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mardi, 03 novembre 2015

F.T. Marinetti - Caffeina d'Europa

Dinamo-Marinetti.jpg

F.T. Marinetti

Caffeina d'Europa

Tentare di definire Filippo Tommaso Marinetti a più di 70 anni dalla morte è un esperimento difficile. Possiamo definirlo un “rivoluzionario”, un “cortocircuito” della storia culturale europea, ma soprattutto, un profetico anticipatore, ai limiti dell'incredibile. Dalla propaganda allo scandalo all'editoria, Marinetti è stato il protoideatore dei fenomeni di comunicazione di massa che oggi caratterizzano le nostre vite; nei suoi scritti compaiono descrizioni fantascientifiche di nuove tecnologie e abitudini, pienamente rintracciabili oggi in computer e social networks.
 
Ex: http://www.linttelletualedissidente.it 

Scuotere l’Italia “a suon di schiaffi e dinamite”, scrive Giordano Bruno Guerri nella biografia dedicata a Marinetti, era la missione del padre del Futurismo e di tutte le sue declinazioni. Lo schiaffo, la dinamite: la rinascita artistica che comincia da una particella elementare, il suono, una rifondazione che parte dal segno, dalla radice, per sconvolgere le fondamenta di un’intera cultura.

«Col preannunzio sciroccale del Hamsin e dei suoi 50 giorni taglienti di sanguigne scottature desertiche nacqui il 22 dicembre 1876 in una casa sul mare ad Alessandria d’Egitto». Secondogenito di una giovane coppia milanese, F.T. nasce in terra africana per volere del padre Enrico, avvocato, convinto al trasferimento dalle buone prospettive di lavoro offerte dall’apertura del Canale di Suez. Insieme al fratello Leone viene educato al Collegio Internazionale San Francesco Saverio, un istituto gesuitico dove incontrerà un altro illustre innovatore della poesia italiana del Novecento, Giuseppe Ungaretti. Grazie alle ingenti somme guadagnate dagli affari del padre, perfeziona gli studi con un baccalaureato a Parigi nel 1894. Dopo il soggiorno parigino, eccolo in territorio italiano, a Pavia, dove raggiunge il fratello per studiare legge, facoltà che abbandonerà presto a causa della morte di Leone. Conclude gli studi universitari a Genova e vince nel frattempo il concorso parigino Samedis populaires con il poemetto Les vieux marins. Il componimento è il taglio del nastro agli ambienti intellettuali francesi: in breve tempo viene pubblicata la sua prima raccolta di poesie, La Conquete des Étoiles, la carriera giuridica definitivamente accantonata. Continua a comporre versi in stile liberty e simbolista, guardando a Mallarmé e D’Annunzio – stimato rivale quest’ultimo, amato e odiato, lui stesso si definì “figlio di una turbina e di D’Annunzio, da cui sarà definito “cretino fosforescente”. Nel 1905 fonda la rivista Poesia, la nuova palestra del verso parolibero firmato F.T. Nel 1908 eccolo tirato fuori da un fossato a Milano, nella sua automobile, uscito fuori strada per evitare due ciclisti; l’episodio si farà aneddoto – come poi molti altri – e diventerà per Marinetti la chiave di lettura della rivoluzione culturale programmata per il prossimo anno: l’uomo estratto dall’automobile è l’uomo nuovo futurista che dopo aver vinto l’inferno della tradizione ed aver accantonato lo stile liberty e decadentista rappresentato dai due «noiosi» ciclisti, può volgersi all’istituzione di un’arte nuova, rivoluzionaria.

Prampolini_PortraitOfMarinetti1925.jpg

Il febbraio 1909 è arrivato. Tutto è pronto per il lancio della bomba. F.T. ha sedotto Rose Fatine, 20 anni, figlia di Mohamed el Rachi Pascià, un vecchio egiziano, ricco azionista de LeFigaro. Grazie alla buona intesa dei giovani amanti, l’uomo asseconda la bizzarra richiesta dell’italiano, ignaro del privilegio di partecipare ad un evento storico mondiale: pubblicare sul giornale il suo Manifesto. Il 20 febbraio 1909 sul quotidiano nazionale francese viene lanciata la bomba: esce il Manifesto del Futurismo, undici punti, con appendice. Il Futurismo è fondato. Sintetizzerà Marinetti: «E’ un movimento anticulturale, antifilosofico, di idee, di intuiti, di istinti, di schiaffi, pugni purificatori e velocizzatori. I futuristi combattono la prudenza diplomatica, il tradizionalismo, il neutralismo, i musei, il culto del libro.» La parola d’ordine è “Velocità”. Come dinamismo, come simultaneità, come meccanicismo e libertà. Marinetti stravolge ogni dogma della poesia e delle arti e ne ritaglia un vestito nuovo, “moderno”, diremmo oggi, come il secolo XX. Protagonista di quest’ultimo, annuncia F.T., sarà la Macchina, metafora dell’impeto prometeico dell’uomo nuovo. Per evitare una volta per tutte l’associazioni del poeta Marinetti e del futurismo all’idea infantile e brutale dell’adorazione della macchina e della modernolatria, ecco un passo del discorso che F.T. stesso tenne nel 1924 alla Sorbona:« Io intendo per macchina tutto ciò ch’essa significa come ritmo e come avvenire; la macchina dà lezioni di ordine, disciplina, di forza, di precisione, d’ottimismo e di continuità. […] Per macchina, io intendo uscire da tutto ciò che è languore, chiaroscuro, fumoso, indeciso, mal riuscito, trascuratezza, triste, malinconico per rientrare nell’ordine, nella precisione, la volontà, lo stretto necessario, l’essenziale, la sintesi». Il Manifesto è discusso in tutta Europa, i giornali lo chiamano “Caffeina d’Europa”. Intanto Marinetti continua a scrivere poesie, romanzi e testi teatrali, tra cui si ricordano “ Gl’Indomabili”, il censuratissimo “Mafarka il futurista” e la sceneggiatura “ Re Baldoria”. La fama di Marinetti si diffonde per tutto il Vecchio Continente, legata soprattutto alle esuberanze e ai modi “futuristi” di F.T. & Co. In particolar modo diventano celebri le serate-futuriste: spettacoli teatrali in cui vengono fuse performance di vario genere, dalla declamazione alla piéce teatrale, durante cui il futurismo fa da protagonista e le bagarre e gli scontri con il pubblico sono la norma, e ne alimentano la curiosità. Il 1911 inaugura la stagione dei viaggi del poeta e della maggiore sperimentazioni linguista e letteraria. Scoppiata la guerra con la Libia, parte al fronte come reporter per un quotidiano d’oltralpe. Poi è a Mosca e San Pietroburgo, invitato dai futuristi russi a fare propaganda. Nel frattempo in Lacerba, la rivista fiorentina diretta da Papini e Soffici, il futurismo trova il miglior canale di diffusione in Italia parallelamente alla pubblicazione di Zang Tumb Tumb, un reportage bellico scritto in parole in libertà. La prima guerra mondiale fa esplodere il cuore di Marinetti, che, in seguito all’attentato di Sarajevo, si arruola volontario: è a Caporetto ma anche a Vittorio Veneto. Tornato dal conflitto si interessa alla politica cui lo spirito rivoluzionario affascina Mussolini che si avvarrà di molti futuristi nel giorno della proclamazione dei fasci di combattimento, nel 1919 al San Sepolcro. Giudicate passatiste e reazionarie le idee di Mussolini, se ne allontanerà, pur sempre rimanendo rispettato e considerato dal Duce. Si lega nel frattempo a Benedetta Cappa, pittrice e poetessa che accompagnerà Marinetti fino alla fine dei suoi giorni, sua «eguale, non discepola». Nel ’35 parte volontario in Africa Orientale, nel ’42 si arruola per la campagna di Russia. Marinetti viene rimpatriato con l’arrivo dell’autunno, spossato e in precario stato fisico. La morte lo coglie il 2 dicembre 1944, a Bellagio sul Lago di Como, all’alba dopo una notte di lavoro poetico consacrato al Quarto d’ora di poesia della X mas, complice il cuore.

