11th January 1913
A reply to those dishonest journalists who twist phrases to make the Idea seem ridiculous;
to those women who only think what I have dared to say;
to those for whom Lust is still nothing but a sin;
to all those who in Lust can only see Vice, just as in Pride they see only vanity.
Lust, when viewed without moral preconceptions and as an essential part of life’s dynamism, is a force.
Lust is not, any more than pride, a mortal sin for the race that is strong. Lust, like pride, is a virtue that urges one on, a powerful source of energy.
Lust is the expression of a being projected beyond itself. It is the painful joy of wounded flesh, the joyous pain of a flowering. And whatever secrets unite these beings, it is a union of flesh. It is the sensory and sensual synthesis that leads to the greatest liberation of spirit. It is the communion of a particle of humanity with all the sensuality of the earth.
Lust is the quest of the flesh for the unknown, just as Celebration is the spirit’s quest for the unknown. Lust is the act of creating, it is Creation.
Flesh creates in the way that the spirit creates. In the eyes of the Universe their creation is equal. One is not superior to the other and creation of the spirit depends on that of the flesh.
We possess body and spirit. To curb one and develop the other shows weakness and is wrong. A strong man must realize his full carnal and spiritual potentiality. The satisfaction of their lust is the conquerors’ due. After a battle in which men have died, it is normal for the victors, proven in war, to turn to rape in the conquered land, so that life may be re-created.
When they have fought their battles, soldiers seek sensual pleasures, in which their constantly battling energies can be unwound and renewed. The modern hero, the hero in any field, experiences the same desire and the same pleasure. The artist, that great universal medium, has the same need. And the exaltation of the initiates of those religions still sufficiently new to contain a tempting element of the unknown, is no more than sensuality diverted spiritually towards a sacred female image.
Art and war are the great manifestations of sensuality; lust is their flower. A people exclusively spiritual or a people exclusively carnal would be condemned to the same decadence—sterility.
Lust excites energy and releases strength. Pitilessly it drove primitive man to victory, for the pride of bearing back a woman the spoils of the defeated. Today it drives the great men of business who run the banks, the press and international trade to increase their wealth by creating centers, harnessing energies and exalting the crowds, to worship and glorify with it the object of their lust. These men, tired but strong, find time for lust, the principal motive force of their action and of the reactions caused by their actions affecting multitudes and worlds.
Even among the new peoples where sensuality has not yet been released or acknowledged, and who are neither primitive brutes nor the sophisticated representatives of the old civilizations, woman is equally the great galvanizing principle to which all is offered. The secret cult that man has for her is only the unconscious drive of a lust as yet barely woken. Amongst these peoples as amongst the peoples of the north, but for different reasons, lust is almost exclusively concerned with procreation. But lust, under whatever aspects it shows itself, whether they are considered normal or abnormal, is always the supreme spur.
The animal life, the life of energy, the life of the spirit, sometimes demand a respite. And effort for effort’s sake calls inevitably for effort for pleasure’s sake. These efforts are not mutually harmful but complementary, and realize fully the total being.
For heroes, for those who create with the spirit, for dominators of all fields, lust is the magnificent exaltation of their strength. For every being it is a motive to surpass oneself with the simple aim of self-selection, of being noticed, chosen, picked out.
Christian morality alone, following on from pagan morality, was fatally drawn to consider lust as a weakness. Out of the healthy joy which is the flowering of the flesh in all its power it has made something shameful and to be hidden, a vice to be denied. It has covered it with hypocrisy, and this has made a sin of it.
We must stop despising Desire, this attraction at once delicate and brutal between two bodies, of whatever sex, two bodies that want each other, striving for unity. We must stop despising Desire, disguising it in the pitiful clothes of old and sterile sentimentality.
It is not lust that disunites, dissolves and annihilates. It is rather the mesmerizing complications of sentimentality, artificial jealousies, words that inebriate and deceive, the rhetoric of parting and eternal fidelities, literary nostalgia—all the histrionics of love.
We must get rid of all the ill-omened debris of romanticism, counting daisy petals, moonlight duets, heavy endearments, false hypocritical modesty. When beings are drawn together by a physical attraction, let them—instead of talking only of the fragility of their hearts—dare to express their desires, the inclinations of their bodies, and to anticipate the possibilities of joy and disappointment in their future carnal union.
Physical modesty, which varies according to time and place, has only the ephemeral value of a social virtue.
We must face up to lust in full conciousness. We must make of it what a sophisticated and intelligent being makes of himself and of his life; we must make lust into a work of art. To allege unwariness or bewilderment in order to explain an act of love is hypocrisy, weakness and stupidity.
We should desire a body consciously, like any other thing.
Love at first sight, passion or failure to think, must not prompt us to be constantly giving ourselves, nor to take beings, as we are usually inclined to do so due to our inability to see into the future. We must choose intelligently. Directed by our intuition and will, we should compare the feelings and desires of the two partners and avoid uniting and satisfying any that are unable to complement and exalt each other.
Equally conciously and with the same guiding will, the joys of this coupling should lead to the climax, should develop its full potential, and should permit to flower all the seeds sown by the merging of two bodies. Lust should be made into a work of art, formed like every work of art, both instinctively and consciously.
We must strip lust of all the sentimental veils that disfigure it. These veils were thrown over it out of mere cowardice, because smug sentimentality is so satisfying. Sentimentality is comfortable and therefore demeaning.
In one who is young and healthy, when lust clashes with sentimentality, lust is victorious. Sentiment is a creature of fashion, lust is eternal. Lust triumphs, because it is the joyous exaltation that drives one beyond oneself, the delight in posession and domination, the perpetual victory from which the perpetual battle is born anew, the headiest and surest intoxication of conquest. And as this certain conquest is temporary, it must be constantly won anew.
Lust is a force, in that it refines the spirit by bringing to white heat the excitement of the flesh. The spirit burns bright and clear from a healthy, strong flesh, purified in the embrace. Only the weak and sick sink into the mire and are diminished. And lust is a force in that it kills the weak and exalts the strong, aiding natural selection.
Lust is a force, finally, in that it never leads to the insipidity of the definite and the secure, doled out by soothing sentimentality. Lust is the eternal battle, never finally won. After the fleeting triumph, even during the ephemeral triumph itself, reawakening dissatisfaction spurs a human being, driven by an orgiastic will, to expand and surpass himself.
Lust is for the body what an ideal is for the spirit—the magnificent Chimaera, that one ever clutches at but never captures, and which the young and the avid, intoxicated with the vision, pursue without rest.
Lust is a force.
above copied from: http://www.391.org/manifestos/valentinedesaintpoint_futuristmanifestooflust.htm
Source: Second Series: Program No 2, Cage on Chance
This program is dedicated to a lecture given by John Cage’s on October 28, 1969, at the University of California Davis during his class on “Music in Dialogue”. Cage assigns a class exercise using library catalog cards and chance operations, the students then divide into their groups to discuss the project.
For those interested in mail art check out the following web site (I just discovered it):
Seems to have lost of good images of mail art works sent to the blog.
Image source: http://www.flashartonline.com/interno.php?pagina=news_det&id=461&det=ok&title=Fundacion-La-LABoral-Centro-de-Arte-y-Creacion-Industrial-has-named-Benjamin-Weil-as-Chief-Curator
Benjamin Weil, new media curator at SFMOMA, addresses ephemerality, expectation, and the extroverted artist. A discussion of the role of documentation in art practice and the evolution and interplay of the curator/artist.
Ron Goldin: Do you think recent events, specifically the global witness of the Sept. 11 tragedy, in addition to a sobered "new economy" whose original foundation was reliant on intangible models, has sparked a cautious step away from the ephemeral, both in art practice as well as in our society as a whole?
Benjamin Weil: It is very hard to tell what has triggered what. I am not sure September 11 is really anything else than the epitomy of a crisis that is much larger than that absolute hyper-real tragedy. What strikes me is the growing awareness in our western post-industrial societies (and primarily so in the US) of a very confusing blurriness between reality and fiction. Infotainment and edumercial, or whatever conflational combination one can think of, destabilizes the understanding of how to comprehend specific information. This confusion is very visible in such mainstream Hollywood production as "Vanilla Sky", for instance, and in a more sophisticated fashion, in such production as David Lynch's recent "Mulholland Drive". One could trace that back to "The Matrix", or even to Steven Lisberger's "Tron". It is also the war in Iraq and its coverage that was somewhat a bad copy of "Top Gun"... There are plenty of examples in contemporary culture...
