Forum 1

First, please post here by 11:59pm on Tuesday June 13th 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 Wednesday June 14th. Feel free to respectfully disagree with each other if it’s in the interest of probing into an issue more deeply.

34 thoughts on “Forum 1

  1. In page 75 of “The Visual Word” Johanna Drucker quotes an English critic from The Egoist as saying “The important feature of a picture is not that it represents or reminds us of a given object, however strange this statement may sound, but that it is a group of lines and colors arranged rhythmically. A picture is first of all a pattern and not just the reproduction of a certain thing.”

    I definitely understand and agree with that statement. A picture stands on its own. It can be non-referential and have a meaning specific to it carrying on from the idea of modernism and literature in the late 19th century and early 20th century. We should learn to look AT a picture and not THROUGH it. Pictures, like words, invoke emotion even with the utilization of something as simple as free space in the case of Mallarme’s “A Throw of the Dice”.

    If there is anything i disagree with from the critic’s quote it is their proclamation that it is strange to think that a picture does not represent a given object. The critic follows it by stating that a picture is a group of lines and colors arranged rhythmically. I don’t think it is strange at all. Mina Loy, in trying to argue for Futurism, stated in her “Aphorism on Futurism” that “The straight line and the circle are the parents of design. Form The basis of art. There is no limit to their coherent variability.” Lines, circles, and colors are the basis of all that we view in our world and in artwork can be used to make the most powerful pieces of art that send a strong message.

    Marinetti’s “Apres la Marne” is a perfect example for the above arguments. It is a piece of art so complex that i would consider it poetry despite it being predominantly composed of lines and figures. It has themes of Fascism which he supports and violence akin to his role in the Futurist Movement. It tells a complex story of France in World War I. And with love and patriotism for their country, the french defeat the germans. All of these interpretations were made from relatively few words.

    While “Apres la Marne” is considered a referential piece it nevertheless stands on its own as an artwork composed of lines arranged rhythmically that as far as i know is original.

    – Abdulwahab “Wahab” Alshallal

    1. I found it interesting that you said, “If there is anything I disagree with from the critic’s quote it is their proclamation that it is strange to think that a picture does not represent a given object.” My experience has been that most people think pictures are OF things that is to say they are representational. That would agree with the critic’s statement that it strange to think that a picture doesn’t represent a specific object.

      It seems to me that you have some more knowledge about art and that this affects your perception of what the “average” viewer might understand when looking at a particular piece of art. Lines, circles, and colors are indeed the building blocks of art and they can be used to create representational or non-representational (abstract) art, both of which can send strong emotional messages.

    2. Wahab,

      I agree that the most important aspect of a picture is not to represent or remind us of a given object, but I do believe it is an inevitable outcome. It is strange to think of art with no significance. I would never say an image must represent something, but the human brain is so complex I find it almost impossible to believe any art to not have an intended or unintended object. What spurs theses artists to create such things? Something must be occurring in the life or mind driving them to share something with the viewer. If the artist has absolutely no significance behind the work, they would never have thought it up. Anti-art for example stems from the artist’s desire to create art that is almost unnatural, and that alone to me carries intention.

      -Luke

  2. I found the idea of futurism in variety theater extremely interesting. Ultimately, the futurists craved chaos and destruction. They wanted intense and sporadic disruptions. They wanted people shouting from the crowds, sneezing, coughing and fleeing in discomfort. The entire experience would change day to day- which makes sense for them, no need to dwell on past experiences. In a way I think this sounds like it could be an incredible time. When we go to the theater we know how the night will unfold, even if we don’t know the story. In this theater, people would enter with no expectations, which could potentially open their nights to hundreds of fresh possibilities.

    The manifesto states that they intend to, “systematically prostitute all works of classic art on the stage”. To me this seems like an interesting concept. By butchering and combining classical tragedies, new works emerge. Even with intent to destroy and mock, I still think that the perspective could create an interesting point of view into the futurists idea of the status quo. Of course classic works deserve to be respected. I think that this is where the disconnect lies for me. Futurists are working to disrespect, while I believe that in order to create a quality critique, you need to first respect the art for what it is.

    The Variety Theater Manifesto uses certain forms of mild humiliation on their spectators in order to surface specific reactions. For example, they intend to literally glue people to their seats without their prior knowledge. It is impossible to gauge the response to this degree of performance art, especially considering that most of the audience would most likely be upper class. Even today, I think it would be a really interesting experiment on how unsuspecting spectators respond to their own humiliation. I can only assume it would be negative, but perhaps a person devoted to understanding art would come to appreciate it.

    This behavior in a classically high class environment creates an interesting comment toward the upper class and bourgeoisie. Since they are typically the group who spends the most time in the theater, it is clear that futurists are mocking them in a sense, destroying and deconstructing the principles of art and “good behavior”.

    Towards the end of the manifesto, sense seems to be lost and Marinetti begins to speak without specific intention, leaving the reader confused. I think this is reflexive of the manifesto itself. By losing order, it shows the ways in which they want the theater to be. Loud, fragmented, and lacking logic.

    -Maggie Joe Hernandez

    1. Great argument. I agree with you that the futurists wish to start anew every day and the example you used with the theater. What i don’t agree with you on is the your statement that futurists are working to disrespect. I understand how you may come to that conclusion. You were exploring Marinetti’s work those themes were definitely there but i think that was specific to him only. He was an angry Fascist. I don’t think that futurists work to disrespect and one of the many examples that i think support that is Mina Loy’s work in her Feminist Manifesto. She was arguing for Feminism, true, but by also using her views on Futurism so i think it applies. She tried to encourage women to step up and change how men view women. In a literal sense it may have come off as disrespectful but i don’t think that was the intention.

