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Beyond Anarchism Marinetti, Futurism, Futurist Anarchism University College of London (UK), dept. of Italian, 3.12.2008 Marja Härmänmaa, University of.

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Presentation on theme: "Beyond Anarchism Marinetti, Futurism, Futurist Anarchism University College of London (UK), dept. of Italian, 3.12.2008 Marja Härmänmaa, University of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Beyond Anarchism Marinetti, Futurism, Futurist Anarchism University College of London (UK), dept. of Italian, Marja Härmänmaa, University of Helsinki, Finland / University of Cambridge, Clare Hall College

2 ”A visit” In 1865 Mikhail Bakunin went to Naples In 1865 Mikhail Bakunin went to Naples Creation of Bakunin’s Anarchist ideology Creation of Bakunin’s Anarchist ideology Foundation of Anarchist movement in Italy Foundation of Anarchist movement in Italy –In 1900 the murder of King Umberto I

3 Conceptualization of Futurist Anarchism Social utopia of Futurism? Social utopia of Futurism? The social meaning of Art? The social meaning of Art? The role of the artist in society? The role of the artist in society?

4 Italy cradle of Anarchism Mikhail Bakunin (1814 – 1876) Mikhail Bakunin (1814 – 1876) Errico Malatesta ( ) Errico Malatesta ( ) Economically a poor country Economically a poor country Disappointment of unification Disappointment of unification Corruption of the political class Corruption of the political class Cultural and political anarchism Cultural and political anarchism –D’Annunzio –Gian Pietro Lucini

5 Political radicalism & artistic anarchism Associated around the mid 19th century Associated around the mid 19th century Changed artistic institution Changed artistic institution New autonomy of arts and artists New autonomy of arts and artists Critique of middle class society and its materialistic values Critique of middle class society and its materialistic values France: Symbolism and Impressionism France: Symbolism and Impressionism

6 Marinetti’s early social interests Le Roi Bombance (1905) Le Roi Bombance (1905) –Social revolution (led by the socialists Filippo Turati and Antonio Labriola) Before the IWW Before the IWW –Against the politics of Giolitti –Connections with extra pariamentary groups – George Sorel and the theory of the use of violence

7 Marinetti and Anarchism Theme of ’destruction’ in the first works Theme of ’destruction’ in the first works –La conquête des étoiles (1902) –Destruction (1904) In Paris in contact with the Anarchists In Paris in contact with the Anarchists Abbaye de Créteil, utopistic community of anarchist artists Abbaye de Créteil, utopistic community of anarchist artists

8 Futurist anarchy Foundation of Futurism (1909): Foundation of Futurism (1909): – ”the most aggressive revolt of the modern man towards the past and the present time” Artistic anarchism Artistic anarchism Against the artistic tradition Against the artistic tradition Rupture of the artistic tradition in Modernism (partly) caused by the diffusion of anarchist ideas in arts Rupture of the artistic tradition in Modernism (partly) caused by the diffusion of anarchist ideas in arts

9 ”Conferenza su l’amore del pericolo e l’eroismo quotidiano” (1910) “E voi, forse, non avete ancora un concetto esatto di ciò che siamo e di quel che vogliamo. Immaginate nella malinconica e stagnante repubblica delle lettere e delle arti un gruppo di giovani assolutamente ribelle e demolitore che stanco di adorare il passato, nauseato dal pedantismo accademico, avido di originalità temeraria e anelante verso una vita avventurosa, energica e quotidianamente eroica, sgombrare l’anima italiana da quel amasso [sic] di pregiudizi di luoghi comuni, di rispetti e di venerazioni che noi chiamiamo il passatismo. Insomma: degli anarchici in arte, ecco che cosa sono i futuristi.” “E voi, forse, non avete ancora un concetto esatto di ciò che siamo e di quel che vogliamo. Immaginate nella malinconica e stagnante repubblica delle lettere e delle arti un gruppo di giovani assolutamente ribelle e demolitore che stanco di adorare il passato, nauseato dal pedantismo accademico, avido di originalità temeraria e anelante verso una vita avventurosa, energica e quotidianamente eroica, sgombrare l’anima italiana da quel amasso [sic] di pregiudizi di luoghi comuni, di rispetti e di venerazioni che noi chiamiamo il passatismo. Insomma: degli anarchici in arte, ecco che cosa sono i futuristi.”

10 Reasons to deny the past Judeo-christian conception of linear time Judeo-christian conception of linear time Advent of the “macchina” had broken the chain of linear time Advent of the “macchina” had broken the chain of linear time Beginning of a new era Beginning of a new era Past did not exist Past did not exist

11 ”Prefazione futurista a ’Revolverate’ di Gian Pietro Lucini” (1910) ”Il presente non mai come in questi tempi apparve staccato dalla catena genetica del passato, figlio di sé stesso e generatore formidabile delle potenze future” ”Il presente non mai come in questi tempi apparve staccato dalla catena genetica del passato, figlio di sé stesso e generatore formidabile delle potenze future”