What is undeniable is that the shift in the economic climate results in a less daring cultural moment. When there's opulence, experiments seem like a normal compliment to more traditional endeavors. These days, it is more difficult to convince people about the fact cultural evolution does not stop because of the economy. I believe we are still at the beginning of a fundamental shift, which probably is less probable now to be carried out, or found in traditional institutions. From that extremely chaotic moment will emerge new ways of understanding what we are exposed to, what we are looking at. I do not know why, but I think for instance of this whole idea of a scenario that is manifested through very different forms. A common narrative structure will inform a film, a computer game, a line of products, educational tools, and what not. There's no longer a necessary hierarchy to understand this cultural nebulous of sorts.
In regards to art, I think the confusion also is due to the ever-increasing blurriness between the locus of production and the one of distribution or experience is something traditional venues for visual art have a really hard time dealing with. Artists have also shifted from being loners, secluded from the world, creating in a studio, to cultural producers, very much engaged with the course of our time, and creating social and cultural comments in collaboration, and borrowing from all kinds of models, ranging from film to philosophy, to advertising, to science, and so on.
It is time to engage in a thorough reflection on how to reconcile the notion of history, and historical, as best incarnated by the traditional museum, and the one of progress, forward thinking structure that produces, commissions, supports, and reflects upon new ways to display, distribute, and emulate experience of new contemporary art forms. Then again, it is important to remember that the experimental nature of what is being produced today should exist both inside and outside of the institutional frame.
We probably will not escape the need to re-examine criteria used to understand what is a valid art form, and what is not.
RG: Both SFMOMA's 010101 and the Whitney's BitStreams featured "companion websites" to their show's physical venue. It seems like some things have changed (ex. Janet Cardiff's "Video Walk" is a giant step from 'please move away from the painting...') but some things have not, such as the resistance to works (or entire media, in the case of net.art) that provide a less immediate gratification. Are expectations of art becoming more entertainment-based than the "secular church" that the museum has traditionally signified? Or do people approach a new media object with the same expectations they do a Rodin?
BW: Your question takes us back to the notion of criteria used to understand what we are looking at. The same way we may be confused, as consumers, by the ever evolving form of information, and whether it is news, fiction, advertising... for instance, it is increasingly harder to know how to filter advertising out of news, games, or television: think about product placement in computer games, or maybe even news reel, for instance!
New art forms, that take radical departures both in terms of form, and content, and, to a certain extent, context, call for a rethinking of how we evaluate things, how we appreciate them, how we comprehend them, etc. While it is for instance possible to talk about the formal quality of a networked based piece, referring to the intrinsic qualities of its coding, this calls for an understanding of how this is to be understood by people who may not be able to tell the difference, because they have not trained their eye. I recall a time when I would systematically look at the source code of a web page... I would not do that any longer because chances are it would have become Chinese to me: things have changed extraordinarily fast! And while I think it is an interesting parameter, this is such a new realm, and a new medium explored by artists, whose training is not necessarily "fine art", that the intellectual and emotional adjustment is very difficult. It requires flexibility, and, let's face it, a lot of time! Think how hard it was to understand Cubism, even though it was still oil on canvas or traditional media. You can imagine how a society that has barely digested Duchamp can accommodate such leaps as the ones introduced by networked art forms: not only you need to understand the notion of browser as formal frame, the net as context, but you also need to accept the idea of looking at art on the screen of a machine one more often relates to as a practical instrument.
So, while I think museums such as the Whitney or SFMOMA - and many others, particularly the Dia Center for the Arts, and the Walker Art Center, both real pioneers as far as networked media is concerned - are genuinely interested in exploring ways to incorporate these emerging forms, there is still an enormous amount of work to be done in order to understand what is the best role to play for such institutions, how to create an appropriate frame to best enable access to these experimental forms, provide tools, relate these art projects to the more traditional media, etc. That is, I believe what both "BitStreams", and even more so "Data Dynamics" sought to do at the Whitney. And similarly, the web commissions and educational component of 010101, but also Crossfade (http://www.sfmoma.org/crossfade, a collaboration with ZKM, Goethe Institut, and the Walker art center).
Sometimes, there is a temptation for the museum to merge the notion of accessibility or approachability with the one of populism. This is undeniably a very dangerous confusion, informed primarily, I believe by the economic model the museum functions with: sales results, of tickets and by-products have become a way to judge the success of a program, which of course is quite a limited way of thinking about real cultural impact. That's because there has been a dramatic shift in the past 20 years (since the Reagan administration decided to eradicate public funding for art). However, it seems to me we have not yet found a way to really engage different publics to become real stakeholders of the cultural institution, rethink the model of financially supporting the museum as a seminal cultural tool... Rather, this still depends of "the kindness of strangers", and merchandizing strategies that look increasingly like the entertainment industry. We will not spare ourselves from engaging in this reflection, if we want to steer clear of artentainment.
RG: Documentation of the production of new media arts is a central concern, especially pertaining to the issue of ephemerality. Documentation is the only tangible, somewhat-static byproduct of some new media art practices. You've mentioned that art can be thought of as a proposition, rather than an object. How does an artwork focus our attention to the very process that brought it into existence? Is this the concern of the artist, as part of the art making, the curator as a historian/ facilitator/ translator, or is this perhaps the collaborative element that is required of the representation of all new media objects presented to a public audience?
BW: Technology changes very fast. The context in which work is made also changes. The combination of those two factors creates a situation of accelerated obsolescence of a given form. This often results in the loss of the original form and meaning. The moment artists choose to work with technology that is primarily developed for uses other than art, and, as a mass product, is conceived so as to be constantly evolved, they are faced with formal instability. This condition, by the way, not only applies to computers and software: one can probably trace it back to the Ready-Made, and is also the case with artists, who later on elected to work with mass produced objects, or perishable materials. Working with instable media, they are basically faced with two options: one is to completely abandon the idea of preserving anything, let the art work “die”; the other is to try and think about models that may help design solutions to transmit the “essence” of an art project, beyond its “original incarnation”. Music and theatre are two cultural forms, which function with the premise of formal instability. One can see those as systems of notation, instructions of sorts: a set of intentions, which then can be restaged, re-interpreted, and thus kept alive through time. Hence, the interesting conceptual basis they offer to offset the problem of working with instable media. Work created today with technology is by nature ephemeral. In order to preserve the artistic intent, one must start thinking beyond the constraints of obsolescence, while trying to “frame” the various dimension of an artistic proposition. There’s undeniably a “look and feel” of a given work, which denotes an anchoring in a given cultural moment. While it is possible to preserve the artifact, it is harder to justify evolving the role of the preserving institution into a repository for technology. Curators, who work with instable media, and particularly with technology, are faced with having to engage in a very close dialogue with conservators, in order to start outlining strategies that may then be implemented to better preserve formally instable art projects. The museum, in collaboration with the artists, as well as a network of experts from all fields, have engaged in the systematic of documents n many different forms (artists interviews, installation records, technical data, and so on. This accumulated documentation traces the formal evolution as well as the perceptual shifts that may occur in the course of this iterative way of understanding the artists project. Together, this set of documents, along with the “original version” of the artwork, constitutes what I would be tempted to call a data maze. Akin to the cultural constellations as defined in the work of Henry Jenkins, the data maze is probably the way to best understand how the museum may safely proceed with its task of being the repository for cultural heritage.
The work of art never existed outside of a formal and cultural context. Even the Wunderkammer -- which can be understood in many ways as the ancestor of the modern museum -- created specific viewing conditions, which in turn determined the way a given work could be grasped. What happens with instable media is that the data maze emerges as an inherent part of the artwork, in a manner that makes it much harder to dissociate or hierarchize: the way it artistic intent was initially carried out, the way it has been communicated at various given times, the layers of interpretation added with the various iterations and consequent “evolutions” of the work.
