Forum 1

First, please post here by 11:59pm on Friday August 5th a 300-500 word response on any particular aspect of the reading we’ve done for class so far. Keep in mind that more specific responses are nearly always more compelling – try, if you can, to quote or refer to particular passages to support your point.

Second, make sure you provide an engaged response to at least one classmates’ post by 11:59pm Saturday August 6th. Feel free to respectfully disagree with each other if it’s in the interest of probing into an issue more deeply.

30 comments on “Forum 1
  1. Roni Slavit says:

    “…the concept of materiality: the relations between form and expression, between matter and content, were assumed to depend largely on the capacity of the image, the poem, the word, or the mark to be, to exist in its own right on an equal stature with the tangible, dimensional objects of the real world,” (Drucker 49).

    I find this super interesting because all of my life I have been taught to look beyond the word, to look for the symbolism or the deeper meaning. I’ve continuously had teachers hammering the fact that all words contain another meaning deep into my skull. I always found that stupid and untrue because each writer has their own style and sometimes when they say, for example, the dog wagged his tail as he drank from the water bowl, that’s what they really mean. I remember sitting in class and having my teacher stop every five seconds to sit and discuss what figurative language and deeper meaning the paragraph portrays. But what was so silly about that is how on earth are we to know exactly what the author is trying to say? It’s not like there’s a guideline or an area where the text is decoded. I hated how teachers would grade us based on how well we guessed what their interpretation on the text was because in my eyes as a writer there are infinite types of interpretations and everyone should be entitled to have their own interpretation and not conform to what is being dictated. As a writer I never really try too hard to portray this “deeper meaning” I merely write the words to create an emotion or feeling. I leave it open to the reader to interpret it however they see fit because in reality we are all different beings with different thoughts, ideas, perspectives, beliefs and abilities so why does it make sense to force a single answer upon us?

    • Ryan Friedman says:

      I also find it incredibly interesting to disregard authorial intent when analyzing a piece and to allow the words to speak for themselves. I have a distinct memory in high school of arguing with my teacher when analyzing Lord of the Flies – I thought that the fire represented a source of vitality because one needs fire to live while my teacher thought that it represented the evil on the island – and I felt deeply discouraged when my teacher refused to accept my viewpoint. Getting rid of the focus on authorial attempt and allowing the reader to interpret the words however he or she pleases is a much more inclusive approach to literature. I believe that everyone has a unique form of intelligence, and I truly appreciate the movement to allow readers to interpret things as they so please.

    • Maggie Patton says:

      I agree that each reader should be able to make their own interpretations. We are all a result of our experiences and because of this different people perceive things in different ways. I think it is interesting that many modernist movements were more interested in putting things out there for the viewer to interpret in their own way instead of shoving a message at the viewer. Even though this may not have been the intention of authors prior to this movement, I think the concept still applies. When I read or listen to music, I always find my own messages and make my own interpretations first and I don’t always look too deeply into what the author/songwriter was writing about, because this can overshadow my personal interpretation and take away from it.

    • Brice Rudolph says:

      I completely agree. It was always so frustrating in high school when the teacher would ask you to describe the deeper meaning in the text. Sure there is often a deeper meaning than what is explicitly there, a great example being the phrase “so it goes” in Slaughterhouse-Five, but it doesn’t always have to be there. There were few things more agitating in high school than when I would get my grade lowered on an assignment when the prompt for the paper, essay, etc. was to give my interpretation of the given text only to find that what the teacher actually meant was that I needed to give their interpretation of the given text.

  2. matt patricoski says:

    One concept in this course so far has intrigued and bothered me more so than any other. One of the fundamental goals of Modernism (~1900-1945), and other realms of avant-garde as well, is to start fresh with a new system of representation in language, as the proponents of these movements felt that the classically formatted linear literature of the past did not adequately describe the world as it currently existed, specifically a world entrenched in war. To me, these goals are inherently problematic however. The goal of shaking off the contextual and representative nature of language is seemingly impossible, as text has a significant amount of representative power. Further, a lifetime of using language for just that purpose has made it, for me personally anyway, very difficult to embrace the word as form itself without attaching the connotations to said word as I have done before. I asked myself at one point “if the goal is to shake off convention and connotation, why choose a form so heavily steeped in convention and connotation”. This issue for me was resolved however, during Wednesday’s lecture, when the class discussed the Dada Movement. This movement had very similar goals and motivations to the Modernists, except they appear to take it another step further, a step that validates and alleviates my aforementioned concerns. Dada can loosely be described as a “pullback from the absolute” in which “the only technique was a suppression of technique” (Prologue to Dada). The resolution of my issue though, comes from the Dada’s defiance of convention in poetry and art. They didn’t just philosophically aim for a fresh start, they demanded one through the use of basic phonic sounds and forms (the smallest possible unit of poetic sound), at times using sounds, words and phrases that have no meaning in any language, and no informal meaning in any culture. While this defiance may make these forms of poetry sort of ‘irregular’ to the normalized ear, it substantiates and furthers the goals of the Dada movement in a way that I feel remains problematic and in a sense an irony of the Modernist movement. I can still appreciate the goals of the Modernists, though I personally feel the Dadas found a way to do what it is they set out to do far more effectively.

