What is cyberpunk culture and style?
Cyberpunk has fascinated and intrigued the world since its beginnings. But what defines it? How to get a hot Cyberpunk style? What are the ideologies, the origins of the designs that constitute this movement?
Cyberpunk culture is a current that expresses a future of a dystopian society living with the more advanced technology with a lot of constraints and injustice. On the one hand, it is a movement influenced by cybernetics, reflecting a society governed by technology. On the other hand, it is a rebellious culture that takes its principles and roots from punk and rock.
Welcome to Skull Action, the place where enthusiasts like you do their best to offer you quality content. Today, we're going to explore together a fictional universe, a style that is offbeat and in contradiction with public opinion. 🤘
After reading this article, you will discover what defines Cyberpunk, and all that surrounds it. As well as the spirit and ideology behind one of the most controversial subcultures of our time. Ready? Let's go!
What is Cyberpunk?
Cyberpunk took off in popularity thanks to some authors, quote Roger Zelazny, Philip Jose Farmer, J. G Ballard, and Harlan Ellison. Writers were visionaries who approached society with a more realistic eye, the impact of drugs, sexual revolution, and technology does not leave room for a future as romantic as the one described by science fiction in the 80s. In the cited authors’ minds, the cyberpunk vision and its visual aesthetics are already apparent.
The sets of the cyberpunk genre are numerous. One discovers urban jungles with rich colors, hyper-futuristic urban landscapes with many neon lights, to name only them. We quote below some of the most used themes in the cyberpunk media; the list can get longer and longer:
- Artificial intelligence
- The rise of the classes
- Government and corporate corruption
- Gang Wars
The most apparent aspect in the cyberpunk world is the aesthetics, the detail of shapes, colors, shapes of buildings, people's outfits, etc... All this is meant to give us predictions about one of the most likely futures of our society. 🔭
We can affirm that cyberpunk is a form of science fiction, very different from the future vision presented by the films and writings of the 80s. Cyberpunk focuses on a dystopian and dark future, surrounded by technology with ever more extensive and more complex urban spaces.
On the one hand, there are superpowers in organizations, states, corporations, law enforcement and security forces. And on the other hand, there is the underground world, where the illegal mixes with the very meaning of life. Between the two, there is intense corruption that disrupts all economic and social landmarks 👨💻.
A Cyberpunk individual is generally an anti-capitalist; His knowledge of technology gives him the necessary distance to see the system’s workings. It helps one define himself as a rebel to the economic machine that feeds on the time and lives of men and women’s men and women. (Even children in some countries)
The origin of cyberpunk
Cyberpunk was born in books. Some writers described a future that does not ignore the social problems of the 80s-90s until today, i.e., drugs, sex, crime, corruption, etc... These writings quickly evolved into other expression fields such as cinema, art, music, and philosophy. This ideological transfer reinforces the CyberPunk sub-culture.
To trace the origins of the cyberpunk movement, we must mention some famous names: Bruce Sterling, John Shirley, Rudy Rucker, Pat Cadigan, and Lewis Shiner; these writers have participated in the rise of the cyberpunk subculture. However, as much as a word, Cyberpunk was propelled by the writing of Bruce Bethke in 1980. ✍️
How can we talk about the cyberpunk movement without quoting Blade Runner ? This fiction had an extraordinary cinematographic success; it influenced all the perception that the interested parties had of Cyberpunk; the film strikes the spirits and influences until today the Cyberpunk literature.
Definition of Cyberpunk
It is effortless to define Cyberpunk; just cut the word in half. Let's start with the first part.
The word "Cyber" refers to anything related to a technology that can be viral in most cases, like the Internet, or physical like biotechnology or nanotechnology.
The word "Punk" refers to the punk movement, which is anti-culture and anti-heroes. Usually, punk people like cyberpunks are outsiders, visionaries, outlaws because they are rebels. Despised and misunderstood by society, they feel rejected from the system and find their identities in this rejection.
The cyberpunk genre brings together a futuristic technological or even robotic aspect on the one hand and a rebellious and anti-authoritarian human aspect on the other hand. To illustrate this, we can cite the example of the 'Ghost In The Shell' series where the main character Motoko Kusanagi has a Japanese government tool, but deep inside her, a punk and anti-authoritarian spirit pushes her to do what she thinks is right.
CyberPunk & SolarPunk
Cyberpunk was probably the partial inspiration of Solarpunk. This ideology aspires to look to the future but does so with a much more optimistic perspective than Cyberpunk. ⏳
Nevertheless, both seem to share an apparent disdain for dominant capitalism. In truth, most of the counter-cultures of the same style that emerged after the 1980s, such as Steampunk or Dieselpunk, owe their existence almost entirely to Cyber and Solarpunk.
This subculture has been strongly influenced by films such as Johnny Mnemonic, Blade Runner, or Matrix. It could be named as a "futuristic gothic fashion.” A cyberpunk always has the following clothes in his dressing room:
- Trench coats
- Boots (often leather)
- Black (often shiny) clothing
- Colorful dreads (for women)
The cyberpunk movement influences until today the cinema and television. Suppose you look closely at movies like The Matrix or Blade Runner. In that case, you will notice a futuristic mood with a very technological, or more precisely, cybernetic aesthetic. It's the same for some TV series like Black Mirror or some anime like Ghost in the Shell or Akira 🎥.
