, besides their love for steampunk, is that they all have been going to Anno 1900 for years and will again attend for this year’s ninth edition of the festival. Over the weekend of 28-29 September, the Minett Park Fonds-de-Gras will be filled with steampunk enthusiasts who will get to dive into this imaginary universe by shopping at a Victorian market, admiring historical steam trains, or enjoying various entertainments based on the steampunk subculture.
When asked why he likes going to the festival, Deravet explained: “I have been going since 2017 and I go back because the setting is really suitable for steampunk. The steam train that takes us there is perfectly in its place and makes us travel back in time. I have the opportunity to see the projects of the other participants. Traders are (for the most part) real craftsmen who offer us objects that are not found on the big sales platforms and are beautifully crafted. Finally, I would say that this convention offers us a bubble out of time for a really affordable price (compared to other conventions)”
Check out Anno 1900 from 28-29 September, from 11:00 to 19:00. For more information, check out the Anno 1900 website, or the official facebook event.