Tentare di definire Filippo Tommaso Marinetti a più di 70 anni dalla morte è un esperimento difficile, che richiede capacità di sintesi ben collaudate; sicuramente possiamo definirlo un “rivoluzionario”, nonostante le ideologie e i numerosi detrattori che F.T. ha avuto. Sicuramente possiamo definirlo un “cortocircuito” della storia culturale europea, ma fu soprattutto un profetico anticipatore, ai limiti dell’incredibile. Dalla propaganda allo scandalo all’editoria, Marinetti è stato il protoideatore dei fenomeni di comunicazione di massa che oggi caratterizzano le nostre vite; nei suoi scritti compaiono descrizioni fantascientifiche di nuove tecnologie e abitudini, pienamente rintracciabili oggi in computer e social networks. Nonostante le ortodosse e insipide categorizzazioni a cui è stato sottoposto, Marinetti resta nella sua natura contraddittoria un personaggio tanto affascinante quanto enigmatico. Intellettuale rivoluzionario, dissidente, fervente agitatore aderì al fascismo cui si allontanò disprezzando leggi marziali e reazionarismo; libertino, don Giovanni, promotore del libero amore e del tradimento e fautore dell’emancipazione totale e disinibita delle donne, fu padre modello di tre figlie e marito presente; anticlericale al fulmicotone, accesissimo nemico della Chiesa, si sposò cristianamente, fece battezzare e cresimare le figlie, e non si privò né dell’estrema unzione né dei funerali religiosi.

Se è vero che ognuno è figlio del suo secolo, sarà vero in questo caso anche il contrario. Il secolo delle contraddizioni e dello stravolgimento totale che il Novecento rappresenta ha un padre illustre. Permettendoci di citare Bontempelli diremmo: le parole gridate da Marinetti sono quelle che partoriscono un nuovo secolo.

00:05 Publié dans art, Philosophie | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : art, avant-gardes, futurisme, philosophie, marinetti, italie | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

lundi, 31 mars 2014

Life is Always Right

Life is Always Right:
Futurism & Man in Revolt

By Mark Dyal

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com

“We are not only more revolutionary than you, but we are beyond your revolution.” – F. T. Marinetti[1]

“You must know that blood has no value or splendor unless it has been freed from the prison of the arteries by iron or fire.” – F. T. Marinetti[2]

In the early days of July 1923, a heroic and blasphemous storm blew across the Carso plain and down into the Po river valley. Its daring speed and electrified energy created an atmosphere that transfixed those who scrambled for the safety of porticoes, sensing that this storm would put to a test all that had survived such storms in the past. Indeed, by the time it reached the flag-ringed buildings of Milan’s Piazza San Sepolcro the conflagration seemed to laugh at the memory of the structures that fell in its wake. And in that great and hallowed piazza, Giuseppe Prezzolini cowered away from the window, intent to finish the work that taxed his overwrought senses.

Prezzolini, the fine journalist and literary critic, was deep in rumination about perspective. How, he wondered, could those who sought to revolutionize the world champion something as amorphous and changing as perspective? How could revolt, of all things, proceed without the order and precision of truth and objectivity? How could the pathetic moans of an amateurish whore be confused with an ecstatic symphony of pleasure; or worse, how could the exalted battle cries of the world’s new masters be merely the cacophonous baying of a frightened herd of sheep? With this problem in mind, he tapped out his work, “Fascism and Futurism,” and thereby gave his readers a new perspective on the storm blowing through his proud and sanctified abode.

From Prezzolini’s perspective, the storm was violent and uncontrollable. It raged without memory with the instruments of war: grenades, mortars, and bombs seemed to explode in response to the piercing thrusts of rifle-bound bayonets, lashing wildly at the orderly and sensible piazza below. With every blow he shrank deeper into the comfort of his writing chair. Soon, however, a dreadful thought occurred to him, and he rushed to the window. Relieved and gratified, he smiled a knowing smile when he saw that the tattered symbols of reason, truth, and morality were still on guard against the vile anarchic forces besieging them.