      – Abdulwahab “Wahab” Alshallal

      Oops accidentally made it as a post not a reply!

  3. On Thursday, June 8, 2017, our class resumed our discussion of Futurism.

    A major aspect of Futurism is the concept of violently rejecting the nature-based, soft, sleepy, or feminine aspects of art and uplifting the dynamism of modern technology, with its emphasis on machismo, speed, struggle, and war. The Manifesto of Futurism, written by 20th century Italian poet Fillippo Marinetti, rejects the past and promotes the aspects of that time which accompanied Italy’s cultural shift toward concepts that are unimaginable to most of today’s world.

    One of the examples discussed in class was the short play They are Coming: A Drama of Objects, also by Marinetti. This drama is set in the home of a member of the bourgeois (upper class), but all the actors represent the servants (lower class). The aspect of Futurism which symbolizes the strength and power of the upper classes, comes into play a lot here, as the majordomo (the head of the servants) is close enough to the upper class to treat the servants who report to him with the same violence, cruelty, and injustice as the upper class.

    The image at the end of the play where, “The servants wedged into a corner, wait trembling with evident agony…” shows how the majordomo holds the power within the hierarchy of the home (although he is a servant himself and must act accordingly when in the presence of his own masters) and the servants are always in the weak position, even to the point of living in fear and trembling.

    The elements of anarchy mentioned in the class discussion refer to the movement’s anti-government and anti-establishment elements, and Fascist, of course, refers to the extreme Italian nationalism introduced to Italy by Mussolini. The Futurists welcomed Fascism’s love of power through strength and violence and its promise of a world without weakness.

    The random sounds spoken by the majordomo, “Briccatirakamekame,” also represent the way the arbitrary rules of those in power must be obeyed, even when they are not clear or even understandable. There is no opportunity for servants to question, even for the sake of clarity. They must do their best to understand and hope they are right, or face punishment if they guess wrong.

    The stage direction, “The very distinct shadows (obtained by moving the reflector slowly) visibly lengthen the French windows,” emphasizes how the servants are afraid even of these symbols of their masters, who have shown no sign of compassion towards them.

    For Marinetti, the chairs represent the powerful, who must always have someone to rule. The purpose of servants is to be ruled, even dominated, by the upper classes. The play shows his belief in the total supremacy of the upper classes and their right to hold power and use it any way they wish – a clear support of the ideas of Fascism.

    I believe that by learning about Futurism and its effect on artists and others living at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, I can begin to have a sense of how it might have felt to be alive at this important time in world history. It is interesting to see the pressures these artists felt around them and the way their art supported the growth of nationalism and Fascism, even before the start of WWI, especially with the knowledge we have today of what happened afterward.

    -Matthew P. Lembong

  4. Great argument. I agree with you that the futurists wish to start anew every day and the example you used with the theater. What i don’t agree with you on is the your statement that futurists are working to disrespect. I understand how you may come to that conclusion. You were exploring Marinetti’s work those themes were definitely there but i think that was specific to him only. He was an angry Fascist. I don’t think that futurists work to disrespect and one of the many examples that i think support that is Mina Loy’s work in her Feminist Manifesto. She was arguing for Feminism, true, but by also using her views on Futurism so i think it applies. She tried to encourage women to step up and change how men view women. In a literal sense it may have come off as disrespectful but i don’t think that was the intention.

    – Abdulwahab “Wahab” Alshallal

  5. One of the main aspects of futurist that we touched on in class was the futurists dictate for women. Marinate himself proclaimed in his “Futurist Manifesto” to fight feminism and glorify contempt for women. In “The Manifesto of Futurist Women”, Valentine de Saint Point argues that women are necessary for this futurist movement, but the idea of femininity is what needs to be demolished. They argues for women to “go back to your sublime instinct, to violence, to cruelty.” Additionally, they state that women are equal to men, and that they are necessary to a revolution.
    However, I do have some criticisms for de Saint Point’s Manifesto. They argue for women to be in equal positions to men, and to take back control and harness their masculine traits. Then, at another point in the essay, they state that feminism is a “political error” and a “cerebral error of women.” This seems incredibly contradictory, as the feminist movement has always been centered around giving women equal rights to men. They argue that giving women the duties that they speak will strip them of their “fecundating power.” My problem with the sentiment is as follows: If women’s power comes from the ability to nurture and to be feminine, this completely contradicts the notion that women need to harness their more masculine, less nurturing traits in order to become more powerful. Additionally, if giving women the same duties of men will create an excess of order and stray from the disorder that futurists desire, how can one argue that women need to be equal to men (thus creating more order) and embrace futurism? (disorder)
    The manifesto glorifies ferocious, aggressive women, then ends by reducing women to either lovers or mothers. This call for heroic, strong women seems to be unsupported by the authors other claims, stating that a woman’s role is to help a man and their value comes from their positions of subservience. These ideas seem to contradict with the futurist movement, or at least my understanding of it.
    Finally, de Saint Point argues that the embodiment of true femininity is a female. They suggest that times of peace and softness are inherently feminine, and the futurist movement should aim to end this period of femininity. Additionally, the call for women to embrace masculinity is clear. However, if all women were to respond this call to futurism and embrace these masculine traits, these traits would then become feminine, as they would be characteristics of females. Thus, this call for women in futurism seems a bit paradoxical and contradictory.