    • Wyatt Wood says:

      I align with your point of confusion in why people focused upon Modernism would seek to make things more chaotic in their world by confusing language that was already understood and used as an efficient means of communication and expression. Why they wanted to make things more complex in a complex society shows that their movement is a reaction to reflect what they were living within.

      The difficulty of me embracing words in literature as form rather than representation was difficult to me, but it is starting to make more sense in when considering the goals and techniques found within Dadaism. This was also cleared up to me even more so in our recent look into material of Concrete Poetry.

      Dadaism offers a degree of clarity to the intentions of the Modernist movement to me, as you have presented, in their intentions for suppressing technique as a means to recognizing art as an existence that can be appreciated. I completely agree with you in finding more clarity in the Modernist movement, after learning more about Dadaism.

      I wonder if the art created within Dadaism has made any notable progress in culture being the destruction of culture. While the irony is still there it comforts me to have a better grasp considering their anti-conventional techniques in consideration of the Modernist movement as a whole.

      – Wyatt

  3. Wyatt Wood says:

    Francesco Cangiullo 1884-1977

    Synthesis of All Modern Theater


    Road at night, cold, deserted.

    A minute of silence. – A gunshot.

    This was the poem presented in small groups during the class on Tuesday Aug, 2nd. During that assignment I primarily focused upon the content of the literature and what meaning it was trying to convey. I had trouble discerning between what the author wanted me to make up on my own about the piece, or what message he was trying to send. If I attempt to look more closely at the structure and format of the piece, I more closely understand the aspect of visual art with words. The author uses capitalization and italics while changing text fonts throughout the lines, very different from the linear way of poetry leading up to this time. The piece shows its minimalist approach, with the futurist manifesto, in not conforming to the way of literature in the past. It charts its own journey in the world of art, emerging as a futuristic way of formatting poetry while disregarding the set norms of the past.
    In a way the piece is a narrative which is something that the movement of modernism was shying away from, but the piece is so short that it could may even be mocking the way that narratives are done, which pairs up with the idea within futurism of “Everything of any value is theatrical” (Futurism excerpt). So even though this piece is not a conventional script, it can do a job as existing as a piece of art with value, not needing to live up to any standards already created in the past.
    The ability for me to discern between what the words represent and how they appear as artwork is something that I am developing. It is interesting to me to see people change the ways of society through channels in art, and the approach of distorting literature into art that can be appreciated for what it is. New strides towards a universal appreciation of existence is what I see beneficial about changing the way things “have” to be.

    • matt patricoski says:

      You present a great point about the piece Detonation that i hadn’t considered. The irregularity of the piece as well as its content say far less about a strange story and much more about the processes by which were used to ingesting poetry and art. almost as if the poem is an exercise in discussing what one wants to see and hear in poetry, and why deviations from those conventions might make one uncomfortable. i further agree with your idea that this piece may have been mocking conventional narrative in a way, by shirking it so thoroughly. the content of this piece so to speak may not be what is written, but what isn’t written, and why, which is a very refreshing way to enjoy literary art and the philosophies inherent in that art, even if the meaning or perceived meaning of the piece is not on the ‘outer surface’ of the text.

