The world will never be the same.
The answer is simple: there’s a new book, just out of print, 200 pages capable of changing your world forever. You probably thought that Dieselpunk is about bizarre machinery, heroic aviators and cynical private detectives, movie divas and pretty flapper girls, Art Deco and Streamline Moderne aesthetics… But it’s much more than this.
Stefan Prohaczka, the author, calls himself a “diesel powered artist”. We believe it is an understatement: a man responsible for a score of Dieselpunk masterpieces should be called a pillar of the genre. Three years ago he joined the Diesel crowd and since then contributed a lot to various projects, from Dieselpunks Network to our Encyclopedia (see the emblem). After a salvo of pictorial series, covers and stand-alone posters here comes a ‘black box’ containing not only familiar images but also some information – finally deciphered.
Tome Wilson* wrote about Stefan:
He uses the looking glass of the past as a warning to show us how our lives could have been, or what they one day might become.
Well, they could become a nightmare. The first two chapters, Diesel City and Megalopolis, are the most powerful and also the darkest parts of the book.*
The author doesn’t want to scare you. He simply translates your irrational feelings into images and words.
Diesel City: it’s always been there inside you, surrounding you, and you always knew you would be back one day. It’s a rain-slicked reflection of all the places you’ve ever been in reality and in your dreams. It doesn’t matter if you wanted to return or not; you’re here now. <…> It’s not a nightmare, but it certainly feels like a murky dream you should want to wake from. Except it’s not a dream.
Here, in surreal cities, you can find almost every visual element of Great Dystopia. Nocturnal scenery absorbs you – and after a few pages you are perfectly aware of the dark side of Dieselpunk and Diesel Era. Yes, it’s not only creative spirit and heroism. There’s a lot of oppression, frustration, and fear. War is just around the corner.
Another founding father of the genre, Nick Ottens, wrote:
If you look only at the noir deception, the rise of petroleum power and the increasingly technocratic perception of those who lead this world in anxiety, you understand that it’s quick to succumb to dystopia or nuclear holocaust.**
One of Stefan’s pictorial series is called Silent Empire. The title strangely echoes La Cité de la Muette (Silent City), a modernist high-rise compound in Paris, turned into an internment camp under the Nazi occupation. Likewise, Stefan takes a real public library building, and turns it into a scary Temple of Obedience.
It is not a gimmick but a reminder of the ambivalent nature of the era. Wasn’t the concentration camp in Buchenwald designed by a Bauhaus graduate? Unfortunately, it was.
But there is a brighter side, too. To get there, we should use some Uncommon Transportation, like a flying diesel locomotive (or a modest streetcar; or maybe a motorcycle – suddenly, every vehicle can fly!).
And here we are, in the world of elegant ads, offering all the luxury we can think of.
No darkness anymore – everything’s so sunny, so promising…
But it appears we are still too close to the dark side.
Besides, there is a lot of dark spots and blind alleys where the chances to meet a hero are scarce and villains are at every corner.
Beware! And don’t forget to visit Diesel City website – a great place where you can buy the book. Now, when the world has changed, you have to explore it – and this handsome volume is created to become your guide. And your inspiration.
* Tome Wilson wrote a foreword to Diesel City. He is also responsible for the English version of the book.
** From a separate foreword by Nick Ottens.
All the images are taken from Stefan2009’s Flickr photostream by a kind permission of the author, and linked to their respective pages.