To go back briefly to the role of the curator, this is why I believe commissioning works is an interesting manner to foster a dialogue with the artists, so as to create good conditions for the transmission of work to future generations. This of course implies an evolution in the nature of the relationship between the institution and the artist, as well as a revision of the understanding of the notion of collecting.
RG: It is very common for curators to treat their work with "artistic inclination", that the job of curating is an art endeavor in and of itself. Artists are also becoming more involved in the curation of their own works, as well as their peers. Is there still a clear line today between curator and artist and what is the distinction?
BW: The role of the curator is undeniably evolving. There was a time when the curator was working with finished art works, made primarily by artists who she/he did not have to be in contact with, applying scholarly knowledge to create a frame for the work. Working with living artists, curators have eventually become editors of sorts, presenting selected works from an artistic career, establishing hierarchies between what they deem better and less good. More recently, the curatorial process has become the result of a dialogue between the curator and the artist, who most of the time becomes directly associated with the process of showing the work, even though the curator puts together the exhibition. The curator, however, never authors the artwork itself. She or he merely fosters the creation of a field of interpretation for it. I do not necessarily believe that artists can actually curate their own work, unless you understand the notion of curating as being specifically context-conscious.
Even in the case of instable media, where the artwork is in perpetual flux, and the relationship of the institution with the artist ongoing, at least as long as the artist is willing and/or able, the artist remains the author. The curator remains a facilitator, a dialogist, and a translator. She or he is also the guarantor of the intellectual integrity in the process of preservation and interpretation: the moment one of these works enter a public art collection, the curator and the artist become the actors of a dialogue or collaboration, which also involves preservation and conservation specialists, in order to ensure that each formal evolution of the work consequent to media updates does not affect the original artistic intent.
"... when visitors choose to enter a museum, they know what they're in for. But if art is coming to the street, one way or the other, it has to somehow morph into a more adaptable and fluid form, which reaches out and yet does not impose on the potential viewer. Since the Web is a public environment, one can easily see how the strategy is to reach out and offer an eclectic array of projects that investigate the medium and truly help to shape it." (Benjamin Weil, Gallery 9: AdaWeb)
The language of the Web provides a context which is non-static, and therefore, the medium is a more challenging but perhaps more powerful framework which a curator/artist must incorporate into the project. Is the Web, legalities aside, a more public space than the museum? Is the public nature of authorship on the Web, with its collaboratively constructed, open-source signification, a model that is entirely incompatible with the museum?
BW: A few years ago, I set myself to explore the notion of art in public space. I curated an exhibition of poster projects, which were shown in urban settings, fly posted by the very same people who put posters in the street. I recall having to research the specificity of local culture. In Cologne, where the show was first installed, I had to work with young musicians. They knew where to put the posters, how to make sure they did not get covered too quickly, what were the unspoken limits beyond which one could not go… Similarly, an exhibition of artists projects on the water buses in Venice (Italy) was an opportunity to find out how art in the real public space (in a way, maybe real is “unmapped”), how it could function without the shield of art. Online, it is a little bit the same thing… one can test the “cultural validity” of a project until it is deemed as art. This does not necessarily imply that being named art is anything else but creating a context to understand something that is décalé.
Public space is a very difficult notion to tackle. One thing we have learnt from the network, maybe, is the idea of public art that no longer needs to be a monument.
The notion of good art as good craftsmanship is something our western societies have lived with until very recently. One can probably trace the break to Duchamp, who somehow pronounces the “divide” between the notion of the artist as a good craftsman, and the artist as a thinker, an actionist, whose means to communicate are only as good as they help convey what she or he is trying to express. The artist coming out of that school of thoughts may cook one day, and do a film the next. She or he may publish a book, or take a car trip across the country. The notion of art as performance, or action, can merely be recorded; props can be conserved as relics. What this type of ephemeral proposition shed lights on is the importance of a cultural context for art. Art history provided this context, a classification, and a set of cultural tools to understand a given moment in history.
What we may realize by examining art history is that artists in fact always were creating with a large number of collaborators. The myth of the artist working alone, secluded is a modern myth. Prior to that, artists worked in studios, where they directed students and studio assistants to produce their work.
It is very difficult to do this without knowing exactly what we talk about when we say technology. Are we talking about a set of tools, are we talking about a process, a place?
There’s probably a multitude of answer to this ongoing question. In my mind, there’s no doubt, however, that we cannot avoid talking about community, production, and distribution, if we want to understand the dynamics between art and technology.
I do not think we are talking about technology only as a set of tools. Rather, as Gerfried Stocker points out in his introduction to the ARS electonica festival of this past year, it is about who makes art, how they make it, and where they make it, introducing a new set of skills, and hence, perspectives.
Above copied from: http://switch.sjsu.edu/nextswitch/switch_engine/front/front.php?artc=76
"Rules," as the popular saying has it, "are made to be broken."(1 ) They establish standards, guide behavior, and organize play, but in doing so, they expose the nature of the game. They prompt the player to think about the game and its rules and to ask, "Why is the game played this way?" The question is important to children and also to artists, and to others who may long to change the rules of the game. Children may change the rules of games to make their games easier to play, to gain some advantage, or perhaps to include or exclude certain individuals; they may change the rules to make a game more interesting or challenging or even more fair. The rules reveal and create a world, and players may want to imagine and experience an alternative. They see the game for what it is, and they want to change it. Artists do this when they modify games, and those who create art by modifying games do believe that the rules are made to be broken. The modification of analog and video games by artists reminds us that there is an art to modification and art in the modification.
Today, patrons can visit museums to see exhibits of Fluxus games from the 60's and 70's, but, unfortunately, they generally only see the games displayed; they do not play the games, and Fluxus games were designed to be played. An aspect of the life of the art is lost. Celia Pearce writes,
Fluxus games are to be played, and mere display deadens the art. As Pearce points out, those who play the game are "co-creators" of the art,(4) so without play the art is incomplete. Moreover, Fluxus games, which in a museum display are contextualized as objects of art are subverted by the context, for Fluxus games challenged the role and value of art as object. Video game modifications of recent times pose the same kind of challenge as Fluxus games: they are designed for play, not display. However, they have a feature that may well keep them from becoming "object-centric" and "commodity-based " art; they are not objects to begin with; games live in an electronic environment. To be observed, they must be active. Only the medium in which they are displayed—a computer—becomes the object. Most people already have the object on which video games are played, and they do need not visit a gallery space to experience a video game modification. It is possible for many to download and to play an artist's game modification from the Internet. Video game modifications today, in contrast to early Fluxus games, have the advantage of greater playability and availability.
Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans, "the Dadaists of Internet art" who collaborate as Jodi,(6) also modify games. One of their works, SOD, shown in the exhibit GAMESHOW, June 2001 to May 2002 at Mass MoCA, is a modification built using the Castle Wolfenstein gaming engine.7 In the modification, the artists have removed all of the recognizable elements of the game and have replaced them with black and white geometric shapes that create a new architecture and a new gaming environment that challenge the player's orientation as well as hinder navigation.
Feng Membo has focused on modifying the video game DOOM, these mods include Taking Mt Doom by Strategy, Q4U and AH_Q. The modifications reflect a variety of approaches: transforming the look of the characters in the game, changing how players interact with the game, and finally taking a studio approach by making large paintings that have been inspired by screenshots of the modified game. In Ah_Q, a modification of the first person shooter game DOOM, shown in the 2004 Ars Electronica exhibition in Linz, Austria, Membo has put his very own likeness into the game.(9) Users play the game as a shirtless Feng Membo holding a big gun in one hand and a mini DV camera in the other. To add to the confusion of play, all of the typical monsters in DOOM have also been replaced with Membo's likeness. The gore and shock of the game has also modified and increased by adding mirrors to the environment so that players will be able to watch themselves, or rather to watch the many likeness of Feng Membo, die. Membo has also replaced the keyboard and mouse with a Dance Dance Revolution controller: to kill, the player must "dance" so to speak. With these mods and through the use of "digital" clones, Membo is able to explore and question the concepts of online identity within the context of role-playing in a commercial environment amongst the violence of the game.(10)
By changing the controller, Membo transformed player into a performer. Video games themselves can be made into performance. More recently, video games have been coming out of the computer and out of the consol and have been moved into movies; some games are becoming contemporary performance art works. Roomba Frogger preformed by Make Magazine's Phillip Torrone and Eyebeam's Limor Fried was a live action game based on the 1981 video arcade game Frogger. During the performance, Torrone and Fried took a Roomba, an autonomous robot vacuum cleaner, which they had dressed in a green t-shirt to make it look like a frog, and reprogrammed the vacuum cleaner so that it could be controlled using a Bluetooth enabled laptop. They then let the Roomba loose on a busy street. The object of the game was for players to get the Roomba robot across the street safely, just as players would do in the original Frogger.(11) The game becomes a performance.