    -Maya Watson

    1. Interesting! I agree, it feels like there wasn’t a unified Futurist position on women. As far as I can see, the Futurists agreed on surprisingly few things — and their universal worship of disorder contributed to that. The Futurist act of elevating chaos to the position of a purifying, cleansing force has definitely made our job harder. It’s hard to assess a movement where every participant had a different point of view.

      Certainly, the “woman question” was a very popular topic at the time, and the Futurists were sadly not alone in being aggressively misogynistic. I’ll have to think more about the Futurist position on women. You’ve brought up some very good points.

    2. Your response to de Saint Point’s call for women to embrace masculinity is similar to my own, and I believe that Mina Loy would agree with us. In Loy’s Feminist Manifesto she explains how, “The man who lives a life in which his activities conform to a social code which is a protectorate of the feminine element – is no longer masculine.” She believes that men and women are not equals, in the sense that women can be anything they want, they are not limited to being a mistress or a mother, but more importantly she believes that every woman still has the right to maternity which is something a man can never obtain.

      – Matthew W. Davenport

  6. In “The Futurist Manifesto” by F.T Marinetti, he goes into detail exactly what futurists should do and believe. The points that most stand out to me is number 9 where he states, “We want to glorify war – the only cure for the world – militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of the anarchists, the beautiful ideas which kill, and contempt for woman.” And number 10 when he says, “We want to demolish museums and libraries, fight morality, feminism and all opportunist and utilitarian cowardice.” Because these are the only points in his manifesto where he mentions women.
    Marinetti’s “contempt for women” and his desire to fight feminism is something that immediately turned me off to the ideas that he presented in his manifesto. Marinetti thought of war as a way to cleanse the world. He thought of war as beautiful and necessary. Since women at this time were viewed as frail, delicate, and submissive it makes sense that he would have a “contempt for women” because what women at this time represented went against everything that he believed in. War as he saw it represents strength, toughness and everything that is considered intrinsic to being a man all of which were not what women were. However, since Marinetti worked a lot with other women it is okay to give him the benefit of doubt and say that perhaps he didn’t hate women but rather hated what women represented. Women represented fragility and submissiveness and maybe Marinetti was striving to make women appear more like what he thought was correct which was strength and dominance. This however would not explain his wish to demolish feminism because if he did in fact believe that women should be tougher than he would be a proponent of feminism.
    Today feminism is striving to achieve equality between the sexes. However, in 1909 when Marinetti was writing his manifesto feminism was just starting to become prevalent. Feminism at that time mainly entailed women fighting for the right to vote. This was other wise known as First wave feminism. Women at this time were considered frail, delicate beings who should only aspire to be wives and mothers. There really was not any way for a woman to prosper professionally. Even some of the women who were at the fore-front of feminism at this time did not think that women should be equal to men they just wanted the right to vote. So this might prove that maybe feminism as it was defined at this point in time was not what Marinetti envisioned as what women should be.
    Although I don’t agree with Marinetti’s views on women I believe that due to the time and his beliefs as a futurist I am able to see why he included these points in his manifesto.
    -Claudia Guerra

    1. I appreciate you giving Marinetti the benefit of the doubt as far as his view on women and feminism at that time. Unfortunately, I have to disagree with this view that he maybe some how just wanted to change the definition and perspective of the masses. In this time period there were many men with the same view point as women not being strong enough to have the same rights as men. They were only meant to marry and bare their children. This was just the general consensus of men in this time period. He must have a blurred view at this point of women and feminism, as Valentine de Saint Point takes the time to clap-back and write a Manifesto of Futurist Woman in response. If Marinetti was in fact in support of women stepping up and being apart of society as equals, I don’t think that piece would have been written back to his work like it did.

  7. “The Variety Theater Manifesto” seems to highlight the futurist ideas of irrationality, chaos, and destruction. Marinetti suggests a transformation of the theater into a theater that humiliates classic art and causes chaos for the spectators.
    Marinetti suggests that the theater should “introduce surprise”, not just in the performance, but also in the audience. Ideas such as gluing the audience to their seats reflect the futurist ideas of chaos and can be seen as a way to humiliate those who typically attend the theater: the upper class. Shocking elements are also put into the performance itself in order to surprise the audience and to add to the irrationality and chaos on stage. Marinetti suggests shocking ideas such interrupting a song with “insults and profanity” and even put a thirty-meter tall champagne glass on the stage. These irrational ideas put onto the stage would change the natural tradition of the theater.
    How this manifesto is written also seems to reflect the ideas being presented within it because of its intense imagery and, at times, almost random structure. The last paragraph does not seem to follow a rational train of thought, and is continually interrupted with bold text, random spacing, and equations. In this way, I feel that the chaos and absurdity that Marinetti wants to bring to the theater is represented.
    It is also suggested that classic art should be mocked and humiliated, which I believe supports Marinetti’s point in “The Futurist Manifesto” of destroying things such as art and museums, which romanticize the past. However, I find it interesting that Marinetti choses to write about transforming the theater instead of completely destroying it. The theater is something that greatly romanticizes the past and classic art as well as being seen as mostly popular with the bourgeoisie. In “The Futurist Manifesto”, Marinetti claims that he wants to destroy the things of the past and emphasis the importance of not living in the past, so why would Marinetti not want to eradicate the theater? By not abolishing the theatre, but instead transforming it, Marinetti starts a war on tradition in the theatre. Marinetti wants the theatre completely changed into a theater of madness that he hopes will transform the audience’s thoughts into futurist thought.
    I feel that the ideas presented by Marinetti are intense and shocking, and that this theater of absurdity would create mixed reactions. Some in the audience might understand the futurist ideas and appreciate the theater’s chaos and irrationality, while others would feel anger and disgust towards this transformation of the variety theater.