  4. Stephan Mallarmé was a late 19th century writer who is known for his experimental approach to literature and art. Mallarmé wanted to create literature in which the reader doesn’t just simply read the words but instead gets an experience from the words. He also wanted to create a blur between the distinctions of genres and attempt to combine art with literature. One of the ways in which he achieved this was by using the physical properties of the actual words themselves. He would change the placement and the size of the words in order to create meaning in his work.
    In class we looked at one of Mallarmé’s works entitled, “A throw of a dice”, a poem about a group of sailors who get caught in a shipwreck. In this piece of writing, the words and the sentence structure break away from how literary pieces are normally written. Usually all works of literature are generally written top to bottom and left to right. However in Mallarmé’s work, the words are instead placed differently around the page. This is meant to evoke movement in the readers mind through the words, without actually having the words move. The words used in this piece make many different patterns of movement. When reading the poem, you are physically being forced to move by following the placement of the words. On the first page the words are placed so that a smooth curve is created, representing the smooth sailing of the ship. However later the words are sporadically placed all over the page and reading the words becomes more chaotic. The chaotic and sporadic placement of the words symbolizes the destruction of the ship, being caught in a wave and being pushed back and forth by forces that you cannot control. Reading the poem makes you feel like you are literally in the shipwreck as opposed to watching the shipwreck from a distance.
    Some of sentences and words in the poem are much larger in size. They are also bolder and stand out more. The reader can decide to only read the slightly larger words and will find a separate poem within the work itself. For example, reading only the larger words on page seven reads, “were it to have existed, were it to have begun and ended, were it to have amounted, to have lighted.” These lines connect with each other even though they are placed away from each other and the reason you can tell is because of how much larger and bolder these sentences are compared to the rest of the text.
    Utilizing the physical properties of the words helps develop a visual image of the poem to the reader and definitely makes the poem a visually interesting piece.

    • Jessica says:

      I agree with your description of this piece. I think this type of writing is very engaging. Like you said, it forces you to be a part of the poem, rather than merely reading the words. One thing you mentioned, which I was not aware of until it was pointed out, was the fact that there is a poem within a poem. I have been trained to read left to write, top to bottom, and that bold words were just to emphasize that word. It never crossed my mind to connect or read those words as anything other than really big words. I have to appreciate the fact that this style never existed and then one day someone thought to use words as paint. It seems simple now, but to think of that out of thin air is incredible.

  5. “They [pure symphony opera composers] make use, in their ascent to fame, of that absurd swindle that is called well-made music, the falsification of all that is true and great, a worthless copy sold to a public that lets itself be cheated by its own free will.
    But the rare fortunates who, through multiple renunciations, have managed to obtain the protection of the large publishers, to whom they are tied by illusory and humiliating noose-contracts, these represent the classes of serfs, cowards and those who voluntarily sell themselves.”
    -Bradilla Pratella

    The reason I chose this particular quote is because I am a musician myself and therefore find avant-garde music more interesting and tolerable than paintings or poetry. That being said, I took the liberty of looking up some futurist music pieces and found that I couldn’t listen to any of them for more than a minute or so at a time. Most of them incorporated the art of noise, making the music sound rather chaotic and erratic. I also listened to some pieces by Balilla Pratella, who wrote the Manifesto of Futurist musicians. Surprisingly, I actually liked his work and found it much more compelling and easy to listen to than many of the other futurist songs. In fact, his pieces were not that outlandish or experimentational. They sounded pretty similar to what traditional composers of the time were writing. So, I was a bit confused because in his manifesto he strongly condemns the composers of traditional music, when he himself was doing just that. How would a futurist composer like Wagner or Edward Elgar react to Pratella’s music? His rhetoric, as strongly voiced as it is, contradicts his own music. But, he seems to contradict himself even in the Manifesto itself. He bashes on music critics and the idealistic judgement of labeling music as “good” or “bad”, yet he boasts of his own accomplishment of winning a competition for one of his musical pieces. One of the manifestos he himself wrote reviles music competitions: “To abstain from participating in any competition with the customary closed envelopes and related admission charges, denouncing all mystifications publicly, and unmasking the incompetence of juries, which are generally composed of fools and impotents” (Pratella). I don’t think that Pratella is a stupid person, but his arguments are quite illogical. I just don’t see him as a good spokesperson for the futurist musical movement.

