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Futurism I 5/12/14 Dr. Susan Solomon T AKE NOTES ON : Avant-garde historicity and aesthetics Manifesto form Originality, Repetition, Neoprimitivism Futurist.

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Presentation on theme: "Futurism I 5/12/14 Dr. Susan Solomon T AKE NOTES ON : Avant-garde historicity and aesthetics Manifesto form Originality, Repetition, Neoprimitivism Futurist."— Presentation transcript:

1 Futurism I 5/12/14 Dr. Susan Solomon T AKE NOTES ON : Avant-garde historicity and aesthetics Manifesto form Originality, Repetition, Neoprimitivism Futurist Language – Speed, Flight, and Language – Rationality, Intuition, Zaum – Materiality of Bodies, Images, and Sounds

2 Review: “Modernity” Baudelaire’s modernity is an awareness of history and change as such – what we might call ‘historicity’ “Modernity is the transient, the fleeting, the contingent; it is one half of art, the other being the eternal and the immutable.”

3 Avant-garde in French, “front guard” in the English language as a military term for the frontline since the 15 th century (Oxford English Dictionary) acquires its application to art movements in the early 20 th century. pioneering, innovating, following no one

4 Impermanent Art “… expressionism, constructivism, futurism, cubism, atonality, surrealism—as empty, banal, and programmatic as they appear— may remind you of that shock as it was manifested at the time those artistic tendencies were emerging” Theodor Adorno, “Why is the New Art So Hard to Understand” 127

5 Review: “Modernity” For Baudelaire, art by definition arrests (‘stops’) what it represents, even when it represents that which moves or changes (i.e., ‘the modern’); a fully modern art is impossible. For the avant-garde, art is redefined, a fully modern art is attempted. Art’s subject, form, and informing principles are unstable, indeterminate, and historically contingent There is nothing eternal about avant-garde art. For the avant-garde, there is nothing eternal about traditional art either. It is outdated.

6 Founding Manifesto of Futurism, 1909 “We intend to destroy musuems, libraries, academies of every sort.” “we intend to free this nation from its fetid cancer of professors, archaeologists, tour guides, and antiquarians” “Museums: cemeteries!” “we intend to know nothing of it, nothing of the past” “Set fires to the shelves of the libraries!” “flood the musuems” “Seize your pickaxes, axes, and hammer, and tear down, pitilessly tear down the venerable cities!”

7 Slap in the Face of Public Taste, 1912 “Academic art and Pushkin are harder to understand than Egyptian hieroglyphs Let us throw Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, etc., off the steamship of modernity”

8 Car Trip, Papa at 80 km Jacques-Henri Lartigue, 1913

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10 Review: The Manifesto Form Historical Intervention – “The manifesto is the genre of the break: it announces and produces a rupture in the historical continuum, guided by a belief in the value of the future and the impossibility of returning to the past” (Martin Puchner, “Aftershocks” 47). – directed at an historically specific audience in response to historically specific conditions

11 Review: The Manifesto Form Performative – It signifies the same thing that it intends to create – God’s word in Genesis is performative and immediate – “a programmatic discourse of power because it aspires to change reality with words” (Yanoshevsky 264) – “It is about... imposing the future by provoking revolutions.... The conception of knowledge that is at stake is that of foundational, even epiphanic knowledge” (Millot qtd in ibid 265).

12 Review: The Manifesto Form Partisan > Militant – “Manifestos are violent acts, spectacular acts, a way to sound your voice, whether the act is artistic […] or political […]” (ibid 266) – “aggressive rather than introverted; screaming rather than reticent” (Puchner xxx 6) Political in Origin – made aesthetic (can it escape its political origin?)

13 “We intend to glorify war – the only hygiene of the world – militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of the anarchism, beautiful ideas worth dying for, and contempt for women” (“Founding Manifesto”). “I want to seize [ideas] brutally and fling them in the reader’s face” (“Destruction of Syntax”)

14 Founding Manifesto I spun my car as frantically as a dog trying to bite its own tail, and there, suddenly, were two bicyclists right in front of me, […] wobbling like two lines of reasoning, equally persuasive and yet contradictory. Their stupid argument was being discussed right in my path... What a bore! Damn!... I stopped short, and to my disgust rolled over into a ditch, with my wheels in the air....

15 Christian Baptism

16 Futurist Baptism Oh! Maternal ditch, nearly full of muddy water! Fair factory drain! I gulped down your bracing slime, which reminded me of the sacred black breast of my Sudanese nurse.... When I climbed out, a filth and stinking rag, from underneath the capsized car, I felt my heart—deliciously—being slashed with the red-hot iron of joy! [50])

17 “Whatever it was that drove him, Marinetti now set out to rework a modest traffic accident into an event of mythic stature, the birth-scene of a traumatic yet emancipating modernity” (Lawrence Rainey “Introduction” Futurism 5).