    1. This is a very interesting point of view! I like your ideas on how Marienetti didn’t want to destroy arts like theater, but simply transform them. Personally, I cannot imagine attending a play where I was glued to the chair or where the song was interrupted and profanities were shouted. Had I known what to expect going in, I might think of it as funny or ridiculous, but had I expected a traditional theater experience, I would have probably been offended or embarrassed. It is interesting that this is the reaction he was going for. This piece really does show how badly he wanted to shake up traditions and norms at the time, and really advances his arguments against the upper class and the absurdity of past traditions.

  8. In Der Dada No. 2, Raoul Hausmann’s bold typographic Dadaist poem ends with the rhetorical question, “Is Dada real energy? Or is it nothing at all, ie, everything?” I believe this juxtaposition represents the irony that is behind all, if not most, Dada works. Dada is contradictory in its very essence. Dada may be one thing, and very well might not be that thing at the same time. This may seem nonsensical to the readers of a Dada poem, but to the author, irrationality and insincerity can be used to form a unique and creative work that is Dada, but also isn’t at the same time.
    Tristan Tzara, the primary figurehead for the Dadaist movement at the age of only nineteen, fought the assumption that Dada was a statement. The prologue to Dada begins with a quote from Tzara that reads, “You are mistaken if you take Dada as a modern school, or as a reaction against the schools of today… Dada is not at all modern.” Although Tzara might believe this, it has become clear to me that Dada is, in fact, a reaction against the schools of his time, and even more importantly it is considered to be a modern movement regardless of Tzaras convictions. A true Dada poet such as Tzara could not admit to Dada being a modern movement. most works that are considered to be Dada were inspired against cultural and intellectual authority, the burgeois, and colonialist interest. Dada was formed in order to make art and poems that did not possess the structure and rigidity that existed within other schools and practices during the early 19th century. Somehow regardless of its opposition to other movements and literary schools, Dada appears to be a movement with particular rules for inclusion such as: irrationality, rejection to authority, and minimizing the role of the author/artist in a work of poetry or art.
    I think that the best way to represent the irony of the Dada movement is by another quote from Tristan Tzara which says, “The true Dadas are against Dada.” To a Dada poet this quote represents the anti-Dada rhetoric they are so accustomed to. As I said before, Dada is, and it isn’t at the same time. Dada is not Dada, and that is what makes it Dada. Dada is ironic, and confusing, and contradictory, but it is supposed to be or else it would be considered something different altogether.

    – Matthew W. Davenport

    1. Matthew,

      I really liked how in depth you went on Dada and the concept of anti-dadaism. It is a tricky subject with the ‘thought loop’ of nothing as a something. I am in complete agreement that the movement itself is contradictory, ironic, and confusing. However, I also found that if we are able to get past the rabbit hole then there is something of value to be found. In dadaism there is an impressive amount of freedom. The lack of form and suppression of technique nurtures an artistic medium driven by an individual perspective. Its desire to be a movement against intention is impossible as a concept, but I do believe there is beauty to be found in the fight against giving artists and the bourgeois more power. If the meaning of the art relies entirely in the view of the common man then all negative intent can be stripped away. Complete Dadaism is unattainable and far-fetched, but I find that the goal behind it stems from something beautiful.

  9. As we have talked about in class futurism was all about the abandonment of the past and the excitement and life that the future holds. Although Mina Loy’s “Aphorisms on Futurism” does speak great volumes about the velocity of futurism and the want to live in the future instead of the past I do think she takes a different approach than Marinetti in his “Futurist Manifesto”. Loy talks about love and people in way that Marinetti does not even mention. She states “LOVE the hideous in order to find the sublime core of it.” and “OPEN you arms to the dilapidated, to rehabilitate them.” She also talks of self love and states, “FORGET that you live in houses, that you may live in yourself.” Marinetti also makes abstract remarks about the importance of self but he never speaks of it as self love but more so self-importance and power of the individual. When Marinetti talks about other people he is defensive and thinks that they are against him, he also states that war is the only cure for the world. This makes his view seem destructive and a little crazy whereas Loy’s focuses on human nature.
    Both Loy and Marinetti focus around the same futurist themes of power, speed, bravery and pushing forward but I think each have a few distinct differences that show that futurism was not just one definition, but in fact was still abstract enough for each contributor to form their own thoughts. Marinetti wants to demolish museums, libraries, and glorify war while Loy wants you to believe in yourself and love yourself and others. I find Loy’s humanitarian approach to be much more acceptable because if the past is completely destroyed and you set forth with great velocity into a new world where you must be aggressive and glorify violence among other things the world would only end up in a disaster. But if you go into this new world of futurism thinking that there has already been damage in this world and now we must harness that consciousness and use it to make the future limitless would create a better world and empower each individual. Futurism was about pushing on with great force and both Marinetti and Loy make that point without confusion but with differing personalities and outlooks on the world it is clear to see that no movement has one concrete set of ideologies and can vary from person to person.

    1. I find your contrast between Loy and Marinetti interesting because it shows two different sides of futurism. The idea that Loy looks at the world with a more humanitarian perspective is interesting, since Marinetti’s focuses for futurism seem to be destruction and chaos. As you said, Loy’s focus is on love while Marinetti’s is on power. This makes me wonder as to who gets to define futurism? It seems as though what defines futurism varies from artist to artist, so possibly futurism is determined by the individual. Like you said, no one movement has one concrete set of ideologies.