  6. Jessica says:

    Mina Loy was an artist during the 1920’s. She considered herself a Futurist, but was not met with a warm welcome. This was, in part due to the fact that Marinetti, who was the founder of the Futurist party/movement, was anti-feminism. In The Manifesto of Futurism, he says, ” 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 women (pg. 198)” The Futurists were trying to get away from what art had been before. They had a great distain for Romanticism, which I speculate may be a reason why this movement had such contempt for women. I think that in some aspect the Futurists, or at least Marinetti drew a correlation between the two. Mina Loy was considered a feminist, and is probably most known for her piece Feminist Manifesto. She says ” The first illusion it is to your interest to demolish is the division of women into two classes the mistress, & the mother” (pg. 154). It is clear that she wants women to realize that they do not have to be one or the other. There does not have to be a distinction between the two. These types of categories do not exist for men, and there for women should realize that these categories do not have to exist for them either. That women can embrace anything, and everything. That they can be human. It is interesting and worth noting, that the style she uses is considered Futurist. Mina uses the space of the page. Some words are big and bold, and others are not. The Feminist Manifesto does not really contain proper punctuation, which is what the futurists were going for as well, no syntax in relation to the grammar of what is being written, but in relation to the space of the page. The very movement/style of art that is against women, is the same style she uses to promote feminism.

    • Gannon Faul says:

      You bring up an interesting point in the fact that Mina Loy uses the same Futurist style of writing to promote a new and vibrant style of feminism that Marinetti uses to discount it. I think it’s possible that this could be part of why some of us initially thought that she was against feminism in the class reading. She uses very aggressive language and typographic elements to convey her point, so it was easy to assume that her views aligned with Marinetti’s, who is also very aggressive in his writing. Additionally, I think you’re point that Futurism’s rejection of Romanticism could be a reason for their disdain for feminism is plausible because there were countless Romantic pieces that were odes to and about women. I think another reason was their love for militarism, and women did not fight on the front lines.

    • You bring up an interesting point that her writing style suggests that she would not support feminism, yet the words she uses do support feminism. However, I’m not sure that “feminist” is the right term for her argument. When I first approached the article, I thought that she would separate herself entirely from the norms of society by arguing for a type of feminism more in line with the modern day definition of the term. Obviously, she did not do that and her form of feminism is nothing at all like modern day feminism. She actually is more for women then she appears to be in the beginning of her article. It took me a few times to really understand what she was saying. My take of it is, like you said, that she advised women to step out of their assumed roles in society. She acknowledges women’s lesser roles, but she seems to think that women are not capable of taking on the same roles as men. Overall, I would agree with you that considering the group she surrounded herself with, the expression of her early feminist views was quite a risky move for her.

  7. Ryan Friedman says:

    After the class discussion about whether it was possible to ever entirely break existing conventions, I reread portions of the Visual and Literary Materiality in Modern Art piece and found the section about the legacy of Mallarmè to be topical. In this section, Drucker mentions that Mallarmè sought to “break away completely from the phenomenal world and toward a poetry of absolute purity.” In spite of his antimaterial intentions, Mallarmè ended up producing a material product because he invested in a highly material practice. His struggle to create something that was entirely new – antimaterial – using only existing methods made me question whether it is ever possible to create something that is entirely new.

    While one of the goals of modernism was to be non-referential, most people are not capable of perceiving something without placing it in a structure that they already use to understand the world. Accordingly, if the author of a poem used a new poem structure, they would have to make an extra effort to educate the audience on how to understand it, most likely using an existing structure to communicate the meaning. Unfortunately, by making this understandable, their work no longer continues to be novel. Thus, under this structure, poets are doomed to be incapable of creating something new.

    A potential solution to this problem is offered by Marinetti in his futurist manifesto: Marinetti concludes his manifesto by stating “You have objections?—Enough! Enough! We know them… We don’t want to understand!… Woe to anyone who says those infamous words to us again!” He claims that futurists are not concerned with how others perceive their work. If an author followed Marinetti’s desire and did not attempt to constrain his or her work to whatever appeases readers, then he or she would not have to constrain himself or herself to existing methods thereby potentially preserving the newness of the idea.

    Thus, it appears that it is possible to create something new, but in order to accomplish this, the author must come to terms with the fact he or she will probably not be understood. For me, as someone who highly values connecting others, this is a depressing realization. However, authors in different avant-garde movements seemed more excited about doing something new than changing others’ opinions, so this fact likely would not bother them.

  8. What do you think about this statement: “Art, in fact, can be nothing but violence, cruelty, and injustice.” What does it mean? What do you think is urging Marinetti to write this? Can you think of reasons to agree with this statement?

    My interpretation of this quote from “The Manifesto of Futurism” was based on a hypothesis that perhaps Marinetti and the rest of the futurists were inspired by the brutality and chaos of the natural world to justify their warmongering views. Charles Darwin had published “On the Origin of Species” over 50 years prior, but many were using his concept of ‘survival of the fittest’ as a warped justification for many societal or political actions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Under the logic of ‘might makes right,’ those promoting social Darwinism used twisted logic to promote war and eventually fascism, which we know were popular ideas within the futurist community.