14th july 1916
Dada is a new tendency in art. One can tell this from the fact that until now nobody knew anything about it, and tomorrow everyone in Zurich will be talking about it. Dada comes from the dictionary. it is terribly simple. In French it means "hobby horse." In German it means "good-by," "Get off my back," "Be seeing you sometime." In Romanian: "Yes, indeed, you are right, that's it. But of course, yes, definitely, right." And so forth.
An international word. Just a word, and the word a movement. Very easy to understand. Quite terribly simple. To make of it an artistic tendency must mean that one is anticipating complications. Dada psychology, dada Germany cum indigestion and fog paroxysm, dada literature, dada bourgeoisie, and yourselves, honored poets, who are always writing with words but never writing the word itself, who are always writing around the actual point. Dada world war without end, dada revolution without beginning, dada, you friends and also-poets, esteemed sirs, manufacturers, and evangelists. Dada Tzara, dada Huelsenbeck, dada m'dada, dada m'dada dada mhm, dada dere dada, dada Hue, dada Tza.
How does one achieve eternal bliss? By saying dada. How does one become famous? By saying dada. With a noble gesture and delicate propriety. Till one goes crazy. Till one loses consciousness. How can one get rid of everything that smack of journalism, worms, everything nice and right, blinkered, moralistic, europeanized, enervated? By saying dada. Dada is the world soul, dada is the pawnshop. Dada is the world's best lily-milk soap. Dada Mr. Rubiner, dada Mr. Korrodi. Dada Mr. Anastasius Lilienstein.
In plain language: the hospitality of the Swiss is something to be profoundly appreciated. And in questions of aesthetics the key is quality.
I shall be reading poems that are meant to dispense with conventional language, no less, and to have done with it. Dada Johann Fuschgang Goethe, Dada Stendhal. Dada Dalai Lama, Buddha, Bible and Nietzsche. Dada m'dada. Dada mhm dada da. It's a question of connections, and of loosening them up a bit to start with. I don't want words that other people have invented. All the words are other people's inventions. I want my own stuff, my own rhythm, and vowels and consonants too, matching the rhythm and all my own. If this pulsation in seven yards long, I want words for it that are seven yards long. Mr. Schulz's words are only two and a half centimeters long.
It will serve to show how articulated language comes into being. I let the vowels fool around. I let the vowels quite simply occur, as a cat miaows... Words emerge, shoulders of words, legs, arms, hands of words. Au, oi, uh. One shouldn't let too many words out. A line of poetry is a chance to get rid of all the filth that clings to this accursed language, as if put there by stockbrokers' hands, hands worn smooth by coins. I want the word where it ends and begins. Dada is the heart of words.
Each thing has its word, but the word has become a thing by itself. Why shouldn't I find it? Why can't a tree be called Pluplusch, and Pluplubasch when it has been raining? The word, the word, the word outside your domain, your stuffiness, this laughable impotence, your stupendous smugness, outside all the parrotry of your self-evident limitedness. The word, gentlement, is a public concern of the first importance.
Copied from: http://www.391.org/manifestos/hugoball_dadamanifesto.htm
Dadaist Manifesto (Berlin)
The signatories of this manifesto have, under the battle cry
gathered together to put forward a new art from which they expect the realisation of new ideas. So what is DADAISM, then?
The word DADA symbolises the most primitive relationship with the surrounding reality; with Dadaism, a new reality comes into its own.
Life is seen in a simultaneous confusion of noises, colours and spiritual rhythms which in Dadaist art are immediately captured by the sensational shouts and fevers of its bold everyday psyche and in all its brutal reality. This is the dividing line between Dadaism and all other artistic trends and especially Futurism which fools have very recently interpreted as a new version of Impressionism.
For the first time, Dadaism has refused to take an aesthetic attitude towards life. It tears to pieces all those grand words like ethics, culture, interiorisation which are only covers for weak muscles.
THE BRUITIST POEM
describes a tramcar exactly as it is, the essence of a tramcar with the yawns of Mr Smith and the shriek of brakes.
THE SIMULTANEOUS POEM
teaches the interrelationship of things, while Mr Smith reads his paper, the Balkan express crosses the Nisch bridge and a pig squeals in the cellar of Mr Bones the butcher.
THE STATIC POEM
turns words into individuals. The letters of the word " wood " create the forest itself with the leafiness of its trees, the uniforms of the foresters and the wild boar. It could also create the Bellevue Boarding House or Bella Vista. Dadaism leads to fantastic new possibilities in forms of expression in all arts. It made Cubism into a dance on the stage, it spread the Futurist bruitist music all over Europe (for it had no desire to maintain this in its purely Italian context). The word DADA shows the international nature of a movement which is bound by no frontier, religion or profession. Dada is the international expression of our time, the great rebellion of artistic movements, the artistic reflexion of all those many attacks, peace congresses, scuffles in the vegetable markets, social get-togethers, etc., etc.
Dada demands the use of
NEW MATERIALS IN PAINTING
Dada is a club which has been founded in Berlin which you can join without any obligations. Here, every man is president and everyone has a vote in artistic matters. Dada is not some pretext to bolster up the pride of a few literary men (as our enemies would have the world believe). Dada is a state of mind which can be revealed in any conversation so that one is forced to say: "This man is a Dadaist, this one isn't." For these reasons, the Dada Club has members all over the world, in Honolulu as well as New Orleans and Meseritz. To be a Dadaist might sometimes mean being a businessman or a politician rather than an artist, being an artist only by accident. To be a Dadaist means being thrown around by events, being against sedimentation; it means sitting for a short instant in an armchair, but it also means putting your life in danger (M. Weng pulled his revolver out of his trouser pocket).... A fabric tears under the hand, one says yes to a life that seeks to grow by negation. Say yes, say no; the hurly- burly of existence is a good training ground for the real Dadaist. Here he is lying down, hunting, riding a bicycle, half Pantagruel, half St Francis, laughing and laughing. Down with aesthetic-ethical tendencies! Down with the anaemic abstraction of Expressionism! Down with the literary hollow-heads and their theories for improving the world!
Long live Dadaism in word and image! Long live the Dada events of this world! To be against this manifesto is to be a Dadaist!
Tristan Tzara, Franz Jung, George Grosz, Marcel Janco, Richard Hülsenbeck, Gerhard Preisz, Raoul Hausmann.
copied from: http://www.391.org/manifestos/191804dadaist.htm
The Futurist Sensibility
My Technical Manifesto of Futurist Literature, with which I invented essential and synthetic lyricism, imagination without strings, and words-in-freedom, deals exclusively with poetic inspiration.
Philosophy, the exact sciences, politics, journalism, education, business, however much they may seek synthetic forms of expression, will still need to use syntax and punctuation. I am obliged, for that matter, to use them myself in order to make myself clear to you.
Futurism is grounded in the complete renewal of human sensibility brought about by the great discoveries of science. Those people who today make use of the telegraph, the telephone, the phonograph, the train, the bicycle, the motorcycle, the automobile, the ocean liner, the dirigible, the aeroplane, the cinema, the great newspaper (synthesis of a day in the world’s life) do not realize that these various means of communication, transportation and information have a decisive influence on their psyches.
An ordinary man can in a day’s time travel by train from a little dead town of empty squares, where the sun, the dust, and the wind amuse themselves in silence, to a great capital city bristling with lights, gestures, and street cries. By reading a newspaper the inhabitant of a mountain village can tremble each day with anxiety, following insurrection in China, the London and New York suffragettes, Doctor Carrel, and the heroic dog-sleds of the polar explorers. The timid, sedentary inhabitant of any provincial town can indulge in the intoxication of danger by going to the movies and watching a great hunt in the Congo. He can admire Japanese athletes, Negro boxers, tireless American eccentrics, the most elegant Parisian women, by paying a franc to go to the variety theater. Then, back in his bourgeois bed, he can enjoy the distant, expensive voice of a Caruso or a Burzio.
