Solarpunk and Art Nouveau – short thread 

It makes me sad when people dismiss Art Nouveau as being "for the rich" while acting as if things aren't really Solarpunk unless they're gritty or recycled looking. People act as if pretty things are only for the wealthy – which is just what the wealthy want you to believe.

Art Nouveau is perfect for the Solarpunk movement, and not just because of the plant-based themes. It's deeper than that.

Art Nouveau was an inherently anti-capitalist movement.

Solarpunk and Art Nouveau – short thread 

Art Nouveau found its roots in the Arts and Crafts movement in late 19th century England, when the industrial revolution was in full swing.

Artisans rejected the things which Victorian capitalism was all about. Things like mass production, profit over quality, and the dehumanisation that factory workers suffered.

Instead, their goal was to emphasise the human side of things. The attention to fine detail which capitalist factories would never bother with.

Solarpunk and Art Nouveau – short thread 

Art Nouveau grew across Europe in reaction to industrialisation.

It was never intended to be enjoyed in private. Artisans wanted to create beauty in public spaces, which is why train stations are still often full of Art Nouveau architecture. The Paris Metro is a well known example.

Even as the wealthy were trying to push industrialisation onto the world, the Art Nouveau movement was about trying to make things beautiful for all.

Solarpunk and Art Nouveau – short thread 

Another thing about Art Nouveau is that it was intended as a Gesamtkunstwerk – a German term for a "total work of art." Their goal wasn't just to make a few things pretty for a select few.

Their goal was to make literally EVERYTHING beautiful. Everything from buildings and public spaces to everyday furniture and eating utensils.

Solarpunk and Art Nouveau – short thread 

Unfortunately, the blossoming Art Nouveau movement was killed off around the time of World War I and never properly recovered.

Now, it's considered to be a thing of the past. Capitalism teaches us that things which are old and pretty are also expensive and that they are only for the wealthy to enjoy. We've been indoctrinated to believe this.

Do NOT believe this. Beauty is not for the rich or for a select few. Beauty is for everyone.

Solarpunk and Art Nouveau – short thread 

In summary, this is why the Art Nouveau aesthetic matches Solarpunk. Both movements are anticapitalist, have an innate appreciation for nature, and are about making the world a better place for everyone rather than merely a select few.

For this reason, I like that much of the Solarpunk movement is influenced by Art Nouveau. I really hope it continues that way.



Solarpunk and Art Nouveau – short thread 

@wrenpile I've made no assumptions. I've simply stated the ideals behind the Art Nouveau movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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Solarpunk and Art Nouveau – short thread 

@wrenpile No worries.

In a 21st century context, I'd say capitalism's influence is that things tend to be either cheap and bland/utilitarian or carefully designed and needlessly expensive. The idea of "beauty = expensive" still remains.

I think in both cases, the issue is mostly about the exploitative and profit-driven way in which the factories are run.

At least, that's my current take on it...

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Sunbeam City 🌻

Sunbeam City is a anticapitalist, antifascist solarpunk instance that is run collectively.