    My personal opinion is that the most poignant use of art is to explain or interpret life or the emotions and experiences we share as people. Perhaps the futurists were thinking similarly but were focusing on life in its primal natural form. Within the manifesto they suggest as much when they mention that poets must “swell the enthusiastic fervor of the primordial elements.” The natural world is brutal, chaotic and unfair and if art is to be used to interpret this, it would have to depict “violence, cruelty, and injustice.”

    Additionally, it is through civilization that we, as people, try to avoid the brutality and injustices that other living things must endure. The institutions that the futurists were so adamantly against (museums, libraries, academies, etc.) may represent to them the elements of civilized society that remind us of this chaos and discourage people from enduring it themselves. This avoidance could have been impeding the natural selection they felt was necessary within our own species to ensure that the strongest move on. Their avocation of war, one of society’s most brutal and unjust instruments, could have been their solution to the brutality they thought was required and natural.

    • Ariel Riggan says:

      I like your inclusion of Darwinism into your interpretation. I think it plays well into Marinetti’s Manifesto which reads, “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!” However, I got a little lost in your assertions about how futurism disdains museums, libraries, academies, etc. I agree they represent elements of civilized society but I do not understand how they remind us of chaos. I would assume they represent the opposite of chaos, a preserved order. They seem to represent a structure that does not allow the weak to disappear in the shadow of the strong as would be expected in survival of the fittest.

  9. Jason hofmann says:

    The material we cover in class offers a unique, sometimes (most times) eccentric, take on the manipulation of words, or the lack thereof, and pushes us to think in different ways to analyze and understand it. An example that has especially been difficult for me to grasp is John Cage’s “4’33″”, the silent music piece performed in front of an audience. The dictionary definition of ‘music’ goes as followed, “an art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions in significant forms through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and color.” According to this definition, this piece of composition fails to meet the criteria of being considered music. It lacks any significant melody, rhythm, or harmony, does not suggest any ideas or emotions.

    However, after refining my perspective on this and working through the difficult process of analyzing ‘silence’, I can come to see the ideas behind this piece. By remaining silent and free of any music, it serves as anti-music, similar to futurist works of anti-art. It rejects the traditional approach to composing music, and is a jarring and awkward experience for listeners who do not know what to think of silence. Nonetheless, this music presses audiences to listen to what they can and cannot hear; to delve into the silence that the composer offers, and to build a thought process upon what their senses are perceiving. By doing this, this piece attempts to push audiences to challenge traditional avenues of music, and to reflect on an irrational composition that brings silence into the realm of music.

    -Jason Hofmann

    • Roni Slavit says:

      I completely understand what you are interpreting and stating in your response, but there is a part of me that does not fully agree. You said that in your definition of music there needs to be some sense of melody, rhythm, or harmony and that because of this definition John Cage’s 4’33” is not considered music. I, however believe that there was a sense of rhythm to this strange piece. If you recall the pianist was clicking the stop watch at certain timed intervals, which in my opinion forms a sense of rhythm. This rhythm may be much slower and unfamiliar to the rhythms of songs we are used to hearing, but there is definitely something there.

    • When we saw the video of John Cages musical piece, “4’33” in class I was very confused and initially had trouble understanding why the pianist wasn’t playing any music. For 4 minutes and 33 seconds, the pianist didn’t play a single note and yet he received thunderous applause from the audience. Its really bizarre that this is considered music because for me music has to involve some sort of sound. And because there wasn’t any sound, I would personally not consider this music. For me this piece is the equivalent of a blank canvas with no paint on it. Since the canvas is blank and doesn’t have anything on it, it remains to be a blank canvas and not art. I think the main idea that John Cage is trying to get across is that the natural sounds heard within a moment of silence is considered music. In my perspective, those sounds are just noise but in a different perspective those sounds could possibly be art. It all just depends on the individual and how one personally defines music.

  10. Gannon Faul says:

    “The poem is no more containable within a close reading than is a constellation available to closure as a figure through approach—from distance the stars present the gestalt of a figure. Moving closer one moves through them, aware that the visual bonds which forged the figurative image dissolve into illusion.”