Having become commonplace, these opportunities arouse no curiosity in superficial minds who are as incapable of grasping any novel facts as the Arabs who looked with indifference at the first aeroplanes in the sky of Tripoli. For the keen observer, however, these facts are important modifiers of our sensibility because they have caused the following significant phenomena:
Acceleration of life to today’s swift pace. Physical, intellectual, and sentimental equilibration on the cord of speed stretched between contrary magnetisms. Multiple and simultaneous awareness in a single individual.
Dread of the old and the known. Love of the new, the unexpected.
Dread of quiet living, love of danger, and an attitude of daily heroism.
Destruction of a sense of the Beyond and an increased value of the individual whose desire is vivre sa vie, in Bonnot’s phrase.
The multiplication and unbridling of human desires and ambitions.
An exact awareness of everything inaccessible and unrealizable in every person.
Semi-equality of man and woman and a lessening of the disproportion in their social rights.
Disdain for amore (sentimentality or lechery) produced by the greater freedom and erotic ease of women and by the universal exaggeration of female luxury. Let me explain: Today’s woman loves luxury more than love. A visit to a great dressmaker’s establishment, escorted by a paunchy, gouty banker friend who pays the bills, is a perfect substitute for the most amorous rendezvous with an adored young man. The woman finds all the mystery of love in the selection of an amazing ensemble, the latest model, which her friends still do not have. Men do not love women who lack luxury. The lover has lost all his prestige. Love has lost its absolute worth. A complex question; all I can do is to raise it.
A modification of patriotism, which now means a heroic idealization of the commercial, industrial, and artistic solidarity of a people.
A modification in the idea of war, which has become the necessary and bloody test of a people’s force.
The passion, art, and idealism of Business. New financial sensibility.
Man multiplied by the machine. New mechanical sense, a fusion of instinct with the efficiency of motors and conquered forces.
The passion, art, and idealism of Sport. Idea and love of the “record”.
New tourist sensibility bred by ocean liners and great hotels (annual synthesis of different races). Passion for the city. Negation of distances and nostalgic solitudes. Ridicule of the “holy green silence” and the ineffable landscape.
The earth shrunk by speed. New sense of the world. To be precise: One after the other, man will gain the sense of his home, of the quarter where he lives, of his region, and finally of the continent. Today he is aware of the whole world. He little needs to know what his ancestors did, but he must assiduously discover what his contemporaries are doing all over the world. The single man, therefore, must communicate with every people on earth. He must feel himself to be the axis, judge, and motor of the explored and unexplored infinite. Vast increase of a sense of humanity and a momentary urgent need to establish relations with all mankind.
A loathing of curved lines, spirals, and the tourniquet. Love for the straight line and the tunnel. The habit of visual foreshortening and visual synthesis caused by the speed of trains and cars that look down on cities and countrysides. Dread of slowness, pettiness, analysis, and detailed explanations. Love of speed, abbreviation, and the summary. “Quick, give me the whole thing in two words!”
Love of depth and essence in every exercise of the spirit.
So these are some elements of the new Futurist sensibility that has generated our pictorial dynamism, our antigraceful music in its free, irregular rhythms, our noise-art and our words-in-freedom.
Casting aside every stupid formula and all the confused verbalisms of the professors, I now declare that lyricism is the exquisite faculty of intoxicating oneself with life, of filling life with the inebriation of oneself. The faculty of changing into wine the muddy water of the life that swirls and engulfs us. The ability to color the world with the unique colors of our changeable selves.
Now suppose that a friend of yours gifted with this faculty finds himself in a zone of intense life (revolution, war, shipwreck, earthquake, and so on) and starts right away to tell you his impressions. Do you know what this lyric, excited friend of yours will instinctively do?
He will begin by brutally destroying the syntax of his speech. He wastes no time in building sentences. Punctuation and the right adjectives will mean nothing to him. He will despise subtleties and nuances of language. Breathlessly he will assault your nerves with visual, auditory, olfactory sensations, just as they come to him. The rush of steam-emotion will burst the sentence’s steampipe, the valves of punctuation, and the adjectival clamp. Fistfuls of essential words in no conventional order. Sole preoccupation of the narrator, to render every vibration of his being.
If the mind of this gifted lyrical narrator is also populated by general ideas, he will involuntarily bind up his sensations with the entire universe that he intuitively knows. And in order to render the true worth and dimensions of his lived life, he will cast immense nets of analogy across the world. In this way he will reveal the analogical foundation of life, telegraphically, with the same economical speed that the telegraph imposes on reporters and war correspondents in their swift reportings. This urgent laconism answers not only to the laws of speed that govern us but also to the rapport of centuries between poet and audience. Between poet and audience, in fact, the same rapport exists as between two old friends. They can make themselves understood with half a word, a gesture, a glance. So the poet’s imagination must weave together distant things with no connecting strings, by means of essential free words.
Death of free verse
Free verse once had countless reasons for existing but now is destined to be replaced by words-in-freedom.
The evolution of poetry and human sensibility has shown us the two incurable defects of free verse.
Free verse fatally pushes the poet towards facile sound effects, banal double meanings, monotonous cadences, a foolish chiming, and an inevitable echo-play, internal and external.
Free verse artificially channels the flow of lyric emotion between the high walls of syntax and the weirs of grammar. The free intuitive inspiration that addresses itself directly to the intuition of the ideal reader finds itself imprisoned and distributed like purified water for the nourishment of all fussy, restless intelligences.
When I speak of destroying the canals of syntax, I am neither categorical nor systematic. Traces of conventional syntax and even of true logical sentences will be found here and there in the words-in-freedom of my unchained lyricism. This inequality in conciseness and freedom is natural and inevitable. Since poetry is in truth only a superior, more concentrated and intense life than what we live from day to day, like the latter it is composed of hyper-alive elements and moribund elements.
We ought not, therefore, to be too much preoccupied with these elements. But we should at all costs avoid rhetoric and banalities telegraphically expressed.
The imagination without strings
By the imagination without strings I mean the absolute freedom of images or analogies, expressed with unhampered words and with no connecting strings of syntax and with no punctuation.
Up to now writers have been restricted to immediate analogies. For instance, they have compared an animal with a man or with another animal, which is almost the same as a kind of photography. (They have compared, for example, a fox terrier to a very small thoroughbred. Others, more advanced, might compare the same trembling fox terrier to a little Morse Code machine. I, on the other hand, compare it with gurgling water. In this there is an ever vaster gradation of analogies, there are ever deeper and more solid affinities, however remote.)
Analogy is nothing more than the deep love that assembles distant, seemingly diverse and hostile things. An orchestral style, at once polychromatic, polyphonic, and polymorphous, can embrace the life of matter only by means of the most extensive analogies.
When, in my Battle of Tripoli, I compared a trench bristling with bayonets to an orchestra, a machine gun to a femme fatale, I intuitively introduced a large part of the universe into a short episode of African battle.
Images are not flowers to be chosen and picked with parsimony, as Voltaire said. They are the very lifeblood of poetry. Poetry should be an uninterrupted sequence of new images, Or it is mere anemia and greensickness.
The broader their affinities, the longer will images keep their power to amaze.
—Technical Manifesto of Futurist Literature
The imagination without strings, and words-in-freedom, will bring us to the essence of material. As we discover new analogies between distant and apparently contrary things, we will endow them with an ever more intimate value. Instead of humanizing animals, vegetables, and minerals (an outmoded system) we will be able to animalize, vegetize, mineralize, electrify, or liquefy our style, making it live the life of material. For example, to represent the life of a blade of grass, I say, “Tomorrow I’ll be greener.”
With words-in-freedom we will have: Condensed metaphors. Telegraphic images. Maximum vibrations. Nodes of thought. Closed or open fans of movement. Compressed analogies. Color Balances. Dimensions, weights, measures, and the speed of sensations. The plunge of the essential word into the water of sensibility, minus the concentric circles that the word produces. Restful moments of intuition. Movements in two, three, four, five different rhythms. The analytic, exploratory poles that sustain the bundle of intuitive strings.