From Prezzolini’s perspective, reason, truth, and morality were synonymous with the successful Revolution that had climaxed nine months earlier, bringing humanity one step closer to the perfection of liberty – a political and mystical right of men properly bound by duty and responsibility to the State.[3] Of course, much had happened in the meantime, and the soon-to-dissipate storm outside his window would be just as soon forgotten. As he remembered, Fascism and Futurism once had much in common. Especially in the days following the Great War, when Marinetti’s men led the revolutionary syndicalists, arditi, and critical artists into the fascist movement – back then they even called themselves “ardito-futuristi,” each with his own love of danger, violence, and reawakened instincts of the man of war.[4]

In they came, he remembered, crowding into the Industrial and Commercial Hall just outside his door. They were drunk on Sorel, proclaiming conflict a “permanent necessity” in the fight against a passive and flaccid existence. The failure of social revolution, one of them said, especially in the wake of industrialization and the creation of the urbanized mass man, was due to cowardice; the syndicalists just failed to act – and were ultimately betrayed by the Movement and Party crazed socialists.

This, according to Marinetti – the leader of this band of misfits, is one reason the Futurists claimed to be “mystics of action,” seeing the nation-State as a bastion of conservatism, repression, bureaucracy, and clericalism: even with neo-classical rulers, one might say, the State is and will always be the enemy of free men – men on the outside, in the beyond, in the nether regions of what is permissible and “good for business.”

As such, they would move against the State in the squadristi bands that almost became the ruin of The Revolution. Disdainful of the police, they were illegal, spontaneous, often haphazard, and arbitrary – hardly the stuff that goes into the establishment and defense of law and order!

 

art,avant-gardes,futurisme,italie,marinetti

 

So, this perpetually violent man in revolt, freed from moral and historical constraints and Statist duties and responsibilities, was to become the new “Futurist man:” a man, as Marinetti said, that is not human (for without the essential elements of the human – rationality, morality, and memory – all perfectly suited to justify slavish adherence to being-bourgeois – then one is no longer human, but something else – something monstrous, something rapacious, something joyous). Marinetti said that the bourgeois State corrodes vital energy, that it feeds upon humanized herd-animals with deadened wills yoked to universalized assumptions of natural goodness and happiness. But Prezzolini would ask him today as he did then, what good could this Futurist man bring to The Revolt? He is be too reckless, too free, and too dangerous to be of any use to men trying to build a State.

Squadrismo! Yes, he remembered, that’s what it was about: embodied radicalism, joyful violence, and the destruction of the forces of order that so perfectly connected mind, body, and State. Ruefully, he shook his head, eager to forget the ravages of such unchecked, unscripted, and useless virility. The Futurists’ virility – the cult of speed, the contempt for the masses, and the antipathy toward bureaucracy – had certainly infected the early days of the Fascist Revolution. But fighting to become-other, to move beyond duties and responsibilities while embracing the flux and chaosmos of the man in revolt, this is a far cry from fighting for the honor and glory of the State. In the former the heroic man will die alone, but in the other – in the fight that we men of the State promise and demand – the heroic man never dies. Instead he is made grander and more meaningful than he ever could have been on his own.

However, standing here in the afterglow of the creation of the Fascist State – the very symbol of victory! – Prezzolini began to laugh aloud at the memory of what would one day be called the creation of the “two fascisms.”[5]

But then, in the summer of 1921, it was the moment of truth for Prezzolini’s Revolt. Would it follow the disdainful revolutionary violence of the Futurists and arditi into an unknowable future? Or would it turn toward the bourgeois shopkeepers and landowners who sought a stable and prosperous State built on the foundations of a glorious national past? Would it be swept up in the unbridled action of the men in revolt, or would it become The Revolution? Would it maintain its core as a pack of elite and daring fighting men – those who dared, in fact, to cast off all bourgeois duties and responsibilities, to “cut all roots and understand nothing but the delight of danger and quotidian heroism?”[6] Or would it embrace its historical responsibility and create something lasting, something immortal, like a Party and State?

Indeed it would, and did – disposing of both the Futurists and ardito-squadristi alike in several purging acts of political rationality – and set itself up as the apotheosis of “hierarchy, tradition, and authority.”[7] But as the storm blew, and the rotary engines intoxicated with their own speed and sound blasted at the security of the paving stones below his window, Prezzolini felt uneasy, as if something violent, cruel, and beyond the strictures of justice was seeping through the cracks in his sanctified workspace.

At once he knew its source: Marinetti. Blasphemer! Madman! The fool who wanted to use violence to destabilize the subjective – and subjectifying – forces of the bourgeois form of life! And to what end? Well, Prezzolini knew quite well to what end. Look at this, he screamed to his soul as he grabbed the tear sheet:

And so, let the glad arsonists with charred fingers come! Here they are! Here they are! Go ahead! Set fire to the shelves of the libraries! Turn aside the course of the canals to flood the museums! . . . Seize your pickaxes, axes, and hammers, and tear down, pitilessly tear down the venerable cities! . . . You raise objections? Stop! Stop! We know them. We’ve understood! The refined and mendacious mind tells us that we are the summation and continuation of our ancestors – maybe! Suppose it so! But what difference does it make? We don’t want to listen![8]

And so Prezzolini wrote a serendipitous march, a pointed and reserved tome in defense of the tradition and past splendor that found itself under attack from these irresponsible derelicts. Look again, his tormented cogito demanded; they actually call themselves “barbarians – the recalcitrant defaulters of the Ideal!”[9]

“Fascism, if I am not mistaken,” he began to write, “wants hierarchy, tradition, and observance of authority. Fascism is content when it invokes Rome and the classical past. Fascism wants to stay within the lines of thought that have been traced by the great Italians and the great Italian institutions, including Catholicism. Futurism, instead, is quite the opposite of this. Futurism is a war against tradition; it is a struggle against museums, classicism, and scholastic honors. How can this be reconciled with Fascism, which instead is trying to restore all our moral values?”[10]

Thank God, he murmured. Thank God! Thank God we had the decency, the sensibility, and the duty to distance our glorious Party and State from these lunatics. Perspective had made Prezzolini wise, for he knew that revolution had no future. The future, as history had already shown, is with the State. So be it if Fascism had to become a counter-reformation that betrayed the revolutionary energies and critical vitalism of its founding members:[11] the State and nothing but the State, as Mussolini said – a “spiritual and moral fact!”[12] We will properly manage the social domain, he thought defiantly. We will bring continuity and regularity to all that is in flux. We will make sedentary all that flows freely.[13] We will make homogenous all that is different. We will bring law and order, rationality and peace![14] If the people are not up to the task, if they chafe at the imposition of their rulers’ and bosses’ sovereignty, if they feel no allegiance to their duties and responsibilities to the State, then . . . let them go and play with Marinetti!