18 Futurist Baptism “Oh! Maternal ditch, nearly full of muddy water! Fair factory drain! I gulped down your bracing slime, which reminded me of the sacred black breast of my Sudanese nurse.... When I climbed out, a filth and stinking rag, from underneath the capsized car, I felt my heart—deliciously—being slashed with the red-hot iron of joy!” (50)

19 Moses on Mount Sinai: 10 Commandments

20 The Airplane’s 10+1 Command(ment)s Sitting astride the fuel tank of an airplane, my stomach warmed by the aviator’s head, I felt the ridiculous inanity of the old syntax inherited from Homer. A raging need to liberate words, dragging them out from the Latin period. Like all imbeciles, this period, naturally, has a prudent head, a stomach, two legs, and two flat feet: but it will never have two wings. Just enough to walk, take a short run, and come up short, panting! (Technical Manifesto)

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22 Slap in the Face of Public Taste “To enlarge the scope of the poet’s vocabulary with arbitrary and derivative words (Word- Novelty)” “To feel an insur- mountable hatred for the language existing before their time”

23 The Word as Such, Kruchenykh and Khlebnikov (1913) “In these five lines there is more Russian national identity than all of the poetry of Pushkin”: Dir bul schchyl ubeshshchur skum vy so bu r l ez

24 Zaum’ za-um: beyond mind/ beyond reason transrational, transmental language “Previously there was: the rational and the irrational: we provide a third possibility: - the transrational, - which creatively transforms and overcomes them” (Kruchenyk, Ozrenie roz 1918)

25 Zaum’: New> Original> Origins “A major feature of the Russian ‘art of the future’ centers upon a strong proclivity toward the primitive. This was not a retrospective regression to the past; rather the artist sought the living generative roots of art. Neo-primitivism, which cut away the elegant but lifeless surface of civilized culture, […] emphasis on intuition” (Stepanian 20). the new to the very old, neo-primitive

26 Zaum’ Zaum is “tracing language back to its beginnings psychologically, in childhood babble, and physiologically, in the body’s rhythms and the organs of articulation” (Cavagnaugh 291). “They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (The Acts of the Apostles, 2:3-4).

27 Zaum’ “Artists until now had proceeded to the word through thought, and we, we grasp immediacy through the word” “We declare the word to be larger, wider than meaning” (Kruchenykh: New Ways of the Word, 1913).

28 Студiя (Studia) … Velimer Khlebnikov: “Incantation of/by Laughter” in Impressionist’s Studio, Bodies of Language

29 Pomada, 1913 Poems by Aleksei Kruchenykh One poem by child E. Luniev Drawings by Mikhail Larionov

30 Pomada: 3 poems/ Dir bul schchyl

31 Marinetti’s Metal Book

32 Further resources Recording of Dir byl Schyl Recording of Battle of Adrianople by Marinetti Italian Futurism Guggenheim Museum’s Exhibit on Italian Futurism Guggenheim Museum’s Exhibit on Italian Futurism

33 F. T. Marinetti ( ) Born in Alexandria, studied in Paris Notable works: Battle of Tripoli, Zang Tumb Tumb Joined Mussolini’s party in 1918 Promoted Futurism as Italian State Art unsuccessfully

34 David Burliuk ( ) Primarily a visual artist Jack of Diamonds Exhibition (1917) Latest Artistic Trends (1927, Leningrad) Association of Revolutionary Masters of Ukraine

35 Vladimir Mayakovsky ( ) Poet, artist, playwright, actor Politically engaged with Marxism from at least 1908 (imprisoned multiple times) Futurism, ROCTA Agitprop, Komfuty, LEF His work thrived in early Soviet Union

36 Aleksei Kruchenykh ( ) Cubo-Futurism, Futurism, Suprematism, 41°, Constructivism/ LEF Published over 150 books in lifetime Married to Olga Rozanova Collaborations with Mikhail Larionov, Velimir Khlebnikov, Victory over the Sun (libretto;the stage design by Malevich, music by Matiushin).

37 Velimir Khlebnikov ( ) Futurism Theorist and poet of zaum language Collected Works, 1928

38 Works Cited Adorno, Theodor. “Why is the New Art So Hard to Understand?” Trans. Susan Gillespie. in Leppert Ed. Essays on Music. Berkeley, CA: U of California P, Cavanaugh, Clare. “Pseudo-Revolution in Poetic Language.” Slavic Review 52.2 (1993): Puchner, Martin. “The Aftershocks of Blast: Manifestos, Satire, and the Rear-Guard of Modernism.” Bad Modernisms. Eds. Rebecca Walkowitz Poetry of the Revolution: Marx, Manifestos, and the Avant-Gardes. Princeton: Princeton UP, Rainey, Lawrence. “Introduction.” Futurism. Rainey, Christine Poggi, and Laura Wittman, Eds. Futurism: An Anthology. New Haven, CT: Yale UP, Victor Schlovsky. “On Poetry and Trans-Sense Language.” Trans. Gerald Janacek and Peter Mayer. October 34 (1985): Stepanian, Juliette. “Universal War and the Development of Zaum.” The Slavic and East European Journal 29.1 (1985): Yanoshevsky, Galia. “Three Decades of Writing on Manifesto: The Making of Genre.” Poetics Today 30.2 (Summer 2009):


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