12 Versions of Anarchism Enlightenment Enlightenment –William Godwin (1756 – 1836) –Peter Kropotkin (1842 – 1921) –A perfect society  communism Romanticism Romanticism –Mikhail Bakunin (1814 – 1876) –Max Stirner (1806 – 1856) –Individual anarchism

13 Individual Anarchism Max Stirner: Max Stirner: –Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum (1844) No interest towards society nor towards the arts No interest towards society nor towards the arts Importance of the individual as ’ego’ against everything Importance of the individual as ’ego’ against everything All social institutions (government, church..) are artificial concepts and thus false authorities All social institutions (government, church..) are artificial concepts and thus false authorities

14 Individual aestheticism Artist produces his uniqueness in art Artist produces his uniqueness in art Individualist makes art out of his own personality Individualist makes art out of his own personality Egoist makes art to promote himself Egoist makes art to promote himself Partly explains the heterogeneity of modernist culture Partly explains the heterogeneity of modernist culture

15 ’Futurism’ as a work of art In order to promote Marinetti In order to promote Marinetti Absolute leader of the movement Absolute leader of the movement Mafarka il futurista (1910) Mafarka il futurista (1910) –Mafarka = Marinetti –Gazourmah = Futurism

16 Nihilism of Cultural modernism Matei Calinescu: Matei Calinescu: Otherness and change important Otherness and change important Tradition of ”antitradition” Tradition of ”antitradition” Future way out of rotten present, son of the past Future way out of rotten present, son of the past When future moment is reached, it becomes present moment When future moment is reached, it becomes present moment Continuous destruction / rejection Continuous destruction / rejection

17 Futurist nichilism in arts Faith in progress Faith in progress Guerra sola igiene del mondo (1915) Guerra sola igiene del mondo (1915) –”Abbiate fiducia nel progresso, che ha sempre ragione, anche quando ha torto, perché è il movimento, la vita, la lotta, la speranza.” Principle of eternal development Principle of eternal development Nothing is supposed to last Nothing is supposed to last Works of art are to be destroyed when they are ready Works of art are to be destroyed when they are ready

18 L’Aeroplano del Papa (1912) ”Sono incessantemente commisto alle mie scorie. ”Sono incessantemente commisto alle mie scorie. La mia vita è la fusione perpetua dei miei frantumi. Distruggo per creare ed ancora distruggo per modellare statue tonanti che subito spezzo con lo schifo e il terrore di vederle durare!”

19 Futurist nichilism in politics Before WW1 no social utopia Before WW1 no social utopia Principle of the eternal development Principle of the eternal development Ideal: the everlasting state of war Ideal: the everlasting state of war ”War, world’s sole hygiene” ”War, world’s sole hygiene”

20 Futurist political activity Marinetti’s growing interest towards politics after WW1 Marinetti’s growing interest towards politics after WW1 First political manifesto (1913) First political manifesto (1913) Futurist political party (1918) Futurist political party (1918) Democrazia futurista (1919) Democrazia futurista (1919) Al di là del comunismo (1920) Al di là del comunismo (1920)

21 Modernizing Italy Abolition of Pope, monarchy, parliament and marriage Abolition of Pope, monarchy, parliament and marriage A government of technicians in power with a council of Young people A government of technicians in power with a council of Young people 8-hours working day 8-hours working day

22 ”Futurist Anarchist State” Final result of the political program Final result of the political program An apolitical anarchistic utopia An apolitical anarchistic utopia No class struggle No class struggle ”Al di là del comunismo” ”Al di là del comunismo” Instead of the proletariat, a spiritual aristocracy that has the right to realize the Italian revolution Instead of the proletariat, a spiritual aristocracy that has the right to realize the Italian revolution

23 ”Artecrazia” Jean Grave (1854 – 1939) Jean Grave (1854 – 1939) La societé mourante et l’anarchie (1892) La societé mourante et l’anarchie (1892) Anarchy is art Anarchy is art Art = supreme form of individualism Art = supreme form of individualism The main duty of an anarchist society is to produce culture The main duty of an anarchist society is to produce culture Oscar Wilde Oscar Wilde

24 D’Annunzio and Fiume The Republic of Fiume ( ) The Republic of Fiume ( ) La Carta del Carnaro La Carta del Carnaro Free university Free university Academy of fine arts Academy of fine arts Schools of music Schools of music In every municipality an orchestra and a choir subsidized by the State and giving free concerts In every municipality an orchestra and a choir subsidized by the State and giving free concerts

25 Marinetti’s version Al di là del comunismo (1920) Al di là del comunismo (1920) ”Art is an alcohol that gives optimism to citizens” ”Art is an alcohol that gives optimism to citizens” Number of artists must increase -> race of artists Number of artists must increase -> race of artists In every city a centre of genius In every city a centre of genius Every month new exhibitions of art and poetry readings. Every month new exhibitions of art and poetry readings. Music: in every piazza a choir and an orchestra Music: in every piazza a choir and an orchestra Life must become a work of art Life must become a work of art

