“We will sing of great crowds excited by work, by pleasure, and by riot; we will sing of the multicoloured polyphonic tides of revolution in the modern capitals; we will sing of the vibrant nightly fervour of arsenals and shipyards blazing with violent electric moons; greedy railway stations that devour smoke-plumed serpents; factories hung from clouds by the crooked lines of their smoke; bridges that stride the rivers like giant gymnasts, flashing in the sun with the glitter of knives; adventurous steamers that sniff the horizon; deep-chested locomotives whose wheels paw the tracks like the hooves of enormous steel horses bridled by tubing; and the sleek flight of propellers chatter in the wind like banners and seem to cheer like an enthusiastic crowd.”
-Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (1876-1944),
“The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism,” 20 February 1909.
Firstly from the manifesto you can tell this man was a poet, you can get caught up with the poetic wording but when looking closer it reads as quite a raw and violent piece of writing. Marinetti expresses a passionate loathing of everything old; he despised history and believed that it mustn’t have an everlasting domain; society must make way for the young. His main men whom signed this manifesto were Carlo Carra, Umberto Boccioni, Gino Severini , Giacomo Balla and Luigi Russolo. Marinetti used the newspaper to find these like-minded people which showed that he was a great manipulator of the media. The idea of Futurism was based upon violence, war, anarchy, nationalism, glorification of urban life, technology and speed and a hatred of the past and scorn of academic values. They celebrated automobiles, airplanes, machine guns and other industrial technologies and denounced moralism and feminism. They saw museums, galleries and libraries as “static institutions of an obsolete culture” and even tried to have these blown up.
Futurists used every medium of art, including sculpture, painting, architecture, theatre, literature, industrial design and even gastronomy to help with showing and enforcing their ideals. In terms of painting, it was very similar to the structure of Cubism and this gave them a means to analyse movement, industry and speed and sometimes even sound in later Futurist works. Now, writing a manifesto on the technical aspects of Futurist painting seems like a decent idea, kind of like do’s and don’ts for future Futurists but writing a manifesto on Futurist cooking shows a desire for them to control everyday life of those who agree with their beliefs and I think that is a journal entry itself.
Although, I don’t believe in the violence and hatred that Futurists believe in I do really like the art and the idea of incorporating movement and speed into what was quite a static movement before that. I am definitely going to look into Futuristic artwork more and find out more about the way Marinetti’s mind works; as one of my housemates has said that he wanted someone to kill him and overthrow him as the leader of the Futurists to fit in with his idea of rejuvenating society and ideas, out with the old and in with the new.
“A change in values-that means a change in the creators of values. He who has to be a creator has to destroy.” – Friedrich Nietzsche.
Funeral of the Anarchist Galli by Carlo Carra, 1911, oil on canvas.