Death of the literary I
Molecular life and material
My technical manifesto opposed the obsessive I that up to now the poets have described, sung, analyzed, and vomited up. To rid ourselves of this obsessive I, we must abandon the habit of humanizing nature by attributing human passions and preoccupations to animals, plants, water, stone, and clouds. Instead we should express the infinite smallness that surrounds us, the imperceptible, the invisible, the agitation of atoms, the Brownian movements, all the passionate hypotheses and all the domains explored by the high-powered microscope. To explain: I want to introduce the infinite molecular life into poetry not as a scientific document but as an intuitive element. It should mix, in the work of art, with the infinitely great spectacles and dramas, because this fusion constitutes the integral synthesis of life.
To give some aid to the intuition of my ideal reader I use italics for all words-in-freedom that express the infinitely small and the molecular life.
Lighthouse-adjective or atmosphere-adjective
Everywhere we tend to suppress the qualifying adjective because it presupposes an arrest in intuition, too minute a definition of the noun. None of this is categorical. I speak of a tendency. We must make use of the adjective as little as possible and in a manner completely different from its use hitherto. One should treat adjectives like railway signals of style, employ them to mark the tempo, the retards and pauses along the way. So, too, with analogies. As many as twenty of these semaphoric adjectives might accumulate in this way.
What I call a semaphoric adjective, lighthouse-adjective, or atmosphere-adjective is the adjective apart from nouns, isolated in parentheses. This makes it a kind of absolute noun, broader and more powerful than the noun proper.
The semaphoric adjective or lighthouse-adjective, suspended on high in its glassed-in parenthetical cage, throws its far-reaching, probing light on everything around it.
The profile of this adjective crumbles, spreads abroad, illuminating, impregnating, and enveloping a whole zone of words-in-freedom. If, for instance, in an agglomerate of words-in-freedom describing a sea voyage I place the following semaphoric adjectives between parentheses: (calm, blue, methodical, habitual) not only the sea is calm, blue, methodical, habitual, but the ship, its machinery, the passengers. What I do and my very spirit are calm, blue, methodical, habitual.
The infinitive verb
Here, too, my pronouncements are not categorical. I maintain, however, that in a violent and dynamic lyricism the infinitive verb might well be indispensable. Round as a wheel, like a wheel adaptable to every car in the train of analogies, it constitutes the very speed of the style.
The infinitive in itself denies the existence of the sentence and prevents the style from slowing and stopping at a definite point. While the infinitive is round and as mobile as a wheel, the other moods and tenses of the verb are either triangular, square, or oval.
Onomatopoeia and mathematical symbols
When I said that we must spit on the Altar of Art, I incited the Futurists to liberate lyricism from the solemn atmosphere of compunction and incense that one normally calls by the name of Art with a capital A. Art with a capital A constitutes the clericalism of the creative spirit. I used this approach to incite the Futurists to destroy and mock the garlands, the palms, the aureoles, the exquisite frames, the mantles and stoles, the whole historical wardrobe and the romantic bric-a-brac that comprise a large part of all poetry up to now. I proposed instead a swift, brutal, and immediate lyricism, a lyricism that must seem antipoetic to all our predecessors, a telegraphic lyricism with no taste of the book about it but, rather, as much as possible of the taste of life. Beyond that the bold introduction of onomatopoetic harmonies to render all the sounds and noises of modern life, even the most cacophonic.
Onomatopoeia that vivifies lyricism with crude and brutal elements of reality was used in poetry (from Aristophanes to Pascoli) more or less timidly. We Futurists initiate the constant, audacious use of onomatopoeia. This should not be systematic. For instance, my Adrianople Siege-Orchestra and my Battle Weight + Smell required many onomatopoetic harmonies. Always with the aim of giving the greatest number of vibrations and a deeper synthesis of life, we abolish all stylistic bonds, all the bright buckles with which the traditional poets link images together in their prosody. Instead we employ the very brief or anonymous mathematical and musical symbols and we put between parentheses indications such as (fast) (faster) (slower) (two-beat time) to control the speed of the style. These parentheses can even cut into a word or an onomatopoetic harmony.
I initiate a typographical revolution aimed at the bestial, nauseating idea of the book of passéist and D’Annunzian verse, on seventeenth-century handmade paper bordered with helmets, Minervas, Apollos, elaborate red initials, vegetables, mythological missal ribbons, epigraphs, and roman numerals. The book must be the Futurist expression of our Futurist thought. Not only that. My revolution is aimed at the so-called typographical harmony of the page, which is contrary to the flux and reflux, the leaps and bursts of style that run through the page. On the same page, therefore, we will use three or four colors of ink, or even twenty different typefaces if necessary. For example: italics for a series of similar or swift sensations, boldface for the violent onomatopoeias, and so on. With this typographical revolution and this multicolored variety in the letters I mean to redouble the expressive force of words.
I oppose the decorative, precious aesthetic of Mallarmé and his search for the rare word, the one indispensable, elegant, suggestive, exquisite adjective. I do not want to suggest an idea or a sensation with passéist airs and graces. Instead I want to grasp them brutally and hurl them in the reader’s face.
Moreover, I combat Mallarmé’s static ideal with this typographical revolution that allows me to impress on the words (already free, dynamic, and torpedo-like) every velocity of the stars, the clouds, aeroplanes, trains, waves, explosives, globules of seafoam, molecules, and atoms.
Thus I realize the fourth principle of my First Futurist Manifesto: “We affirm that the world’s beauty is enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed.”
In addition, I have conceived multilinear lyricism, with which I succeed in reaching that lyric simultaneity that obsessed the Futurist painters as well: multilinear lyricism by means of which I am sure to achieve the most complex lyric simultaneities.
On several parallel lines, the poet will throw out several chains of color, sound, smell, noise, weight, thickness, analogy. One of these lines might, for instance, be olfactory, another musical, another pictorial.
Let us suppose that the chain of pictorial sensations and analogies dominates the others. In this case it will be printed in a heavier typeface than the second and third lines (one of them containing, for example, the chain of musical sensations and analogies, the other the chain of olfactory sensations and analogies).
Given a page that contains many bundles of sensations and analogies, each of which is composed of three or four lines, the chain of pictorial sensations and analogies (printed in boldface) will form the first line of the first bundle and will continue (always in the same type) on the first line of all the other bundles.
The chain of musical sensations and analogies, less important than the chain of pictorial sensations and analogies (first line) but more important than that of the olfactory sensations and analogies (third line), will be printed in smaller type than that of the first line and larger than that of the third.
Free expressive orthography
The historical necessity of free expressive orthography is demonstrated by the successive revolutions that have continuously freed the lyric powers of the human race from shackles and rules.
In fact, the poets began by channeling their lyric intoxication into a series of equal breaths, with accents, echoes, assonances, or rhymes at pre-established intervals (traditional metric). Then the poets varied these different measured breaths of their predecessors’ lungs with a certain freedom.
Later the poets realized that the different moments of their lyric intoxication had to create breaths suited to the most varied and surprising intervals, with absolute freedom of accentuation. Thus they arrived at free verse, but they still preserved the syntactic order of the words, so that the lyric intoxication could flow down to the listeners by the logical canal of syntax.
Today we no longer want the lyric intoxication to order the words syntactically before launching them forth with the breaths we have invented, and we have words-in-freedom. Moreover our lyric intoxication should freely deform, reflesh the words, cutting them short, stretching them out, reinforcing the center or the extremities, augmenting or diminishing the number of vowels and consonants. Thus we will have the new orthography that I call free expressive. This instinctive deformation of words corresponds to our natural tendency towards onomatopoeia. It matters little if the deformed word becomes ambiguous. It will marry itself to the onomatopoetic harmonies, or the noise-summaries, and will permit us soon to reach the onomatopoetic psychic harmony, the sonorous but abstract expression of an emotion or a pure thought. But one may object that my words-in-freedom, my imagination without strings, demand special speakers if they are to be understood. Although I do not care for the comprehension of the multitude, I will reply that the number of Futurist public speakers is increasing and that any admired traditional poem, for that matter, requires a special speaker if it is to be understood.
above copied from: http://www.unknown.nu/futurism/destruction.html
We had stayed up all night, my friends and I, under hanging mosque lamps with domes of filigreed brass, domes starred like our spirits, shining like them with the prisoned radiance of electric hearts. For hours we had trampled our atavistic ennui into rich oriental rugs, arguing up to the last confines of logic and blackening many reams of paper with our frenzied scribbling.