Does he not understand? We are the State, we are law, and we are order, sanctified by God and international treaty! What do his Futurists wish to be? Outside! Beyond the State! Don’t they know? There is no outside – we are “the Logos, the philosopher-king, the transcendence of the Idea, the interiority of the concept, the republic of minds, the tribunal of reason, the bureaucrats of thought, man as legislator and subject, . . . the interiorized image of a world order!”[15] When you leave that, dear Marinetti – dear “recalcitrant traitor of the Idea,” where do you go?

BAL

To war, was Marinetti’s answer. Only war, he said, can create the conditions and assemblages conducive to revolution. And when you are a man alone – a man in a pack, perhaps – and find yourself without a war, well, what then? You create the necessary conditions and assemblages of your own life. You “murder the moonlight,” you “destroy time and space,” living instead in “eternal and omnipresent velocity” – the velocity of courage and aggression, of “words and thought-in-freedom,” destroying any and all stagnant prudence, “utilitarianism, opportunistic cowardice” and reactive ressentiment that you used to think justified your élan vital.[16] You create mayhem – you live without tradition, without dogma, incessantly inventing new means with which to astonish your bourgeois instincts, nurtured instead by the “new sensibility” that will decompose all that you know about beauty, greatness, religiousness, solemnity, and cultivation.[17]

Live without tradition! Prezzolini was aghast. Live without memory! Again he wondered if Marinetti and these Futurists understood the implications of their ideas. Memory, he would remind them, serves a great purpose, for it alone creates a person capable of repaying debt;[18] and debt is the basis of civilization – for indeed, how can civilization proceed without all comic, bodily, and social tributes necessarily paid?[19] And just what do the Futurists think they are forgetting? What is the purpose, if you will, of forgetting? What responsibilities, duties, and debts, must they forget? They will say that forgetting laziness, slowness, and feminine sensibility so as to affirm life as acceleration. Like Bergson they want to make time a subjective duration and bundle of intensities – a velocity carrying other velocities –

Our life should always be a velocity carrying other velocities: mental velocity + velocity of the body + velocity of the vehicle that carries the body + velocity of the element that carries the vehicle. We should dislocate thought from its mental road and put it in a material one. Velocity destroys the laws of gravity, renders the values of time and space subjective . . . Kilometers and hours are not universally the same; for the speeding man they vary in length and duration . . . Increasing lightness. You’ve triumphed over the law which forces man to crawl . . . Gasoline is divine . . . Speed in a straight line is massive, crude, unthinking. Speed with and after a curve is velocity that has become agile, acquired consciousness.[20]

Thought and existence in the production of time as flows and affects (+ and + and + and + . . . until life bursts forth from any attempts to negate and strangle its potential), extricating time itself from its rightful and natural milieu as a universal constraint of matter.[21]

But everyone knows not only that this is madness, but also that is just the beginning. Look how Marinetti dances with the sirens of our doom – with the very forces that will bring the logic of historical progress to a halt – when he advises us to “exalt the aggressive will of man, without remembrance, and to emphasize yet again the ridiculous vacuity of nostalgic memory, of shortsighted history, and of the past that is dead.”[22] And his friend Boccioni says that Futurism is here to destroy the past so as to create a “void populated by primitives and barbarians” – all with an anti-artistic sensibility connected and driven only by rhythmic movement, planes, and lines – without the sublimity of ideal forms and archetypes.[23]

But what can Boccioni possibly mean with this ridiculous suggestion? Is he trying to offer a basis of re-differentiation for the un-differentiated man? But haven’t we moved beyond such quaint notions of a return to primitivism? Just then Prezzolini was alarmed by a loud crash amongst the din of the storm. It sounded like the screech of rubber tires spinning out of control, hurling machine and life aloft like a nomadic arrow in flight – au milieu, fixed by neither the archer who shot it nor the target at which it was aimed – dancing its way to the horizon in a fiery rainbow of exploding and shrapnelizing glass and metal, the particles of each in conjunction with the other, as well as any body upon which they impacted.

To his horror the detonation was followed by a chorus of voices explaining the storm to a pair of young punks, “Life is always right,” it said, “The artificial paradises with which you hope to assassinate it are worthless.”[24] Woe to any man who goes outside in times like this, he thought; better to die now than continue this risk. And with that he cursed his ears for having been party to the impudence of these foolish men, ever more fearful that they could link his dear and tender soul to what they had overheard. He shrank evermore, and decided that a drink might calm his nerves.

And anyway, he realized as he savored his cup of hot milk, isn’t Boccioni a Futurist? Of all people he should know better. And what does a “barbarian void” offer that the State does not? Carlo Carrà gave us a sense of what the barbarian void seeks in distancing itself from the State: creation – to understand life in terms far removed from the purely representational form of rational bureaucratic thought that he called “illustrationism.” Illustrationism involves a tracing of life’s potentials, always governed by traditions, conventions, and the all-seeing Ideal.[25]

What Futurism proposes instead is an unbridled creationism, in which painters paint sound, movement, and uncover all of the affective qualities awaiting a revolt in the quantities of human instincts:

 . . . Words unmoored, ideas unbound, free of the enslavement of instinctual energy and techniques of living to forms and ideas that castrate as much as they create. Outside of work we find invention. Outside of schools we find free thought. Outside of del giorno concepts, theories, estimations, and potentials — beyond the straight and narrow path that they delineate: an echo of the refrain of the walking dead! . . . the funereal normality of thinking and being in the service of forces that demand so little of us: the ease of believing and submitting to banality and commonality – we seek and demand of ourselves a life taken out of bounds.

