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GiscardPunk (also spelled Giscardpunk) is a term coined by artist, developer and art & design teacher Florent Deloison to describe a France-centric visual aesthetic movement and music genre with close ties to Cassette Futurism and Retro-Futurism. It is a broadly encompassing and (sometimes satirical) celebration of the modernist movement (including technology, consumer goods, architecture, fashion and graphic design) as manifested specifically in France during the presidency of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing (1974-1981), though it also extends to the 1960s and to the end of the 1980s despite Giscard not being president during these years. Put simply, GiscardPunk can be seen as a French offshoot of wider nostalgia for this time period with a particular focus on modernism and the contemporary concept of 'progress' in general.

That said, GiscardPunk is also intrinsically linked to a satirical alternate-history narrative (also created by Deloison) in which, unlike in our own timeline, Giscard was re-elected as president of France in 1981. This uchronia is not intended to be taken seriously and is both dystopian and irrational by nature. It is therefore a source of humorous content and memes for its fans, though it must be stressed that a large portion of GiscardPunk content is a genuine expression of admiration and nostalgia for the time period rather than for the alternate timeline and that media associated with GiscardPunk does not necessarily have to correspond with lore. Essentially, both admiration for the era and the alternate-history lore run alongside each other as two parts of the GiscardPunk genre and can either be engaged separately or simultaneously by its fans, potentially on an interchangeable basis.

Political connotations[]

It be stressed that, while the genre caries the name of Giscard d'Estaing and therefore could be considered a form of Politicalwave, engagement with the aesthetic does not necessarily imply political allegiance with the ideology of said individual. Rather, Giscard's name is used as an umbrella term covering various elements of modernist society in France during his presidency and indeed the surrounding years, whether or not he was at all associated, directly or indirectly, with any given element of the aesthetic. In fact, some of the typical motifs, including the TGV and Minitel, were not commercially available/accessible to the wider public until after he left office.

The politics of Giscard[]

Valéry Giscard d'Estaing (often referred to simply as "Giscard" or "VGE") was, at the time of his election, a member of the right-wing Independent Republicans party, though he pushed for a more centrist outlook and felt that change was necessary. After his election in 1974, he instituted numerous reforms in a bid to modernise French society, and some of the accomplishments his presidency is known for include the advancement of rights for women (introducing divorce by consent and the legalization of abortion), young people (lowering the voting age from 21 to 18) and disabled people (laws fostering increased ease of integration into economic and public life). In 1976, he described his vision for an "advanced liberal society” in which the state promoted economic growth and encouraged major industrial investments of modernisation, including the TGV project and the nuclear industry. He saw appeasing the rising middle class with the development of individual liberties and personal development in addition to the promotion of a quality living environment as necessary to governing from a centrist position.

Notable domestic projects that were directly promoted by Giscard include the TGV, the development of nuclear energy and the Minitel computer network. In an international context, he was a strong supporter of European integration and unity who worked with other European Community heads to introduce measures with these goals in mind, particularly in the form of Franco-German cooperation.

History[]

Florent-Deloison

Florent Deloison, the creator of the term "GiscardPunk" and its associated alternate-history lore.

While admiration and nostalgia for the 1970s and 1980 in general has existed for some time, GiscardPunk as a France-specific aesthetic with its own set of particular connotations, motifs and values can be attributed to artist, developer and art & design teacher Florent Deloison who is the self-declared creator of the aesthetic, specifying the year of its creation as 2013. He also credits himself for coining the term "GiscardPunk".

Lore[]

The lore imagined by its creator as described on the aesthetic's official website describes an eccentric and dystopian world, labelled by Deloison himself as an "absurd continuation" of the modernity embodied by the France of the 1960s-1980s. It features extreme events and occurrences that venture into the realms of science fiction and surrealism. The timeline deviates in 1979 and ends in 2012 with the eradication of humanity by Hamsters.

At the start of the timeline, agents from the French foreign intelligence agency effectively conceal the Bokassa diamonds affair that tarnished Giscard's reputation. As a result, Giscard is re-elected in 1981 with a majority of 99.7% and the 5th Republic is dissolved.

Over the course of the alternate timeline, France is described as becoming a military, industrial and nuclear powerhouse.