  10. In class we had the opportunity to get into groups and talk about some of the works from Futurisms, by F.T. Marinetti. My group got the chance to study Apres la Marne and decipher what exactly it was that Marinetti was trying to tell us through this piece.
    From my perspective I decided it was a map. A map of success, war, balance, and landscape. Marinetti states within the piece, “a visual dynamic route.” I took that as a dynamic route created across the piece, to follow and explore.
    I view the route as starting in France, the top left corner, where he portrays France as beautiful, and places the word in the M to symbolize mountains. Before the flow downward, we read, “Viva la France.” Once through the beauty of France and appreciation for the country. The route then moves down to war, tombs, and enemies. He puts cramped words and symbols in an oversized U as if showing a mass grave for those killed, and the term, Prussiens, who are the enemies. The dynamic route then flows up and across diagonally through the “tatata” of drums and success through to victory, friendship, and balance.
    In the Manifesto of Futurism, the #1 point states, “We intend to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and fearlessness.” This is where I believe he places the “tatata” of the drums so succinctly between victory and war.
    I think this is a purposeful journey Marinetti has created, as stated in his Manifesto of Futurism, “courage, audacity, and revolt,” are all apart of his meaning. His mixture of painting and poetry all come together to depict the perfect futurism scene from the one and only Marinetti.

    1. I really love the idea of reading this piece as a map, especially because that never would have initially come to me. I think it makes sense, especially because futurists were so focused on war and violence. It seems like the section that you compared to a mass grave is without a doubt a symbol for chaos. I wonder though, if any of the piece is simply random. Considering the idea of authors giving up their power and creating works with no meaning besides surface level (although I think that was more of the dada movement), I wonder if this piece could be considered entirely illogical. Even if it was created with that intention, I still think that you gave it a lot of context and your reading is really on the nose.

  11. Futurism, as it defined itself in the numerous manifestos it issued, shares a great number of elements with fascism – Italian or not – but also fundamentally disagrees with it. The opinions of different Futurists towards fascism varied. Futurism did future commenters a service by obligingly self-summarizing itself via manifesto, but fascism lacked such documents. Umberto Eco’s essay “Ur-Fascism” does an able job of providing the necessary summarization of fascism as an idea.

    The fundamental cultural conservatism of fascism made for a surface-level opposition of the two ideologies. But this boils down to characteristics that the two actually share, most generally a fear of any change from outside. Futurist writers cursed a number of outside forces – Marinetti’s “Futurist Manifesto” contains a vow to “deliver Italy from its gangrene of professors, archaeologists, tourist guides and antiquaries”, among others. Fascists framed everyday life as a perpetual war (this is Eco’s point 9).

    The theme of rejection of the modern world and modern culture is most expressed in fascism, where Goering’s famous remark “when I hear talk of ‘culture’, I reach for my gun”, and the idea of “degenerate art”, essentially serve to sum up the attitude. But Futurism explicitly celebrates modern technology, and the effects it has had on everyday life. The similarity here is that both fascism and Futurism reject modern culture, and revile the people who create it as well as the place where it is created. Marinetti curses “museums, libraries and academies (those cemeteries of wasted effort, calvaries of crucified dreams, registers of false starts”.

    Most similar is one of the ideals that Futurism and fascism teach to individuals. Fascism promotes a cult of aggressive, deliberately irrational violence, to be performed by doomed, heroic young men – these are Eco’s points 3 and 11. Marinetti obligingly comes out and states the first of these ideas plainly: “We want to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and rashness”. His agreement with the second idea is more prolonged: Marinetti lovingly describes a moment of hoped-for violence where early Futurists are chased down and murdered by their followers, thus proving their heroism.

    The fetishization of machines is another trait shared by fascism and Futurism – Eco mentions this briefly in his second point. Marinetti’s description of a night driving his car is effusive in its praise of the machine itself. After a crash, which requires removing the car from a muddy ditch, he writes, “We thought it was dead, my good shark, but I woke it with a single caress of its powerful back, and it was revived running as fast as it could on its fins”. He admiringly speaks of the automobile as a powerful animal, a living thing which he worships for its great speed.

    Of course there’s more that can be said about the places where Futurism and fascism align, but this serves as a starting point.

  12. In class we had the opportunity to get into groups and talk about some of the works from Futurisms, by F.T. Marinetti. My group got the chance to study Apres la Marne and decipher what exactly it was that Marinetti was trying to tell us through this piece. I really like this artwork because it has the opportunity to be viewed in so many difference ways, especially as a work from the futurism period.
    From my perspective I decided it was a map. A map of success, war, balance, and landscape. Marinetti states within the piece, “a visual dynamic route.” I took that as a dynamic route created across the piece, to follow and explore.
    I view the route as starting in France, the top left corner, where he portrays France as beautiful, and places the word in the M to symbolize mountains. Before the flow downward, we read, “Viva la France.” Once through the beauty of France and appreciation for the country. The route then moves down to war, tombs, and enemies. He puts cramped words and symbols in an oversized U as if showing a mass grave for those killed, and the term, Prussiens, who are the enemies. The dynamic route then flows up and across diagonally through the “tatata” of drums and success through to victory, friendship, and balance.
    In the Manifesto of Futurism, the #1 point states, “We intend to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and fearlessness.” This is where I believe he places the “tatata” of the drums so succinctly between victory and war.
    I like to think this is a purposeful journey Marinetti has created, as stated in his Manifesto of Futurism, “courage, audacity, and revolt,” are all apart of his meaning. His mixture of painting and poetry all come together to depict the perfect futurism scene from the one and only Marinetti.