Painting smells, he had to laugh at that one. That would be like legislating or commanding revolution. He was shocked at himself, as for one horrifying moment he found himself talking just like them! But his uncertainty brought his mind back to its work. How do these barbarian Futurists plan to create anything, especially in light of Marinetti’s war against grammar and linguistic convention, he thought. “Words-in-freedom,” Marinetti says, will undermine and disrupt the codifying principles of language – principles that shape consciousness and the functional interplay with reality. He asks us to abandon the use of “I,” which anthropomorphizes a particularly bourgeois understanding of the subject, positing instead a “return to the molecular” and an understanding of the splinters and shards of our subjectivity that hold the keys to our revolutionary potentials.[26]

1-carlo-carra-les-funerailles-de-l-anarchiste-galli.jpg

He asks us to “destroy syntax and scatter one’s nouns at random, just as they are born,” to “abolish adjectives and adverbs,” which force, and presume, a pause in the flow of experience, and create a “tedious unity of tone,” which only exists in language. What’s more, he suggests that verbs only be used in their infinitive form, so as to create an elasticity of relations (in contrast to an enslavement of the moving and doing verb to the parasitic “I”) and to “give a sense of the continuity of life and the elasticity of intuition.”[27]

In this light, Prezzolini quickly realized that what the Futurists were doing was dangerous and a threat to the victory of the Fascist State. The human being, it is true, can be herded into vast conglomerates and easily convinced of its universal values and properties. But just because man can so readily live in a herd, is this its optimal potential? This is the question that Prezzolini now discovered at the heart of the Futurist manifestos. With their attacks on language as an automation machine commanding the interconnection and coordination of beings for territorializing despotic tasks that serve only the most slavish of the herd, Futurists were attempting to short circuit the ties of the social contract. They understood that the conscious organism must be compatible with the social system in which it exists.[28]

Shifts in the modalities of social life – like barbarian voids or packs – must entail a concomitant shift in consciousness and functional interplay with existence. Attention, cognitive processing, decision-making, and expression all undergo constant mutation in order to maintain their association with sense-making apparatuses of the particular collective modality.[29] Understood even in this simplified way, one sees very clearly the implications of the State presenting itself as “the rational and reasonable organization of a community,” with the “interior or moral spirit of the people” as the organizing principle of a “harmonious universal absolute spirit.” The State justly becomes the nexus of correct-thinking, pure reason, and personal mastery.[30] If those links are broken, and sense no longer can be made (or made to be made), then the duties, debts, and responsibilities yoking man to a sociality that makes a mockery of his instincts make no sense. Mayhem!

Our Father in heaven, Prezzolini stuttered as he began pacing the room. Suddenly the storm seemed to rage much louder. Our Father, he said again, if only those were marching boots I hear and not the dissonant hum of warplanes and failing power generators. His work now seemed to have the importance of a Papal Bull. This throwing the past into the sea so as to increase one’s agility in evading roadblocks – surely these roadblocks, these very barriers to chaos are the keys to our victory! – can only lead to ruin. But to destroy the very bases of order and right thinking in the present is even more egregious. Men of this type must be led – for their own good and for the good of The Revolt. Yes! They must be led, or be eliminated.

Certainly this is clear when we read in Marinetti’s “War, the Only Hygiene of the World,” of his disappointment with the disarmament of revolutionary energy when it is handed over to the leaders of The Revolt, who, as he says, are “fatally interested in preserving the status quo, calming down violence, and opposing every desire for adventure, risk, and heroism.”[31] But again, we must reproach Marinetti for failing to understand the importance of prudence, opportunism, and building a mass-based organization of great political and social potential.

And when we say that this organization with universal appeal and dedication to wisdom and order is to be immortal, what does Marinetti say? He says that the Futurist “lovers and defenders of heroic instincts” feel “only repugnance at the idea of striving for immortality, for at bottom it is no more than the dream of minds vitiated by usury.”[32]

To him and the others, he would return their repugnance with interest! He smiled at the irony, for now he was the one who had the ear of the Duce. Perhaps, he thought furiously, the entirely contingent circumstances that aligned these maniacs with The Revolt once justified their cancerous dereliction, but they have no role to play in the State. And so he returned to his oft-interrupted work:

Fascism cannot accept the destructive program of Futurism, and instead it will have to restore the very values that clash with Futurism. Political discipline and hierarchy are also literary discipline and hierarchy. Words are rendered empty when political hierarchies are made pointless. Fascism, if it truly wants to win its battle, has to consider Futurism as having already been absorbed for what it could provide as a stimulus, and has to repress it for whatever it may still possess that is revolutionary, anticlassical, and unruly.[33]

And so, while Marinetti and his merry band of Futurist revolutionaries waged a war without frontlines against the Parties, values, representations, and power of the bourgeois world – bringing a storm of uncontrollable aggression and dereliction to all of the hallowed halls that glorified the empire of the Last Man, Giuseppe Prezzolini finished his work, its last sentences littered with defenses of hierarchy and order, and “words in their proper place, obeying the rules, and respecting nature.”[34] He then mailed it to the appropriate governmental commission appointed to reform education for their approval and enlightened council.

Notes

[1] Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, “Beyond Communism,” in Futurism: An Anthology, edited by Lawrence Rainey, Christine Poggi, and Laura Wittman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 260.

[2] Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, “Let’s Murder the Moonlight,” in Futurism: An Anthology, edited by Lawrence Rainey, Christine Poggi, and Laura Wittman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 55.

[3] Emilio Gentile, The Struggle for Modernity: Nationalism, Futurism, and Fascism (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003), 21.

[4] Adrian Lyttleton, The Seizure of Power: Fascism in Italy, 1919–1929, Revised Edition (London: Routledge, 2004), 46–49.

[5] Lyttleton 55.

[6] Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, “We Abjure our Symbolist Masters,” in Futurism: An Anthology, edited by Lawrence Rainey, Christine Poggi, and Laura Wittman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 93–95.