An immense pride was buoying us up, because we felt ourselves alone at that hour, alone, awake, and on our feet, like proud beacons or forward sentries against an army of hostile stars glaring down at us from their celestial encampments. Alone with stokers feeding the hellish fires of great ships, alone with the black spectres who grope in the red-hot bellies of locomotives launched on their crazy courses, alone with drunkards reeling like wounded birds along the city walls.
Suddenly we jumped, hearing the mighty noise of the huge double-decker trams that rumbled by outside, ablaze with colored lights, like villages on holiday suddenly struck and uprooted by the flooding Po and dragged over falls and through gourges to the sea.
Then the silence deepened. But, as we listened to the old canal muttering its feeble prayers and the creaking bones of sickly palaces above their damp green beards, under the windows we suddenly heard the famished roar of automobiles.
“Let’s go!” I said. “Friends, away! Let’s go! Mythology and the Mystic Ideal are defeated at last. We’re about to see the Centaur’s birth and, soon after, the first flight of Angels!... We must shake at the gates of life, test the bolts and hinges. Let’s go! Look there, on the earth, the very first dawn! There’s nothing to match the splendor of the sun’s red sword, slashing for the first time through our millennial gloom!”
We went up to the three snorting beasts, to lay amorous hands on their torrid breasts. I stretched out on my car like a corpse on its bier, but revived at once under the steering wheel, a guillotine blade that threatened my stomach.
The raging broom of madness swept us out of ourselves and drove us through streets as rough and deep as the beds of torrents. Here and there, sick lamplight through window glass taught us to distrust the deceitful mathematics of our perishing eyes.
I cried, “The scent, the scent alone is enough for our beasts.”
And like young lions we ran after Death, its dark pelt blotched with pale crosses as it escaped down the vast violet living and throbbing sky.
But we had no ideal Mistress raising her divine form to the clouds, nor any cruel Queen to whom to offer our bodies, twisted like Byzantine rings! There was nothing to make us wish for death, unless the wish to be free at last from the weight of our courage!
And on we raced, hurling watchdogs against doorsteps, curling them under our burning tires like collars under a flatiron. Death, domesticated, met me at every turn, gracefully holding out a paw, or once in a while hunkering down, making velvety caressing eyes at me from every puddle.
“Let’s break out of the horrible shell of wisdom and throw ourselves like pride-ripened fruit into the wide, contorted mouth of the wind! Let’s give ourselves utterly to the Unknown, not in desperation but only to replenish the deep wells of the Absurd!”
The words were scarcely out of my mouth when I spun my car around with the frenzy of a dog trying to bite its tail, and there, suddenly, were two cyclists coming towards me, shaking their fists, wobbling like two equally convincing but nevertheless contradictory arguments. Their stupid dilemma was blocking my way—Damn! Ouch!... I stopped short and to my disgust rolled over into a ditch with my wheels in the air...
O maternal ditch, almost full of muddy water! Fair factory drain! I gulped down your nourishing sludge; and I remembered the blessed black beast of my Sudanese nurse... When I came up—torn, filthy, and stinking—from under the capsized car, I felt the white-hot iron of joy deliciously pass through my heart!
A crowd of fishermen with handlines and gouty naturalists were already swarming around the prodigy. With patient, loving care those people rigged a tall derrick and iron grapnels to fish out my car, like a big beached shark. Up it came from the ditch, slowly, leaving in the bottom, like scales, its heavy framework of good sense and its soft upholstery of comfort.
They thought it was dead, my beautiful shark, but a caress from me was enough to revive it; and there it was, alive again, running on its powerful fins!
And so, faces smeared with good factory muck—plastered with metallic waste, with senseless sweat, with celestial soot—we, bruised, our arms in slings, but unafraid, declared our high intentions to all the living of the earth:
Manifesto of Futurism
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.
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 is from Italy that we launch through the world this violently upsetting incendiary manifesto of ours. With it, today, we establish Futurism, because we want to free this land from its smelly gangrene of professors, archaeologists, ciceroni and antiquarians. For too long has Italy been a dealer in second-hand clothes. We mean to free her from the numberless museums that cover her like so many graveyards.
Museums: cemeteries!... Identical, surely, in the sinister promiscuity of so many bodies unknown to one another. Museums: public dormitories where one lies forever beside hated or unknown beings. Museums: absurd abattoirs of painters and sculptors ferociously slaughtering each other with color-blows and line-blows, the length of the fought-over walls!
That one should make an annual pilgrimage, just as one goes to the graveyard on All Souls’ Day—that I grant. That once a year one should leave a floral tribute beneath the Gioconda, I grant you that... But I don’t admit that our sorrows, our fragile courage, our morbid restlessness should be given a daily conducted tour through the museums. Why poison ourselves? Why rot?
And what is there to see in an old picture except the laborious contortions of an artist throwing himself against the barriers that thwart his desire to express his dream completely?... Admiring an old picture is the same as pouring our sensibility into a funerary urn instead of hurtling it far off, in violent spasms of action and creation.
Do you, then, wish to waste all your best powers in this eternal and futile worship of the past, from which you emerge fatally exhausted, shrunken, beaten down?
In truth I tell you that daily visits to museums, libraries, and academies (cemeteries of empty exertion, Calvaries of crucified dreams, registries of aborted beginnings!) are, for artists, as damaging as the prolonged supervision by parents of certain young people drunk with their talent and their ambitious wills. When the future is barred to them, the admirable past may be a solace for the ills of the moribund, the sickly, the prisoner... But we want no part of it, the past, we the young and strong Futurists!
So let them come, the gay incendiaries with charred fingers! Here they are! Here they are!... Come on! set fire to the library shelves! Turn aside the canals to flood the museums!... Oh, the joy of seeing the glorious old canvases bobbing adrift on those waters, discolored and shredded!... Take up your pickaxes, your axes and hammers and wreck, wreck the venerable cities, pitilessly!
The oldest of us is thirty: so we have at least a decade for finishing our work. When we are forty, other younger and stronger men will probably throw us in the wastebasket like useless manuscripts—we want it to happen!
They will come against us, our successors, will come from far away, from every quarter, dancing to the winged cadence of their first songs, flexing the hooked claws of predators, sniffing doglike at the academy doors the strong odor of our decaying minds, which will have already been promised to the literary catacombs.
But we won’t be there... At last they’ll find us—one winter’s night—in open country, beneath a sad roof drummed by a monotonous rain. They’ll see us crouched beside our trembling aeroplanes in the act of warming our hands at the poor little blaze that our books of today will give out when they take fire from the flight of our images.
They’ll storm around us, panting with scorn and anguish, and all of them, exasperated by our proud daring, will hurtle to kill us, driven by a hatred the more implacable the more their hearts will be drunk with love and admiration for us.
Injustice, strong and sane, will break out radiantly in their eyes.
Art, in fact, can be nothing but violence, cruelty, and injustice.
The oldest of us is thirty: even so we have already scattered treasures, a thousand treasures of force, love, courage, astuteness, and raw will-power; have thrown them impatiently away, with fury, carelessly, unhesitatingly, breathless, and unresting... Look at us! We are still untired! Our hearts know no weariness because they are fed with fire, hatred, and speed!... Does that amaze you? It should, because you can never remember having lived! Erect on the summit of the world, once again we hurl our defiance at the stars!
You have objections?—Enough! Enough! We know them... We’ve understood!... Our fine deceitful intelligence tells us that we are the revival and extension of our ancestors—Perhaps!... If only it were so!—But who cares? We don’t want to understand!... Woe to anyone who says those infamous words to us again!
Lift up your heads!