  13. The Manifesto of Futurist Woman by Valentine de Saint Point has some very interesting ideas but seemed to contradict herself in many areas.

    She starts by saying that men and women should be equal and that over the course of humanity, we have periods where amazing people arise but we are not, at the time of writing this, in one of those periods. She says that this is due to the lack of solar profusion, which she coins as being a lack of spilled blood. She appears to believe that we are in a time ruled by femininity, which she called “springtime” and need to become more violent and rowdy but it isn’t completely clear what she wants to happen.

    Is she saying that there are no relevant wars and there must be war? This is confusing because she then goes on to say that periods with just war and violence (periods rules by masculinity) are predominantly bad. I understand that she believes there needs to be a middle ground but war in my opinion is not a positive. This could be more of an issue with futurism in general. It almost seems as if she’s calling for war but this war will have no meaning, we are fighting merely to fight in which case we will lose more than we gain; that is if we do gain anything.

    She then goes on to say that a complete being is both feminine and masculine. She gives the example of heroes. No matter who they are or where they came from, we see them as heroes because they all possess an equal amount of femininity and masculinity. This is why we love them, because we can find ourselves in them. Although she has a great argument here, she doesn’t explicitly say who can be this “hero”. Does she think that this could potentially be anyone or are there only certain people who can reach this rank? This person obviously must have an equal amount of femininity and masculinity but she says that we should all be like that implying that we should all be hero’s which would then inherently lose it’s meaning.

    I’m also not completely sure if I agree with how she handles her stance. I believe that men and women should be equal but I don’t think we have to deem primarily masculine and feminine traits as an evil. I see it more as, if we can be comfortable with who we are as individuals and be allowed to be ourselves, we can progress as a society quicker. People should be able to act/be as feminine or masculine as they want and have no constraints while simultaneously not making others feel bad about who they are.

    1. I found “The Manifesto of the Futurist Woman” by Valentine de Saint Pont to be rather confusing as well. I completely agree when you talk about how you think that people should act and be as feminine or masculine as they want and that we shouldn’t make people feel bad about who they are. Like she talks about how a woman can only be a lover or a mother. In this she is saying that a woman cannot be both which I don’t think is true. I think that we shouldn’t expect women to be entirely feminine in that women were considered sensitive, fragile, and maternal or entirely masculine meaning that men were supposed to be stone-cold, strong, and tough because we as humans are allowed to be both. Like how men are allowed to cry, show emotion and often times assume the role of both mother and father and how women are capable of being strong and being heros as well.

  14. In the Prologue to Dada, Tzara makes a case that Dada is “a disgust for solutions altogether and prescriptions for making art.” He highlights the effort the movement takes in purifying art and the relationship viewers have with what they read, see, or hear. Dada is almost obsessed with the notion that “the only technique is the suppression of technique, and the only sense of form is to deny form as a value.” Its aim to overthrow the corruption of intentional art is almost a contradiction to itself. However, I believe that if people can get past the pedantic concept of ‘anti-dadaism’ they will see the beauty in perspective.

    Dada gives all the power to the common man. Those whom might hold wealth, power, or talent fall out of their roles when the life of the art relies entirely on the viewer. A political man might use art as propaganda or an artist might manipulate a medium to demonstrate his opinions. I love that through the Dada process the beauty comes entirely from within the imagination of the viewer. The common man no longer needs the creator in order to experience the art. There can be no subliminal control or messaging in something formed entirely in randomness. In Hugo Ball’s The Sun, he states that “I digest goat cheese. I am a mammoth’s calf. Green grassbugs snuffle me. Green spans green sabers and bridges and rainbows over my belly.” The intense and nonsensical imagery of these lines mirror his intent to let the words run wild and affect me however they please. As a dadaist his goal is not to make me feel a certain way or think a certain way, but to allow me to think or feel however I might choose upon reading his work. His random and extreme diction allows me to be the master of the artwork and draw whatever conclusions I might see fit. The art is beautiful and moving only because I decide that it is so. Dada is purified of manipulation and status. I can be anyone and enjoy the possibilities hidden in the layers of the piece. Dadaism gives art a life of its own and removes the flaws or negative intent that comes with aspects of human nature.

    The idea of chance and the lack of form is represented through many forms in the Dada movement. Sound poems are one of my favorite ways to experience the irrationality of the art. Sounds themselves have an inspiring weight to them. They do not require a puppet master to bend them into ideas that the listener must experience or accept. I appreciate that Sound poems belong to the performer and not to the writer. If I was to speak out loud the death chant written by Hugo Ball, the nonsensical nature of the words would allow me to turn it into anything. The meaning behind the words is empty so I have complete control on how it comes across. I can make it happy, sad, or thoughtful based on how I chant it out loud. The way someone might hear me chant it might also mean something unique to them based on my inflection. Individuals might see this art as cheating since the creator is not forcing a concept or opinion behind it. However, I see this as the ultimate freedom of art because now it belongs to me and my ideas instead of he who wrote it. It allows me to interact and have an intimate conversation with the art instead of being subjected to a programmed speech.

    Dadaism is the movement towards the lack of form. The lack of form is a form in and of itself. This is where ‘anti-dadaism’ as a concept stands up and makes an appearance. Dada is nothing, but even that nothing is a something. However, the goal of Dadaism is not to surpass the impossibility of zero form. It is the desire to free art of manipulation and allow beauty to exist without an opinion standing behind it.