    -Johanna Drucker on Stephane Mallarmé’s Un Coup de dés (A Throw of the Dice)

    I spoke briefly in class about this passage from Visual and Literary Materiality in Modern Art, and I was initially drawn to it because I believe that it is very helpful and informative for readers approaching not just Mallarmé, but Modernism a whole. A constellation from afar may look like figure or shape, but as the viewer moves toward it through space they begin to pass certain stars and see new ones. This reveals that the figure wasn’t two-dimensional and definite, but rather just appeared a certain way from an initial viewing position. Mallarmé’s piece is similar in the way he uses different typographic elements and spacing. On first viewing, the reader may interpret certain fonts and sizes to mean something specific, but as they move through the piece and dig into the different aspects of the work, they can find completely different meaning and experience it differently. Mallarmé’s work is not a finite or closed representation of clear worldly elements, but is instead is dynamic and unable to be pinned down even if common themes or elements may seem apparent and simple at first glance.

    We can see the influence that this aspect of Mallarmé’s work had on many Modernist artists and poets. This is especially apparent in the Modernist idea of art as presentation over representation. Essentially what this means is that art does not need to be a representation of an existing idea or thing in the world; it should be able to exist on its own and present something entirely new. A large part of Avant-Garde movement and the Modernist movement as a whole relies on this premise. This can be clearly seen through the Avant-Garde disdain for Romanticism and the need to dedicate a piece to a certain subject or idea. This is why I think that the constellation is perfect representation of a lot of Modernist art. A shape or purpose can be assigned to it, but it is revealed that this purpose is simply in the mind of the viewer. The stars exist in their own right on a vastly different scale than anything on Earth, and aren’t supposed to represent anything in particular except themselves. Modernists created art without presenting meaning, but gave the viewer or reader the tools to find their own meaning in the piece.

  11. Maggie Patton says:

    Since one of the goals of futurism is rejecting tradition, I would have thought the futurists would be pro feminism. Marinetti’s proclamation to fight feminism and glorify “scorn for women” in his Futurist Manifesto gave me the exact opposite impression. Going into Mina Loy’s Feminist Manifesto I was not sure what to expect and the first read through left me confused because it seemed so anti-feminist. I decided to read it again to better understand it and was left with a completely different feeling. I think the word choice and typography she used, which fit in well with other futurist writings, may lead to confusion, but overall it is a decidedly feminist read and though it may not be up to today’s standards of feminist writing, it seems to be before its time.

    For Loy, one of the biggest issues preventing females from gaining equality is the taboo associated with sex. She argues that women must destroy the “impurity of sex”. She believes a shift in the “mental attitude” people had toward sex would create positive social change. In some ways I think this applies to today as there is still a double standard surrounding sex. Females are still judged and called names by both males and other females for having casual sex. Loy seems to be dissatisfied with the feminist movement of the time. The first wave of feminism heavily focused on women’s suffrage, but also on women’s right to education and work. Loy wanted more. She wanted women to have the freedom to discover and be themselves in a way that they wanted without having to fall into a preconceived role, and to change people’s attitudes toward sex and marriage. She, like the futurists, wanted to destroy traditions of the time and create something new.

    Loy’s strong message to women made me wonder how she could want to associate with Marinetti and be a part of a movement that in its manifesto claims to be against her cause. I looked into Marinetti further and apparently he was not completely against the feminist movement and was actually in support of women’s suffrage. Despite this, Marinetti’s prejudice against women ran deep. He seemed to be against femininity as a whole. Females were viewed as the weaker and more pacifistic sex and this clashed with the futurists’ glorification of war and militarism. Marinetti believed that despite any change the feminist movement made, most women would still fall into their domestic and gender roles. It is probable that Marinetti’s gender biases against the female sex are the cause of his anti feminist sentiments.

  12. Ariel Riggan says:

    Futurism is built on paradox: futurism preaches finding freedom and breaking boundaries as long as boundaries are broken and freedom reached with futurist attitudes, that to be equal requires one to fit a certain mold, and that to reach a form of poetry beyond material one must explore materiality.

    In A Prologue to Futurism on pages 197 and 198 there is a bullet point list of beliefs held by a futurist. Bullet point 9 says, “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.” This quote asserts that only through the violence of war and the hatred of femininity can freedom be found. This statement bars people from
    freedom who may be pacifist or feminine, thus feeding the futurist, freedom paradox.

    In addition one can look at the feminist manifesto. In the manifesto the author attempts to empower women to take their freedom. In doing so she, ironically, limits the role of what a woman must be. In this way the author creates another example of a paradox where freedom is forced to fall within the expectations of the futurists. (I really appreciated Jessica bringing this up in class because I hadn’t seen it).