Erect on the summit of the world, once again we hurl defiance to the stars!
above copied from: http://www.unknown.nu/futurism/manifesto.html
15th november 1916
The book, a wholly passéist means of preserving and communicating thought, has for a long time been fated to disappear like cathedrals, towers, crenellated walls, museums, and the pacifist ideal. The book, static companion of the sedentary, the nostalgic, the neutralist, cannot entertain or exalt the new Futurist generations intoxicated with revolutionary and bellicose dynamism.
The conflagration is steadily enlivening the European sensibility. Our great hygienic war, which should satisfy all our national aspirations, centuples the renewing power of the Italian race. The Futurist cinema, which we are preparing, a joyful deformation of the universe, an alogical, fleeting synthesis of life in the world, will become the best school for boys: a school of joy, of speed, of force, of courage, and heroism. The Futurist cinema will sharpen, develop the sensibility, will quicken the creative imagination, will give the intelligence a prodigious sense of simultaneity and omnipresence. The Futurist cinema will thus cooperate in the general renewal, taking the place of the literary review (always pedantic) and the drama (always predictable), and killing the book (always tedious and oppressive). The necessities of propaganda will force us to publish a book once in a while. But we prefer to express ourselves through the cinema, through great tables of words-in-freedom and mobile illuminated signs.
With our manifesto “The Futurist Synthetic Theatre”, with the victorious tours of the theatre companies of Gualtiero Tumiati, Ettore Berti, Annibale Ninchi, Luigi Zoncada, with the two volumes of Futurist Synthetic Theatre containing eighty theatrical syntheses, we have begun the revolution in the Italian prose theatre. An earlier Futurist manifesto had rehabilitated, glorified, and perfected the Variety Theatre. It is logical therefore for us to carry our vivifying energies into a new theatrical zone: the cinema.
At first look the cinema, born only a few years ago, may seem to be Futurist already, lacking a past and free from traditions. Actually, by appearing in the guise of theatre without words, it has inherited all the most traditional sweepings of the literary theatre. Consequently, everything we have said and done about the stage applies to the cinema. Our action is legitimate and necessary in so far as the cinema up to now has been and tends to remain profoundly passéist, whereas we see in it the possibility of an eminently Futurist art and the expressive medium most adapted to the complex sensibility of a Futurist artist.
Except for interesting films of travel, hunting, wars, and so on, the film-makers have done no more than inflict on us the most backward looking dramas, great and small. The same scenario whose brevity and variety may make it seem advanced is, in most cases, nothing but the most trite and pious analysis. Therefore all the immense artistic possibilities of the cinema still rest entirely in the future. The cinema is an autonomous art. The cinema must therefore never copy the stage. The cinema, being essentially visual, must above all fulfill the evolution of painting, detach itself from reality, from photography, from the graceful and solemn. It must become antigraceful, deforming, impressionistic, synthetic, dynamic, free-wording.
One must free the cinema as an expressive medium in order to make it the ideal instrument of a new art, immensely vaster and lighter than all the existing arts. We are convinced that only in this way can one reach that polyexpressiveness towards which all the most modern artistic researches are moving. Today the Futurist cinema creates precisely the polyexpressive symphony that just a year ago we announced in our manifesto “Weights, Measures, and Prices of Artistic Genius”. The most varied elements will enter into the Futurist film as expressive means: from the slice of life to the streak of color, from the conventional line to words-in-freedom, from chromatic and plastic music to the music of objects. In other words it will be painting, architecture, sculpture, words-in-freedom, music of colors, lines, and forms, a jumble of objects and reality thrown together at random. We shall offer new inspirations for the researches of painters, which will tend to break out of the limits of the frame. We shall set in motion the words-in-freedom that smash the boundaries of literature as they march towards painting, music, noise-art, and throw a marvelous bridge between the word and the real object.
Our films will be:
Cinematic analogies that use reality directly as one of the two elements of the analogy. Example: If we should want to express the anguished state of one of our protagonists, instead of describing it in its various phases of suffering, we would give an equivalent impression with the sight of a jagged and cavernous mountain.
The mountains, seas, woods, cities, crowds, armies, squadrons, aeroplanes will often be our formidable expressive words: the universe will be our vocabulary. Example: We want to give a sensation of strange cheerfulness: we show a chair cover flying comically around an enormous coat stand until they decide to join. We want to give the sensation of anger: we fracture the angry man into a whirlwind of little yellow balls. We want to give the anguish of a hero who has lost his faith and lapsed into a dead neutral skepticism: we show the hero in the act of making an inspired speech to a great crowd; suddenly we bring on Giovanni Giolitti who treasonably stuffs a thick forkful of macaroni into the hero’s mouth, drowning his winged words in tomato sauce.
We shall add color to the dialogue by swiftly, simultaneously showing every image that passes through the actors’ brains. Example: representing a man who will say to his woman: “You’re as lovely as a gazelle,” we shall show the gazelle. Example: if a character says, “I contemplate your fresh and luminous smile as a traveler after a long rough trip contemplates the sea from high on a mountain,” we shall show traveler, sea, mountain.
This is how we shall make our characters as understandable as if they talked.
Cinematic poems, speeches, and poetry. We shall make all of their component images pass across the screen.
Example: “Canto dell’amore” [Song of Love] by Giosuè Carducci:
In their German strongholds perched
Like falcons meditating the hunt
We shall show the strongholds, the falcons in ambush.
From the churches that raise long marble
arms to heaven, in prayer to God
Prom the convents between villages and towns
crouching darkly to the sound of bells
like cuckoos among far-spaced trees
singing boredoms and unexpected joys...
We shall show churches that little by little are changed into imploring women, God beaming down from on high, the convents, the cuckoos, and so on.
Example: “Sogno d’Estate” [Summer’s Dream] by Giosuè Carducci:
Among your ever-sounding strains of battle, Homer, I am conquered by
the warm hour: I bow my head in sleep on Scamander’s bank, but my
heart flees to the Tyrrhenian Sea.
We shall show Carducci wandering amid the tumult of the Achaians, deftly avoiding the galloping horses, paying his respects to Homer, going for a drink with Ajax to the inn, The Red Scamander, and at the third glass of wine his heart, whose palpitations we ought to see, Pops out of his jacket like a huge red balloon and flies over the Gulf Of Rapallo. This is how we make films out of the most secret movements of genius.
Thus we shall ridicule the works of the passéist poets, transforming to the great benefit of the public the most nostalgically monotonous weepy poetry into violent, exciting, and highly exhilarating spectacles.
Cinematic simultaneity and interpenetration of different times and places. We shall project two or three different visual episodes at the same time, one next to the other.
Cinematic musical researches (dissonances, harmonies, symphonies of gestures, events, colors, lines, etc.).
Dramatized states of mind on film.
Daily exercises in freeing ourselves from mere photographed logic.
Filmed dramas of objects. (Objects animated, humanized, baffled, dressed up, impassioned, civilized, dancing—objects removed from their normal surroundings and put into an abnormal state that, by contrast, throws into relief their amazing construction and nonhuman life.)
Show windows of filmed ideas, events, types, objects, etc.
Congresses, flirts, fights and marriages of funny faces, mimicry, etc. Example: a big nose that silences a thousand congressional fingers by ringing an ear, while two policemen’s moustaches arrest a tooth.
Filmed unreal reconstructions of the human body.
Filmed dramas of disproportion (a thirsty man who pulls out a tiny drinking straw that lengthens umbilically as far as a lake and dries it up instantly).
Potential dramas and strategic plans of filmed feelings.
Linear, plastic, chromatic equivalences, etc., of men, women, events, thoughts, music, feelings, weights, smells, noises (with white lines on black we shall show the inner, physical rhythm of a husband who discovers his wife in adultery and chases the lover - rhythm of soul and rhythm of legs).
Filmed words-in-freedom in movement (synoptic tables of Iyric values—dramas of humanized or animated letters—orthographic dramas—typographical dramas—geometric dramas—numeric sensibility, etc.).
Painting + sculpture + plastic dynamism + words-in-freedom + composed noises [intonarumori] + architecture + synthetic theatre = Futurist cinema.
This is how we decompose and recompose the universe according to our marvelous whims, to centuple the powers of the Italian creative genius and its absolute preeminence in the world.
Copied from: http://www.391.org/manifestos/marinetti_futuristcinema.htm