Thursday, October 20, 2016

Futurism: political synesthesia


Futurism was launched when the Italian poet Filippo Marinetti published his Manifesto in the Paris newspaper Le Figaro in 1909. On the same page one would find three, four ink colors, and twenty different type faces (italics for quick impressions, bold-face for violent noises and sounds). Futurists believed that typography could become a concrete expressive visual form to impact and change social norms.

Here are some excerpts:
*We intend to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and fearlessness. Courage, audacity, and revolt will be essential elements of our poetry. Up to now literature has exalted a pensive immobility, ecstasy, and sleep. *We intend to exalt aggresive action, a feverish insomnia, the racer’s stride, the mortal leap, the punch and the slap. *We affirm that the world’s magnificence has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed. A racing car whose hood is adorned with great pipes, like serpents of explosive breath—a roaring car that seems to ride on grapeshot is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace. *We want to hymn the man at the wheel, who hurls the lance of his spirit across the Earth, along the circle of its orbit. *The poet must spend himself with ardor, splendor, and generosity, to swell the enthusiastic fervor of the primordial elements. Except in struggle, there is no more beauty. No work without an aggressive character can be a masterpiece. Poetry must be conceived as a violent attack on unknown forces, to reduce and prostrate them before man. *We stand on the last promontory of the centuries!... Why should we look back, when what we want is to break down the mysterious doors of the impossible? Time and Space died yesterday. *We already live in the absolute, because we have created eternal, omnipresent speed. *We will glorify war—the world’s only hygiene—militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of freedom-bringers, beautiful ideas worth dying for, and scorn for woman. *We will destroy the museums, libraries, academies of every kind, will fight moralism, feminism, every opportunistic or utilitarian cowardice. Above, Filippo Marinetti's Futurist Words-in-Freedom (1919).