26 Goodbye, anarchy! ”Il Futurismo è un movimento schiettamente artistico ed ideologico. Interviene nelle lotte politiche soltanto nelle ore di grave pericolo per la Nazione.” (Futurismo e Fascismo, 1924) ”Il Futurismo è un movimento schiettamente artistico ed ideologico. Interviene nelle lotte politiche soltanto nelle ore di grave pericolo per la Nazione.” (Futurismo e Fascismo, 1924)

27 Avant-garde and totalitarianism Mussolini in power in 1922 Mussolini in power in 1922 Changed position of Futurism from antagonism to collaboration with the State Changed position of Futurism from antagonism to collaboration with the State Important position in the artistic life of the Fascist Italy (Venice Biennale…) Important position in the artistic life of the Fascist Italy (Venice Biennale…) Marinetti member of l’Accademia d’Italia Marinetti member of l’Accademia d’Italia Marinetti wrote 2-3 articles in the Italian Encyclopedia about Futurism Marinetti wrote 2-3 articles in the Italian Encyclopedia about Futurism Marinetti a special propagandist of the State in case of war Marinetti a special propagandist of the State in case of war

28 Anarchist art Difficult to define Difficult to define Artistic anarchy towards society? Artistic anarchy towards society? Artistic anarchy within the tradition of art? Artistic anarchy within the tradition of art? Kropotkin and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: Kropotkin and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: –Art must serve the revolution –Documentary meaning: Social realism

29 Fascist art policy Discussion started immediately when Mussolini became prime minister Discussion started immediately when Mussolini became prime minister Futurists wanted a strict artistic policy Futurists wanted a strict artistic policy Political dictatorship – artistic dictatorship Political dictatorship – artistic dictatorship Futurism as the official art of Fascism Futurism as the official art of Fascism Futurism had collaborated in the foundation of Fascism (1919) Futurism had collaborated in the foundation of Fascism (1919) Fascist Italy a modern State – a need of a modern art Fascist Italy a modern State – a need of a modern art

30 Art and anarchist society Kropotkin: Kropotkin: –Artist represented the conscience of humanity –Artist was able to change social reality

31 Futurist art and society Marinetti: Marinetti: –”art and literature have an enormous influence upon society” –Art as a tool of social activity –Rejection of the conception ”art for art’s sake” –Social role of artist –Social role of arts

32 ”Arte – vita” Introduction of life in arts Introduction of life in arts –Easy to understand –Art in direct contact with life (antiacademic) Profanation of the Enlightened middle-class concept of ”sublime art” Profanation of the Enlightened middle-class concept of ”sublime art” –Create corageously ”ugly” –Spite on the althare of the arts Abolition of the boundaries between art – non art Abolition of the boundaries between art – non art –New art forms: cuisine –New elements to arts: sport

33 Futurists and the Fascist art Impossibility to detach from the socio- political reality: Impossibility to detach from the socio- political reality: –”The political spirit that Mussolini has created is so impressive that the artists could not escape its influence.” The propagandistic aim of art: The propagandistic aim of art: –”Art must serve a universal, political or nationalistic aim.”

34 Aerofuturism Glorification of the airplanes and aviation Glorification of the airplanes and aviation Propaganda of the technological progress of Italy Propaganda of the technological progress of Italy Nationalistic reasons Nationalistic reasons The spiritual element of flight: non- materialistic dimension of technology The spiritual element of flight: non- materialistic dimension of technology

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36 Gerardo Dottori: Aeropittura, 1930’s

37 Aeropittura di Tato, Dinamismo aereo, 1930’s

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39 ”Some strategies to disturb the order” Anarchism = antagonistic ideology Anarchism = antagonistic ideology Avant-garde = aesthetic dimension Avant-garde = aesthetic dimension Terrorism = strategy of realization Terrorism = strategy of realization

40 Anarchism, now? Italy: reorganization of the anarchist movement in 1945 (Federazione anarchica italiana, FAI) Italy: reorganization of the anarchist movement in 1945 (Federazione anarchica italiana, FAI) Wikipedia: anarcho-capitalism, green anarchism, anarca-feminism, anarco- primitivism… Wikipedia: anarcho-capitalism, green anarchism, anarca-feminism, anarco- primitivism…

41 Bourgeois anarchy Internet: cradle of anarchism, no authority Internet: cradle of anarchism, no authority Collapse of Soviet Union Collapse of Soviet Union Growing power of multi-national enterprises Growing power of multi-national enterprises Nation States’ diminishing power Nation States’ diminishing power ”Umanità cammina verso l’individualismo anarchico, mèta e sogno d’ogni spirito forte” (Marinetti, 1920) ”Umanità cammina verso l’individualismo anarchico, mèta e sogno d’ogni spirito forte” (Marinetti, 1920)

42 Futurist Anarchism now ( )? Marinetti’s anarchist strategy Marinetti’s anarchist strategy –Colourful language –Artistic and extra-artistic manifestations Aiming at getting attention and at hiding a mediocre writer Aiming at getting attention and at hiding a mediocre writer Model of the modern intellectual Model of the modern intellectual Television series (The Idols) Television series (The Idols) Politics (Berlusconi, Lega Nord) Politics (Berlusconi, Lega Nord)

43 Thanks! ”In everyone of us there is a little Anarchist… at least occasionally!” (M.H.)


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