    1. I think you really hit the nail of the head with your explanation of what Dadaism is trying to achieve. The nonsensical nature of modern art attracts a lot of criticism because it is not what people expect, which ironically seems to be the point. People see the Mona Lisa and praise its beauty, they see The School of Athens and revel in its history, they appreciate the skill involved in the creation of the statue of David, but they see what appears to be gibberish in a Dadaist poem and only feel confusion. You’re right when you say that observers of Dadaist art feel that they artist is cheating. People expect to find purpose in art, and feel that it is their job as the observers is to extract its meaning. With Dada they fail to do so and are left feeling confused and soon realize that the purpose they were searching for was never there to begin with. What they don’t realize is that, in removing the purpose/meaning/message behind the art, the artist giving the observer full control. With this the observers are not told what to think or feel, but rather given the ability to think or feel however they want to about the piece, and I believe a careful, introspective observation of the observers’ own thoughts or feelings may lead them to find that the art is hidden within themselves and may give them a different perspective on their own consciousness.

    2. I am fascinated by the notion that the readers of a Dada creation are themselves elevated to creators of the art. I think some of the most compelling things that I have experienced involve a blurring of the lines between observer and participant. A real freedom exists in the interface between the two.

      I also appreciate your discussion of the paradox of Dada and anti-Dada in your final paragraph, especially that Dada is the “desire to free art of manipulation”. This is what I want in art. Or at the very least, one of the things that I enjoy about art. I love to look at a painting or read a poem and not have a “oh that reminds me x,y,z.” I want to be surprised. I want an art that accesses new avenues in my brain, and to explore places I never imagined possible. And then to pick up the same piece months later and explore something totally different and unexpected.

  15. I am curious about how the Futurist writers would view themselves from the perspective of our modern world. I am curious about this for two reasons; the futurists were unavoidably doomed to become the past, and the reality of war is dark and inglorious.
    One of the primary tenets of futurism was to liberate literature from the past, and to allow writing to be free, new, and creative. In the various futurist manifestos, there is much disdain for museums and libraries. In the 21st century, however, museums and libraries have become the permanent homes of their works. It is a strange irony. They were fighting against the past, and proclaim that “Time and Space died yesterday”, but without considering the future, they are unavoidably doomed to yesterday. They pushed so hard against old forms, but forgot that they themselves would become old forms. And I wonder, if they were hurled 100 years in to the future, how they would react to themselves. Would they look upon themselves as cultists of the past, and sweep themselves clean of their own themes and subjects?
    I see Dada as a solution to this irony. Dada recognizes the contradiction in movement against movements. From the first quote on the Prologue to Dada reading, Tristan Tzara says “The true Dadas are against Dada.” It seems to me that they captured what the Futurist naively wished to capture. The Dada philosophy, with all its paradoxes and contradictions, allowed itself to be rejected by itself, and therefore be genuinely free in its creativity.
    I also wonder how the Futurists would respond to themselves in response to the wars that were fought during and after their movements. I am not sure of how aware they were with the realities of World War I, but their glorification of war seems to agree with much of Europe’s perspective in the early stages of the war. War was often perceived in a positive light; it allowed soldiers and common people to elevate themselves to heroes, to band together in a great comradery, to experience the virtues of honor and victory. But the reality of World War I was dark and inglorious. Would the Futurists have pushed for such violence in their art considering the genuine horrors and madness of war? How would it have changed their manifestos?

    1. This is a very interesting point about what the futurists would think about themselves in our modern day world. You say that they might look back at themselves as cultists of the past and I think that could be true if they were still very set in their ways of thinking that the past was poison then they would have to believe that about themselves. If they were to begin again I would imagine them coming up with something entirely new and leaving their old works abandoned in the past. In your last paragraph you speak of war and how the futurists might react to it if they knew the horror that was behind it. I think you’re right, I don’t think they thought of the death and the hardship that people were put through everyday but like you said, in that time war was centered around the pride and honor of soldiers. I think they would still push for the same concepts of violence in their works in WWI. If per say the futurists were here today and the world was facing another great war I think they would have to consider the dark thoughts that our society has about war today and I don’t think they would use the same violent tactics in their pieces.

      -Andie Layne

    2. I think it’s a really interesting question that you pose. And I agree that it does seem ironic how as much as the Futurists despised museums and libraries, today those are the places where we can find their work. However, I disagree with the statement: “They pushed so hard against old forms, but forgot that they themselves would become old forms.” I believe that they knew all too well that they would become old forms and I believe that they welcomed the prospect. In Marinetti’s manifesto he states, “Art, in fact, can be nothing but violence, cruelty, and injustice.” By saying this I think he is aware that future generations will want to abolish his work and create something of their own.

  16. F.T. Marinetti in “The Futurist Manifesto” obviously thought futurism required a great deal of pain and suffering. Declaring that “the only cure for the world – militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of the anarchists, the beautiful ideas which kill, and contempt for woman.”
    In my opinion great change does require the boundaries to be pushed. Which futurists are trying to do; however, I have yet to be convinced that futurism is truly a movement at all. It appears to me to be a group of young adults sitting in a room making proclamations about what they believe, do you see a difference between that and our own classroom setting? I for one do not, except for the obvious fact that futurism was established and we are studying their ideals.