[7] Giuseppe Prezzolini, “Fascism and Futurism,” in Futurism: An Anthology, edited by Lawrence Rainey, Christine Poggi, and Laura Wittman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 276.

[8] Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, “The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism,” in Futurism: An Anthology, edited by Lawrence Rainey, Christine Poggi, and Laura Wittman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 53.

[9] Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, “Quarter Hour of Poetry of the Decima MAS,” in Futurism: An Anthology, edited by Lawrence Rainey, Christine Poggi, and Laura Wittman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 505

[10] Prezzolini, 276.

[11] Lyttleton, 370.

[12] Benito Mussolini, The Political and Social Doctrine of Fascism, translated by Jane Soames (New York: The Gordon Press, 1976), 21.

[13] James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998), 2.

[14] Robert H. Wiebe, The Search for Order, 1870–1920 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1967), 154.

[15] Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, On the Line, translated by John Johnston (New York: Semiotext(e), 1983), 56.

[16] Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, “The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism,” in Futurism: An Anthology, edited by Lawrence Rainey, Christine Poggi, and Laura Wittman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 51.

[17] Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, “The Variety Theater,” in Futurism: An Anthology, edited by Lawrence Rainey, Christine Poggi, and Laura Wittman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 159–61.

[18] Maurizio Lazzarato, The Making of the Indebted Man: An Essay on the Neoliberal Condition, translated by Joshua David Jordan (Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2012), 40.

[19] Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality, translated by Carol Dithe, edited by Keith Ansell-Pearson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 41.

[20] Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, “The New Religion-Morality of Speed,” in Futurism: An Anthology, edited by Lawrence Rainey, Christine Poggi, and Laura Wittman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 224–29.

[21] Franco “Bifo” Berardi, The Uprising: On Poetry and Finance (Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2012), 90–92.

[22] Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Critical Writings (New Edition), translated by Doug Thompson, edited by Günter Berghaus (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2006), 252.

[23] Umberto Boccioni, “Futurist Sculpture,” in Futurism: An Anthology, edited by Lawrence Rainey, Christine Poggi, and Laura Wittman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 118.

[24] Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, “Tactilism,” in Futurism: An Anthology, edited by Lawrence Rainey, Christine Poggi, and Laura Wittman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 266.

[25] Carlo Carrà, “Warpainting (Extracts),” in Futurist Manifestos, edited by Umbro Apollonio (Boston: MFA Publications, 2001), 202–5.

[26] Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, “Words-in-Freedom,” in Futurism: An Anthology, edited by Lawrence Rainey, Christine Poggi, and Laura Wittman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 147.

[27] Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, “Technical Manifesto of Futurist Literature,” in Futurism: An Anthology, edited by Lawrence Rainey, Christine Poggi, and Laura Wittman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 119–20.

[28] Berardi 17.

[29] Berardi 123.

[30] Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Nomadology: The War Machine, translated by Brian Massumi (New York: Semiotext(e), 1986), 42–43.

[31] Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, “War, the Only Hygiene of the World,” in Futurism: An Anthology, edited by Lawrence Rainey, Christine Poggi, and Laura Wittman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 85.

[32] Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, “Multiplied Man and the Reign of the Machine,” in Futurism: An Anthology, edited by Lawrence Rainey, Christine Poggi, and Laura Wittman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 89.

[33] Prezzolini 277–78.

[34] Prezzolini 278.

 


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mardi, 18 juin 2013

La spiritualità di Marinetti

Marinetti_Futurismo_Manifesto.jpg

La spiritualità di Marinetti: fra anticlericalismo, spiritismo e cristianesimo

Giovanni Balducci

Ex: http://www.centrostudilaruna.it/

È noto come il Programma sansepolcrista del 1919 fosse fortemente anticlericale e presentasse addirittura un piano di “svaticanizzazione” dell’Italia mediante il sequestro di beni e l’abolizione dei privilegi ecclesiastici. All’adunata di piazza San Sepolcro del 23 marzo 1919 a Milano partecipa anche Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in qualità di leader del Partito Politico Futurista.

L’anticlericalismo di Marinetti ben si sposa con quello del movimento fascista, anzi è ancor più radicale di quest’ultimo, come si evince dal manifesto “Contro il Papato e la mentalità cattolica, serbatoi di ogni passatismo”, sempre del 1919, in cui il poeta propone di: «Sostituire all’attuale anticlericalismo retorico e quietista un anticlericalismo d’azione, violento e reciso, per sgomberare l’Italia e Roma dal suo medioevo teocratico che potrà scegliere una terra adatta ove morire lentamente».

aeroplano-del-papaTali dichiarazioni non fanno altro che confermare quanto già espresso da Marinetti ne L’aeroplano del Papa, pubblicato nel 1912, in cui il padre del Futurismo predicava la necessità di «svaticanare l’Italia» e – in tempi non sospetti – di muovere guerra alla bigotta Austria.

Ma il violento anticlericalismo marinettiano è ben visibile in nuce già nel celebre Manifesto futurista del 1909, così pregno di quel dinamismo anarchico ed antitradizionale che sarà la cifra essenziale del movimento futurista, dal quale prenderà il via una nuova e rivoluzionaria stagione culturale, e che rappresentò, ça va sans dire, l’antecedente storico non solo di tutta l’arte a venire, ma anche di un nuovo modo di intendere la vita veloce e disinvolto.

Coevo al Manifesto del Futurismo è il “Manifesto politico per le elezioni del 1909” in cui Marinetti faceva professione di nazionalismo, anti-pacifismo, anti-socialismo ed anti-clericalismo. Dello stesso anno è anche l’incendiario romanzo Mafarka, il futurista, che gli valse un processo per oltraggio al pudore. Pervaso da suggestioni nietzscheane ed anti-romantiche, il romanzo culmina con la generazione da parte del protagonista di un essere dalle fattezze di uccello meccanico, stante a simboleggiare la volontà di potenza ed il genio creativo dell’artista, temi cari al filosofo della “morte di Dio”.

mafarkaA proposito delle concezioni antimetafisiche di Marinetti, Julius Evola – che di metafisica, invece, campava – ricorderà nella sua autobiografia di quando il poeta, dopo aver letto un suo scritto, gli disse chiaro e tondo che le proprie idee erano lontane dalle sue più di quelle di un esquimese. Ma si sa, quando non si crede più nella trascendenza, si finisce spesso col credere a tutto: così fu anche per Marinetti, che come molti altri positivisti della sua epoca – pensiamo a Cesare Lombroso, e alla sua passione per i tavolini traballanti – prese a frequentare medium e spiritisti, stringendo amicizia, tra l’altro, con la sensitiva e poetessa triestina Nella Doria Cambon, confidente, per altro, anche di Svevo e di D’Annunzio.