    Finally there is also the paradox found between Mallarme’s intention and his work explained in Drucker’s Visual and Literary Materiality in Modern Art on page 52: “Antimaterial though he may have been in his intentions, his means, in this work, suggest the possibilities for a materially investigative practice.” The subject of that quote was Mallarme who desired to free poetry from material, but found that to make poetry stand as its own creation it needed form and therefore began to explore materiality. The difference between intention and practice here shows another paradox that comes from one of the initiators of the futurist movement.

    The singular responses expected by these authors is not incredibly surprising considering that the futurists aligned themselves with Mussolini’s fascist party, which was not known for seeking out different viewpoints. Despite, this singular view of how to be free paradoxically confining freedom the futurists did achieve their goal of crossing boundaries and creating different art.

    • Another paradox about the futurists and the manifesto that amused me for its ridiculousness was when emphasizing the importance of youth; the manifesto seems to define it with a rather conveniently illogical age range. The manifesto mentions that the oldest member is 30 and has a decade before the next generation will come and reject them and their beliefs. Since it was written in 1908 and Marinetti was born in 1876, he is that oldest member. Professor Emerson mentioned in class that many of the futurists at the time of the manifesto were much younger (I believe she said 18 years old). After Marinetti gets the next decade to work, the rest of them will be at the age he was when he wrote the manifesto. So why is 40 the cutoff age and not 30 years old? This and a lot of the beliefs of the futurists just seem to be based on ego more than logic.

  13. Sean Robinson-Duff says:

    Futurism is by far one of the most interesting movements I have ever learned about. I’ve always been told that those who fail to learn history will be doomed to repeat it. And the leaders of Futurism did not care to learn the from previous wars, but to embrace them. For war is glorified and is the world’s only hygiene which was stated it the Manifesto of Futurism. It all began in Italy when Futurist wanted to take on avant-garde as its true definition and celebrate the newly invented technology and industry. Also Futurist wanted to separate themselves from all of society. To be the front guard of this revolution and praise everything that is speed, power, and danger. War brought everything the Futurist loved. Could it be assumed that because of their great love for war and struggles it lead to the egotistical mindset that began the first World War. The World was separated into alliances and tension was at an all-time high one assassination caused the World to battle. Just at the same time we see a rise of what could be called a literary-tyranny, Futurism, a messed up idea that the destruction of beauty is actually beneficially.

    I just think that it’s interesting to think that a literary movement could have been somewhat responsible for a War. Even if this seems to be a little outlandish I think the period after the War and all its brutality is a phenomenon known as the “return to order”. And rightfully so. The Futurism approach was too extreme. Some might even consider it dangerous. These revolutionist wanted to completely space themselves from their previous culture and become anew. They took light of the advancing culture and called themselves together as Futurist.

  14. Sean Robinson-Duff says:

    Futurism is by far one of the most interesting movements I have ever learned about. I’ve always been told that those who fail to learn history will be doomed to repeat it. And the leaders of Futurism did not care to learn the from previous wars, but to embrace them. For war is glorified and is the world’s only hygiene which was stated it the Manifesto of Futurism. It all began in Italy when Futurist wanted to take on avant-garde as its true definition and celebrate the newly invented technology and industry. Also Futurist wanted to separate themselves from all of society. To be the front guard of this revolution and praise everything that is speed, power, and danger. War brought everything the Futurist loved. Could it be assumed that because of their great love for war and struggles it lead to the egotistical mindset that began the first World War. The World was separated into alliances and tension was at an all-time high one assassination caused the World to battel. Just at the same time we see a rise of what could be called a literary-tyranny, Futurism, a messed up idea that the destruction of beauty is actually beneficially.

    I just think that it’s interesting to think that a literary movement could have been somewhat responsible for a War. Even if this seems to be a little outlandish I think the period after the War and all its brutality is a phenomenon known as the “return to order”. And rightfully so. The Futurism approach was too extreme. Some might even consider it dangerous. These revolutionist wanted to completely space themselves from their previous culture and become anew. They took light of the advancing culture and called themselves together as Futurist.

