Aesthetics Wiki

Salvagepunk (also known as Junkpunk or Scavenged Punk) is a stylized setting that focuses on technology and culture based on an unusual source: scavenged junk. Weapons, tools, clothing, and sometimes entire cities will be built out of repurposed/recycled materials. A key factor here is that said materials, often pieces of trash, are being used for something other than their original purpose (as opposed to simply being repaired and reused).

In speculative fiction, this often takes place in the remnant of society after an apocalypse[1]. However, it can also be used to describe the reperpopusing rubbish in the contemporary era. This could include the DIY culture of Cuba discussed by Ernesto Oroza where people repurposed household electronic goods into new products due to the trade embargos on the country[2]. The commonplace refurbishing of western e-waste in developing countries where they are resold and used again[3].


In music critique, the term has been used to describe the repurposing and reforming of cultural detritus. Mark Fisher described Oneohtrix Point Never’s “Nobodies here” as salvagepunk due to it’s sampling of Chris de Burgh’s “Lady in Red”. Summarising Evan Calder Williams' Fisher says:

"[Salvagepunk] provides a broader context for thinking about how these methodologies deviate from their banal twin, postmodernity. For Williams, salvagepunk – at once a sensibility; a kind of non-genre embracing film, fiction and other cultural spheres; and a theoretical framework – is to be opposed to the “inherent flatness and equivalency of postmodern cultural production”. It draws together (and from) the 20th century’s chief arts of reappropriation: montage (Eisenstein, Vertov, Chris Marker), collage (Heartfield and Gilliam), détournement (Duchamp, Debord and the Situationist International, hiphop) and farce (Monty Python and Richard Lester).

By opposition to postmodern pastiche, in which any sign can be juxtaposed with any other in a friction-free space, salvagepunk retains the specificity of cultural objects, even as it bolts them together into new assemblages. That’s precisely because salvagepunk is dealing with objects rather than signs. While signs are interchangeable, objects have particular properties, textures and tendencies, and the art of salvage is about knowing which objects can be lashed together to form viable constructions." [4]

Salvagepunk could be thought of as differentiated from less optimistic post-apocalyptic aesthetics as it draws heavily on rebuilding as a motif, these are the terms used by xenogothic to discuss it in “The Philosophy of Salvagepunk”[5].


Colors in salvagepunk consist mostly of neutral colors like bronze, brown, tan, and black, but also stretch to yellows, greens, and reds.

Post apocalyptic imagery is the staple of salvagepunk. Rusted, old objects, broken machines, and vandalized decrepit buildings are some of the most present. Multi-purpose items, scrap metal, and other pieces of trash also create the reused nature of the aesthetic.

Barricades are another salvagepunk motif, as are collage and photomontage similar to the kinds found in the Dada and Surrealist artistic movements.


Combines many different genres, but takes elements steampunk, goth, and grunge most. These elements may include:

  • Mismatched outfits
  • Faded, dirty, or greasy items
  • Dark or rusty colors
  • Ripped or torn clothing
  • Strange items attached to the clothes
  • Leather
  • Survival gear
  • Post-apocalyptic clothes
  • Outdated/very old objects
  • Toolkit or large bag full of odd items
  • Lots of belts, zippers and chains
  • Layered jewelry, especially if made from recycled trash
  • Weapons/tools hanging from belts
  • Handmade, rusty weapons
  • Scrap Metal Armor


Just like it's fashion, salvagepunk music elapses many genres, such as rock, heavy metal, alternative rock. Hip-hop, with its culture of sampling (as well as early DJ culture for the same reason), and derivatives of anarcho-punk, such as post-punk and post-rock, are especially salvagepunk.

In Media[]


  • Gunnm (Battle Angel Alita)
  • Desert Punk
  • Cowboy Bebop
  • Danganronpa 3
  • Gachiakuta


  • Ready Player One (specifically the Stacks)
  • The Casa Bonita South Park Episode where Butters builds a city out of trash
  • Alita Battle Angel
  • Mortal Engines
  • Soldier (Arcadia 234 waste disposal planet)
  • Serenity/Firefly
  • Tank Girl
  • Thor: Ragnarok (the planet Sakaar)
  • Elysium
  • The Fifth Element
  • Isle of Dogs
  • Escape from New York (various inmates)
  • Escape from LA (various inmates)
  • Mad Max
  • Mad Max 2: Road Warrior
  • Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Cast Away
  • 28 Days Later
  • Howl's Moving Castle
  • Walking Dead
  • Lost
  • Scrap Heap Challenge
  • WALL•E
  • Robots
  • 9 (2009 animated film)
  • Mad God
  • Codename: Kids Next Door
  • L'Atalante
  • La Jetee
  • The Bed Sitting Room
  • Steptoe and Son Ride Again
  • Hardware
  • Delicatessen
  • 12 Monkeys
  • Waterworld
  • City of Lost Children
  • Hellevator: The Bottled Fools
  • Doomsday
  • Monty Python (animated segments)


  • Maze Runner (the grievers)
  • Stig of the Dump
  • Railsea
  • Combined and Uneven Apocalypse
  • Mortal Engines
  • Roadside Picnic
  • Perdido Street Station
  • The Scar
  • Iron Council

Video Games[]

  • Fallout (Junktown and the Boneyard from Fallout 1, Megaton from Fallout 3, Freeside and Westside from Fallout New Vegas, and the Rust Devils from Fallout 4)
  • Dying Light
  • Borderlands
  • Machinarium
  • Motorstorm
  • Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
  • Sims Castaway
  • Mad Max
  • This War of Mine
  • Don't Starve
  • The Forest
  • Scrap Mechanic
  • 7 Days to Die
  • Crossout
  • State Of Decay
  • Rust
  • Danganronpa V3
  • Far Cry New Dawn
  • Overwatch (Junkers)
  • Disco Elysium