Ma il vitalismo di cui è pervasa l’intera opera marinettiana non è esente da influenze misticheggianti: quella di Marinetti è però una “mistica della materia”, infatti, il movimento, l’azione, il dinamismo, per Marinetti, non sono che espressioni di quell’energia bergsonianamente intesa come frutto di uno slancio vitale che spinge la materia ad evolversi. Egli stesso affermava che ogni sera era solito inginocchiarsi e pregare di fronte alla lampadina del proprio comodino, perché in essa circolava la “divina velocità”.

venezianellaCon l’avanzar degli anni, nondimeno, farà ritorno alla fede cattolica. Negli anni ’30 promuove addirittura il movimento dell’“arte sacra futurista”, sostenendo che: «Solo gli artisti futuristi, che da vent’anni impongono nell’arte l’arduo problema della simultaneità, possono esprimere simultaneamente i dogmi simultanei del culto cattolico, come la Santa Trinità, l’Immacolata Concezione e il Calvario di Dio».

I suoi ultimi scritti, del 1944, sono “L’aeropoema di Gesù”, dove canta con enfasi palinodica «l’illusione di essere di metallo, mentre si è solo povera carne piangente», ed il “Quarto d’ora di poesia per la X Mas” – scritto poche ore prima di morire – in cui pare destreggiarsi tra il ritrovato amore per Dio e la passione per l’azione che l’accompagnò per tutta la vita: «Non vi grido arrivederci in Paradiso – dirà ai combattenti della X – ché lassù vi toccherebbe ubbidire all’infinito amore purissimo di Dio mentre voi ora smaniate dal desiderio di comandare un esercito di ragionamenti dunque autocarri avanti».

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vendredi, 04 février 2011

Evola: de Mafarka a Mitra

Mafarka.jpg

Evola: de Mafarka a Mitra 

Jean-Marc Vivenza representa a vanguarda musical futurista europeia. Conjugando teoria e prática, inscreve-se na história das vanguardas culturais europeias afirmando, alto e forte, uma revolução política, espiritual e artística, através do que não é música, no sentido que lhe dão os «modernos» e que só merece o seu nome. Bruitismo. Este artigo, publicado em Volonté Futuriste (1989), prova, caso fosse necessário, que da colisão de duas visões, aparentemente antitéticas, pode  nascer uma análise clara e sem falhas que poderá enriquecer cada um dos campos.

* * *

Para muitos espíritos, o futurismo estaria numa posição absolutamente antitética em relação à Tradição europeia. O percurso de Julius Evola dá-nos, sobre esse assunto, uma resposta de uma singular recorrência contra os a priori e os pronto-a-pensar.

 


Julius Evola nasce em Roma a 19 de Maio de 1898 - no seio de uma família da nobreza rural pela parte do seu pai, Vincenzo e, durante toda a vida, ficará ligado a esta cidade onde morre em 14 de Junho de 1974. Este pensador representa hoje uma das maiores figuras da filosofia tradicional. Partindo das fontes da mais longínqua antiguidade indo-europeia, constituiu, através da publicação dos seus livros, de um dos mais violentos requisitórios contra a ilusão moderna e os seus mitos contemporâneos: «a igualdade», «o regime da quantidade» e «o materialismo».

  


Romano em todas as fibras do seu ser, é sob a protecção do Império que ele coloca todas as perspectivas do seu combate «contra o mundo moderno». Eterno gibelino ao serviço do Imperium de forma quase sacerdotal, faz da sua vida uma luta contínua, luta contra as forças do niilismo actual (ou idade do ferro, segundo uma expressão sua). Teorizando, de uma forma determinista, o desaparecimento inevitável de todos os valores e concluindo pela necessidade de um retorno ao caos original através de uma paróptica «final dos tempos», tempera o seu pessimismo com nuances de uma eventual esperança de endireitamento provisório e momentâneo. No entanto, se este pensamento parece à primeira vista, na sua estrutura interna, estranho à teoria da «excitação dinâmica da História», tão cara aos futuristas, é bom conhecermos o papel que exerceu sobre Evola a vanguarda do princípio do século XX e o lugar (pouco conhecido) que ele aí detinha e a influência que isso teve na sua reflexão posterior.

Um artista de vanguarda

  


É, primeiro, como pintor e como poeta que Julius Evola se exprime no quadro da actividade artística das vanguardas. Pondo-se em contacto com a revista futurista Lacerba, descobre os fundamentos de uma crítica radical do sistema burguês, o anti-democratismo, ao mesmo tempo que nasce, segundo alguns autores, o seu interesse pelos místicos alemães e a tradição esotérica.

  


Lembremo-nos que numerosos artistas futuristas introduzem-se na pesquisa profunda e concreta do pensamento oculto. Bastará citar o caso muito conhecido de Russolo de que a obra «Para além da matéria» é uma exposição magistral de esoterismo operativo, para nos convencermos da permanência de uma curiosidade instintiva desta escola de arte sobre este assunto.
 
É necessário saber que Evola, mesmo durante o período do movimento futurista, nunca deixou de manifestar interesse pelo pensamento tradicional. Com efeito, bastará ler o seu texto Arte abstracta para melhor compreendermos o mecanismo intelectual do jovem Evola.