  15. Alec Alley says:

    What I have found interesting in this class in how all of these modernist movements have used similar methods but have distinctly opposing goals. Mainly what I find fascinating is the differences between the Futurists’ and the Dadaists’ worldview. Initially, you’d think that they were expressing similar world views by challenging similar institutions. In the Futurists’ manifesto Marinetti stated that his movement would “we will destroy the museums, libraries, academies of every kind.” (Futurisms 198) In this, he is challenging institutions that hold information over what should be based on the past. Marinetti does not want these institutions to hold power over defining what art is. They wanted to challenge what was earlier considered high and low culture by abhorring romanticism. This would seem to go along with the Dadaists’ goals to be anti-art. Their movement similarly ignored previous definitions of art and poetry to criticize their societies. As Hannah Hoch noted “I wish to blur the firm boundaries which we self-certain people tend to delineate around all we can achieve.” Both movements also had very similar enthusiasm when describing their movement. Again in Marinetti’s manifesto he states that “Time and Space died yesterday. We already live in the absolute, because we have created eternal, omnipresent speed”(Futurisms 198.) Whereas the Dadaist Hug Ball exclaimed “no more words! No more solutions!” (Dada 289.) Both movements at least took the attitude that their movements were Earth-shattering and treated their movements as if they were forever revolutionary.

    This is why I am fascinated by the differences between the two movements. The Futurists worshiped the future, technology, and war. Marinetti stated that his movement would “glorify war, the world’s only hygiene.” We viewed war as cleansing and it seems that he has a very social Darwinistic world view, which I imagine contributed greatly to his support for Fascism. Whereas the Dadaists seem to be challenging the world that large nationalistic movement created. Dadaists were anti-war and anti-propaganda. They wanted to create an art form free from the language and conceptions that led to events such as World War I. “Dada is against the future” Tristan Tzara made this statement as if it were in direct opposition to the futurist movement. They use such similar methods, it is fascinating that their goal opposed each other

  16. Brice Rudolph says:

    After reading F. T. Marinetti’s “The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism” I noticed that even before I had gotten to the actual manifesto itself on futurism, when I really looked at the language used by Marinetti I could gather an understanding of the things that Marinetti and the futurists valued. Marinetti’s first sentence goes as such “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”. From this first sentence it can be deduced that the futurists hold particular regard to technology as many of the descriptors he chooses to use have technological aspects. Words such as lamps, brass, and most notably electric. I can’t recall ever reading someone describing their heart in such a technological way as electric. Typically descriptions are far more human with the writer using words such as valiant, to describe the person’s state of mind, or beating which despite being somewhat machinist in function feels more human. Then later it can be assumed from his choice of language in this sentence, “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”, that he and the futurists value military life. This can be deduced from words such as sentries, army, and encampments. All of these words are almost exclusively used in military context which would indicate that in addition to technology the futurists value the military and conflict. One thing that I have a hard time understanding though is given the futurists value of the military and conflict how they can be for splitting from the norm by calling for revolt. I say this because the military is very ritualized and full of traditions as well as conflict, namely war, being despite appearances is very organized. These two things just seem to be hardly compatible with revolutionary against the norm notions.

    • Alec Alley says:

      “Despite being somewhat machinist in function feels more human” This sentence made me think about the relationship between the futurists and the romantics. As you mention in your post, the futurists were contradictory in their hopes of going against the norms by embracing an institution like the military. I can see a contradiction in their love of technology. In his manifesto his uses the term beauty to describe a roaring car, which could be analogous to a romantic writing a poem about a meadow. The futurists valued beauty too, its just they thought was new and man-made was beautiful, whereas the romantics were nostalgic for what was not man-made. Both were reactions to the changing world around them. The Romantic movement was a response to the changes of the industrial revolution, while the futurists were reacting to a world where industry and technology was accepted and the norm. These were young people, and the young always want to feel like they were the first to think of an idea, but often the idea has been thought of before, just directed to something different.

    • Sean R-D says:

      I liked how you noticed how the futurist valued technology. They love how an industrial revolution created such a fast-past up tempo environment. And thus they adored the “thrill” of war. The newly invented electricity brought life to the future. These futurists wanted to evolve themselves in all that is new. This is rather bold seeing what happened with the destruction after WWI, but nonetheless it was embraced. All things dangerous, speed, even revolt were praised. I think it is easy to understand with all this new technology and the unknown destruction that it could bring to support the war and embrace all things new. I respect your opinion by saying this is difficult, but imagine you were around at this time and all these inventions first come out. I’m sure one would think of these a cool innovation.= with little consequences. I think the futurism way of thinking is one of the great mistakes in the modern era due to the eventually devastations caused by war.

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