Some events of note include:

  • 1982: A nuclear weapon is used by the French Government on Brittany following an independentist uprising.
  • 1985: The towering La Défense district of Paris is extended and the old heart of the city is destroyed.
  • 1984: Giscard is assassinated and a nuclear-powered interdimensional portal is used to replace him with his double from a parallel universe.
  • 1986: Giscard is assassinated for a second time and is reconstructed by scientists using parts from a Thomson MO5 (a French computer system launched in 1984), becoming the first cyber-president of the Republic.
  • 1988: France Télécom develops a portable Minitel terminal.
  • 1989: A concert is held onboard a French spacecraft Hermes.
  • 2009: This year is described as never having existed.
  • 2010: Belgium is annexed by France.
  • 2012: Following failed GMO experiments by France's National Research Institute for Agriculture, hamsters take control of the planet. Humanity is enslaved and subsequently wiped out.

Visuals[]

GiscardPunk revolves heavily around the technology, architecture and aesthetics of France in the 1960s to the 1980s. As such, common themes include:

AnnuaireÉlectroniqueSaintMalo980

The "Annuaire Electronique" directory for Saint Malo accessed using Minitel in 1980.

Consumer technology[]

Minitel[]

A core recurring element of the GiscardPunk movement and perhaps that which msot ties it to the Cassette Futurism and cyberPunk aesthetics is the Minitel (initially officially known as TELETEL). This was French videotex service developed towards the end of the 1970s by former French postal company Postes, Télégraphes et Téléphones prior to the introduction of the World Wide Web. It was rolled out commercially in the early 1980s after testing and allowed users to access information, use services such as online banking, shop and communicate using computer terminals. Users accessed services/pages using codes such as 3615 SNCF (the national rail service) and 3615 LEMONDE (for the Le Monde newspaper). The Minitel system was France's own contribution to the rise of personal computing and is seen by some as ahead of its time. The service was not retired until June 2012, though in 2009 the network still had 10 million monthly connections.

TGV1

1983 advertisement poster for the TGV.

Transport[]

Trains[]

The TGV[]

The TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) is high-speed train service developed in the 1970s and launched as a commercial mode in transport from 1981. Successor designs of the TGV are still in use today and the technology is widely acclaimed as an extremely successful French invention.

Originally powered with an experimental gas turbine, the TGV, with its striking shape and bright orange livery, came to be known as a symbol of French progress towards the future.

Cars[]

GiscardPunk pays particular attention to cars produced by French companies such as Renault, Peugeot and Citroën from the 1960s-1980s, with an emphasis on vehicles produced for the mass market such as the Renault 5, in addition to futuristic concept cars such as the Citroën Karin.

ParisMatch 1967 Architecture

A 1967 edition of Paris Match imagining the skyline of Paris in 20 years.

Architecture[]

TourNight1973

The Tour Montparnasse at night in 1973.

Non-traditional and (for the time) futuristic forms of architecture are a core part of GiscardPunk aesthetic. This element is often the subject of memes within the genre that humorously showing new building styles being ruthlessly implemented on a mass scale with disregard for the traditional architecture and landmarks of France.

Brutalism[]

Modernism & international style[]

Examples:

  • Tour Montparnasse (1969-1973) - A controversial skyscraper located in Paris almost directly opposite the Eiffel Tower, standing in contract with the city's traditional architecture and skyline.
  • La Défense: Tour Areva - formerly Tour Fiat (1972-1974)
  • Espace Niemeyer (1968-1980)
  • L’immeuble en Vague (The Wave Building) - La Baule (1979)

Graphic design[]

TheWave1979

The Wave, designed by Pierre Doucet and constructed in 1979 in La Baule, on the West Coast of France.





Music[]

Self-declared GiscardPunk music[]

Music in conformity with GiscardPunk (but not labelled as such)[]

Video[]

Contemporary videos[]

Advertisements[]

Documentaries and informative content[]

Candid footage[]

Sources[]

  1. https://florentdeloison.fr/eng/projets/giscardpunk.html
  2. https://giscardpunk.florentdeloison.fr/
  3. https://spectrum.ieee.org/minitel-the-online-world-france-built-before-the-web
  4. https://www.facebook.com/giscardpunk
  5. https://www.instagram.com/giscardpunk/
  6. https://theconversation.com/valery-giscard-destaing-the-last-great-leader-of-frances-liberal-right-151398
  7. https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2021/679104/EPRS_BRI(2021)679104_EN.pdf

Gallery[]

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