The Italian Futurist Book
August 2, 2007 3:16 AM   Subscribe

The book is an account of the battle of Adrianopolis (Turkey) in 1912 in which the author volunteered as a Futurist-soldier.
Futurism (1909-1944) was perhaps the first movement in the history of art to be engineered and managed like a business.
posted by Meatbomb (14 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
First, thanks for the post, Meatbomb. The Futurist movement was an interesting one, and I've actually been meaning to read more about it.

Second, I think the word "Futurist" is just about the greatest anyone could've come up with for an art movement, and in that sense I'm a little sad that it now simply describes a small and very historically definable phenomenon. With a moniker like "Futurism", it should be continuous and ever-expanding in scope and purpose, somehow. For example, if I were any sort if "-ist", I'd want to be a "futurist". The future, after all, is the only place where hope and possibility reside.

Third, a question: Any particular reason you posted this in a smaller font? Is this perhaps a suggestion to everyone to stop using up all the goddamn internet?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:26 AM on August 2, 2007

You'll find some interesting basic documents here. From Marinetti's Futurist manifesto:
  1. We intend to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and fearlessness.
  2. Courage, audacity, and revolt will be essential elements of our poetry.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. The poet must spend himself with ardor, splendor, and generosity, to swell the enthusiastic fervor of the primordial elements.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. We will destroy the museums, libraries, academies of every kind, will fight moralism, feminism, every opportunistic or utilitarian cowardice.
  11. We will sing of great crowds excited by work, by pleasure, and by riot; we will sing of the multicolored, polyphonic tides of revolution in the modern capitals; we will sing of the vibrant nightly fervor of arsenals and shipyards blazing with violent electric moons; greedy railway stations that devour smoke-plumed serpents; factories hung on clouds by the crooked lines of their smoke; bridges that stride the rivers like giant gymnasts, flashing in the sun with a 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 planes whose propellers chatter in the wind like banners and seem to cheer like an enthusiastic crowd.
It was a short, stiff-legged march to Fascism.

But what does a Futurist-soldier do that is different from what another soldier does?
posted by pracowity at 5:10 AM on August 2, 2007 [4 favorites]

flapjax: I guess just being kind of cute. In the links there is a lot of talk about text without punctuation, text carrying messages beyond the purely semantic, etc. And yeah, I also don't want to use up any more of the Internet than absolutely necessary.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:20 AM on August 2, 2007

Some more on Futurism.

Some famous and excellent futurist art. Also, fantastic architecture.
posted by oddman at 5:23 AM on August 2, 2007

The Battle of Adrianople: One of the first known uses of an airplane for bombing took place during the siege: the Bulgarians dropped special hand grenades from one or more airplanes in an effort to cause panic among Turkish soldiers.

It's the future, baby, look out! Achtung, uwaga, внимание! Bulgarians with airplanes and hand grenades.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:35 AM on August 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

Futurist Programming.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:26 AM on August 2, 2007

they were so pro-war--it overwhelms the wonderful art they made, i think.
posted by amberglow at 10:50 AM on August 2, 2007

Second, I think the word "Futurist" is just about the greatest anyone could've come up with for an art movement, and in that sense I'm a little sad that it now simply describes a small and very historically definable phenomenon.

Don't count their way of thinking out just yet. I can think of plenty of art -- music, at least -- that still lives by a creed close to Marinetti's manifesto. Black metal, neofolk, dark ambient, the more martial industrial bands, etc.
posted by vorfeed at 1:11 PM on August 2, 2007

Such concentrated nihilism is fucking unnerving.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 2:16 PM on August 2, 2007

It was a short, stiff-legged march to Fascism.

Witkacy saw it for what it was, in real time, and offered an antidote.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:54 PM on August 2, 2007

Let us not forget that Zang Tumb Tumb was also the name adopted by Trevor Horn for his awesome ZTT record label.

Also the Art Of Noise (who recorded for ZTT) was also named after a futurist tract.
posted by quartzcity at 5:29 PM on August 2, 2007

I must say, I greatly prefer Russian Futurism to the Italian original. Velimir Khlebnikov, Aleksey Kruchenykh, and Vladimir Mayakovsky were real poets, and Pasternak was associated with the movement for a cup of coffee (say, about as long as Ezra Pound was associated with Imagism). And Natalia Goncharova wasn't really a Futurist, but she hung with them, and I love her painting.
posted by languagehat at 5:46 PM on August 2, 2007

I have a print by Futurist artist Fortunato Depero hanging on my wall. Thanks for the link.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:25 PM on August 2, 2007

We must make our Italian bodies light for the steel trains of the future.
posted by clockwork at 7:31 AM on August 3, 2007

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