Cyberpunk is so based on a futuristic vision that it is almost immortal. It evolves with time towards more speculative futures; this greatly influences the great directors of movies and cartoons for children.
Transhumanism represents any philosophy or way of thinking that advocates human physiology by technology. Some examples include an exoskeleton realization to lift cars easily, retinas capable of zooming or night vision, or the Neuralink project of Elon Musk to plant a chip in the brain to make it more efficient.
Man/machine is a vision very appreciated by the cyberpunk community and by the movement itself. Indeed, the idea that one day we will become superhumans thanks to technology is very appealing. To top it all off, we would be able to change bodies not to suffer death by degradation🤖.
The Cyberpunk ideology
This part will discover some famous quotes about the future and cyberpunk pronounced by very favorite people. We will explain each of these sentences in detail.
"The future is already here, but it's not very well distributed." - William Gibson.
Mr. GIBSON emphasizes the injustice in modern society classes. There have always been rich people, poor people, and middle-class people. Contrary to what one might intuitively think, technological advances widen the gap between the rich and the poor. The upper class takes advantage of technology to get richer faster. At the same time, the poor find themselves working even harder to meet their basic needs.
"Anything that can be done to a rat can be done to a human being." - Bruce Sterling.
Through this subtle quote, Mr. Sterling explains that no human is safe from becoming a laboratory rat in the long run. Some experiments carried out in our lifetime aim to manipulate the brain of rats and their physiology. According to cyberpunk plots, it's only a matter of time before humans will undergo such experiments. Can you imagine that? A future where you will be implanted with chips in your brain to control yourself better... 🐀
"The street finds its own use for things." - William Gibson.
Another magnificent quote from Mr. GIBSON, the street often adapts to the reality of things. In this technological frenzy, there are many gadgets and objects produced with no long-term use and end up being thrown away. This debris can be recovered by creative minds that give back a second, usually negative, utility.
The Cyberpunk Era
Cyberpunk is now. A lot of things that were planned in the movement at the time are coming true today. Improvements in prosthetics and the brain-computer interface have led to the development of prosthetics controlled by the brain, a counterculture pillar. More and more companies are dominating world politics and influencing culture, creating a situation conducive to subversion. 🦿
We must admit that the cyber world is not as virtual as we think it is anymore; technology makes the poor poorer. The rich get richer at an ever-increasing speed. In this era, hackers have been able to harm multinational corporations, criminal gangs or even governments significantly, the Cyberpunk era is already here 👩💻.
Cyberpunk has spread throughout all current means of communication, we can find this sub-culture in the form of movies, TV shows, music, and video clips, comic books, artwork and the list goes on and on...) We are already living a Cyberpunk era in the big cities and it will continue to evolve towards a more futuristic vision 🌃.
The Cyberpunk Design
Diving into the cyberpunk genre’s design world with its cybernetics and fantasy fiction in a dystopian futuristic setting is fascinating. 🧬
According to the book "Cyberpunk and Visual Culture," these three factors determine the design trends in the Cyberpunk movement:
- Colors generally include neon lights, with colors that vary between blue and red, including all other purple and pink shades.
- Space: large and dark environments, such as tunnels, undergrounds, etc...
- Shapes: they often are geometric shapes.
We have listed the different elements (mostly visual ones) of the various design uses in the cyber world! Let's see it in detail.
The Cyberpunk Colors
The colors associated with this counterculture are generally dark with bright colors to set a bright futuristic look. The main choices are pink and blue with their various combinations: 🎨
- Neon colors
- Terminal colors (classic phosphorus green/amber on black)
- Blue/violet and shades of green
- Black and white can also be part of the game.
Note: When choosing a color palette for a cyber décor, make sure your colors complement each other.
Cyberpunk has integrated very well into modern art; artists often speculate on humanity’s future through their works, whether written, painted, drawn, or sung. We often find fantasy art mixed with a futuristic cyberpunk vision.
If you are an artist and you're thinking about creating a Cyberpunk logo, we will give you a straightforward tip, which says future and technology says light; we invite you to integrate a luminous point on your logo; the goal is to imagine an electronic light that lights up in the head of your potential customer 💡
Cyberpunk writing fonts
The use of a futuristic font can help give your creations a unique and ahead of its time look. Fonts with very straight and robotic shapes are the very definition of a right Cyberpunk font. The opposite is true for fonts that seem to be handwritten with a fountain pen. ✍️
Among the most appreciated patterns in the Cyberpunk subculture, the precise geometric shapes, such as triangles, circles, squares, and all the forms inspired by them. Almost all ways that give this aspect of depth and parallel dimensions are perfect. Use the colors we talked about just above to ensure a successful design!
What about you? Do you want to become a Cyberpunk?
We have just seen together what defines the futuristic and offbeat style of the Cyberpunk world. You now know perfectly well what is behind this ideology and how to apprehend it. 😉
Now you have to join the movement and adopt a style of a futuristic rebel. There's nothing better than decorating your walls with skulls and colorful paintings. Some of them are dark, and some are colorful; you have a lot to pick from. One thing is sure; you will be able to transform your home according to your tastes. Just click on the image below.