    Marinetti’s states “they will crowd around us, panting with anguish and disappointment… will hurl themselves forward to kill us” Futurists hope that like their desire to destroy museums and libraries a time will come when they must be destroyed. That time came before ours, for good reason. After the destruction of WWI and WW II it became clear that beauty does not only exist in struggle, and art does not require violence, cruelty, and injustice. Do any of you think it just a coincidence futurism ended around 1945 the same year WWII ended? Perhaps I’m grasping at straws. After the end of WWII we saw the rise of abstract impressionism, which I think is a clear stem from futurism art style. Having a more objective goal with the art.

    Lastly, Marinetti closes with “’we are only the sum and the prolongation of our ancestors,’ it says. Perhaps! All right! Why does it matter?” I understand their desire for moving on from the past and forging their own path which is not an uncommon thing in young adults. But where did their ideas and desire for revolution and liberation come from? Those that came before, they do matter because if not for our ancestor’s futurists would probably have never grown an interest for the arts. In conclusion I think futurism and F.T. Marinette is a pretty ridiculous movement.

    1. I think you make some really good and valid arguments. The futurist movement does seem to be mostly composed of all talk and not much action. I don’t agree with many of their ideals but I think that they are capable of calling themselves a movement since a movement can be a group of people attempting to change the status quo. We’re not trying to change anything by sitting in class, although there are probably classes like that out there. I do also think that their view on destroying history is very extreme. If these ideals were to hold true, no one in the future would know about their movement and everything they have ever done would be irrelevant.

  17. I would like to respond to a couple of the questions on the class blog relating to F.T. Marinetti’s Futurism Manifesto as well as the Manifesto of Futurist Painters.

    Firstly, I want to talk about the second question on the class blog. Which asks the question: what does it mean when Marinetti says, “Art, in fact, can be nothing but violence, cruelty, and injustice.” To start I would say that I completely agree with Marinetti in the context in which he says this. The quote appears in a paragraph that appears towards the end of the manifesto in which Marinetti is talking about the generation that comes after him will have the same desires and inspirations as the generation that he is currently a part of. What he is ultimately talking about is that he is part of a generation that wants to throw away the traditions of the past generations in order to bring on a new era of artistic innovation. He understands that the generation that comes after him will want to do the same thing. And so, he depicts this turning over of artistic expression as “violent, cruel, and unjust.”

    Next, I want to respond to the fourth question on the same class blog post. This question asks how the final “commandments” of the “Manifesto of Futurist Paintings” relates to today. I want to focus on the sixth commandment which states, “Rebel against the tyranny of words: “Harmony” and “good taste” and other loose expressions which can be used to destroy the works of Rembrandt, Goya, Rodin…” I found this question and quote very interesting because I related it to the idea of political correctness that we see all around us today. The manifesto states that we should rebel against words like “harmony” and “good faith” and what I relate this to is the idea of the satirist rebelling against the political correctness that our society seems to value so highly today. And in those terms, I see this tenet of the “Manifesto of Futurist Painters” extremely relevant to today. This idea still holds true for the people who are using ideas that may not be the most “politically correct” or in “good taste” in order to illustrate the failures of society back then and also today. The manifesto states that works such as these could “destroy the works of Rembrandt, etc…”

    I believe that it is critical to the evolution of society to create works of art, or works of anything really, that are not necessarily “politically correct” or “in good taste” in order to create a dialogue.

  18. After reading the enumerated list in “The Futurist Manifesto” by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, one may not find it surprising that the Futurists are strong advocates for lust. The goals presented by Marinetti seem to be an extreme representation of masculinity to an almost primal extent. He encourages rash behavior, glorifies violence and war, aggression, unrelenting energy, contempt for women, audacity, and revolt. After reading what he has in mind for the Futurists, the most surprising thing about the “Futurist Manifesto of Lust” may simply be the fact that it was written by a woman.
    If there was any doubt left about the animalistic nature of Futurism, Valentine de Saint-Point erases it in her manifesto concerning lust. She claims that lust and violence go hand in hand, calling lust “the painful joy of wounded flesh” and stating that “it is normal for the victors, proven in war, to turn to rape in the conquered land, so that life may be re-created”. She, however, while recognizing the primitive nature of lust, gives a more modern perspective, maintaining that lust is the motive for dominant men in every field because it “is the magnificent exaltation of their strength” and that achievement in their respective fields makes them stand out and more likely to be noticed by those they lust after.
    As would any Futurist, Valentine is concerned with the sentimental feelings attached to lust, or as she calls them, “the ill-omened debris of romanticism”. In her mind, lust is powerful force that “burns bright and clear from a healthy, strong flesh” that is disguised “in the pitiful clothes of old and sterile sentimentality”. She wants the primal desire for lust that throws the weak aside in favor of the strong to be completely free from the dramatic romanticism of love with which it is so closely intertwined.
    Valentine, in her desire to free lust from love, is claiming that lust is a primal, eternal force while love is not. Love, in the way Valentine describes it, implies jealousy and eternal bonds between those who love each other. These origins of these feelings can be traced back to primitive times in the same way she traced them back with lust. The eternal bonds could exist because the man wants to ensure the safety of his partner as she brings his children into the world, as well as the safety of his children so that they may live to have their own children and therefore pass on his genes. Jealousy may come from the man’s desire to be certain that his children are his own, and that he is not wasting his time and energy to pass on someone else’s genes. Valentine sees love as a fabrication of society, but is may be just as primal as the lust she feels it intoxicates. She also sees lust as the primary cause of men’s desire for power, but it is not unreasonable to think that men may also just want power to care for their families.

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