  


Vejamos o que ele escreve: «A consciência abstracta, suporte da estética mais acabada, liga-se, de facto, a um outro plano (quase a outra dimensão) do espírito, o qual não tem nada a ver com o que se desenrola a vida quotidiana prática e sentimental até àquele que encontra um eco nos clamores da humanidade trágica. E a via que aí conduz é difícil e dolorosa porque, para a percorrer, é necessário queimar tudo o que habitualmente os homens consideram como a sua vida mais profunda e mais autêntica. Se, por acaso, nos perguntarem a que devemos comparar isto, encontraremos, talvez, em alguns místicos qualquer coisa de aproximativo: na interioridade silenciosa e glacialmente ardente de um Ruysbroek ou de um Mestre Eckhart, por exemplo. Uma lógica que não tem mais nada a ver com aquela que todos os dias rege este mundo: nele, as luzes mais banais como as mais gloriosas enfraquecem, à imagem das débeis vegetações subterrâneas; a vontade comum reina, como que ébria; as palavras tornam-se incompreensíveis como se pertencessem a uma língua estrangeira. Diríamos que toda a vegetação se desagrega como que sugada por uma extrema rarefacção, e renova com o caos elementar, seco e ardente, ardente e monótono. Mas, para aquele que penetrou totalmente na natureza da arte abstracta, parece que esta incoerência, esta loucura, não é mais do que aparência, por detrás da qual palpita, numa luminosidade metálica, o sentido da absoluta liberdade do Eu».


Esta descoberta da expansão virtual dos sentidos e da matéria desenvolve um estudo preciso destes novos estados de consciência, regidos por esta luminosidade metálica, que ele recebe daquilo que podia, e pode ainda, aparecer como arte informal, caótica e sem ordem.

Uma nova objectividade

As pinturas de Evola que foram, na totalidade, objecto de compra por parte dos museus italianos não serão estranhas aos familiares da obra ulterior.


Elas apresentam todos os sinais da presença simbólica. «Ali encontramos», diz Romualdi *, «a interioridade ardente que Evola menciona no seu ensaio L'Arte Astratta. Os globos, de um vermelho ardente ou de um verde magnético, como acetato de cobre incandescente, de uma luz irreal sob os céus devastados; os cilindros rodam como as fábricas de fogo na noite; as formas luminosas ascendem ao céu enquanto se formam nuvens inquietantes. É uma visão poderosa do elementar apanhado, por meio de uma linguagem de formas geométricas, num espaço invisível procedido do espaço visível (comparável à Hiper-urânia platoniana ou ao goetiano "mundo das mães").»
Quando examinamos os quadros de Evola (da mesma forma que outros testemunhos do futurismo), compreendemos porque o décor do mundo moderno pode ser adaptado por algumas elites que, deixando para trás os tarecos burgueses herdados do século XIX, marcham em passo rápido para uma neue sachlichkeit, uma nova objectividade que pensam encontrar no bolchevismo, no fascismo ou no nazismo. É a eles que se destinam as formulações de O Trabalhador ** de Jünger: "Ao menos, em certos resumos parciais, o século XX oferece já as linhas mais puras e mais seguras... Começamos a ver o sentido das altas temperaturas, os frios geométricos das luzes, a incandescência do metal. A paisagem torna-se mais fria e mais ardente, com ela desaparecem os últimos rastos das "delicadezas" e da "cordialidade que fala à alma".

De Mafarka a Mithra
Se prosseguirmos a nossa análise filosófica comparada, descobrimos, no coração dos princípios evolianos, o idealismo absoluto de inspiração hegeliana incarnada na exigência fundamental de uma «realização espiritual absoluta pela acção», paralelo evidente com o axioma da trindade futurista: ARTE, VIDA, ACÇÃO.
Da mesma forma, como não reconhecer o idêntico combate e uma vontade parecida entre o instintivo manifesto futurista de 1909, que termina pela célebre frase: «Hirtos no cume do mundo, lançamos uma vez mais o nosso desafio às estrelas!...», espécie de profissão de fé gnóstica e da consciente e reflectiva reactivação do culto de Mithra no pensamento evoliano: «O dominador do Sol, o matador do touro, o padrão de uma raça real regenerada na "Força Forte das Forças"».

Entre Apolo e Dionísio, a majestade doriana do vencedor pindárico encontra numa espécie de futurismo solar a «religião da Vida», a «religião do Devir» cara a Mafarka, promessa de eterno retorno.

Este telurismo dinâmico é o ponto de contacto entre as duas experiências. Futurismo e tradição. O próprio Evola convida-nos a «abolir o limite e o apoio que representa a visibilidade das coisas para nos pormos em contacto com as existências vertiginosas». O processo pelo qual a vida orgânica está agarrada na sua raiz profunda, sem apoio, arrancada à sua natureza... arrebatada para além de si ao longo de uma vida vertiginosa onde se alumia a ordem das diferentes forças cósmicas».

Em Evola, o ultrapassar do futurismo não se operou pela sua negação. Pelo contrário, sublinha a sua importância como resposta num tempo histórico num dado período e, nota o estranho desempenho que este tem no seu espírito e no desenvolvimento do seu pensamento.

A título de purificação
Presentemente, longe do maniqueísmo de fachada, é possível entender a utilidade, da forma que o próprio Evola a entendia, da necessária acção regeneradora que podem ter certos fenómenos criativos.
O convite que ele formulava para um «salto no brutal a título de purificação» é a exacta busca que, da via tradicional à disciplina do manifesto técnico futurista, exige do aluno ou do discípulo este rigor, esta contingência afim de atingir a mestria da sua arte, isto é, de si mesmo pela revelação da energia pura, numa espécie de metalurgia espiritual onde o metal vil é rudemente malhado afim de se tornar num ferro flamejante.

Esta ascese comum não deve escapar ao observador. As vias parecem diferentes, os caminhos comunicam.

Do futurismo à tradição, é o mesmo pensamento de ordem e o ultrapassar hierárquico pelo valor que se afirma. Exprime a permanência, através das épocas e das formas, de uma doutrina que extrai profundamente as suas raízes específicas da cultura indo-europeia.

(Jean-Marc Vivenza)

Notas:
* Adriano Romualdi, Julius Évola, l?homme et l?oeuvre, Guy Trédaniel, 1985.
** Ernst Jünger, O Trabalhador - Domínio e Figura, introdução, tradução e notas de Alexandre Franco de Sá, prefácio de Nuno Rogeiro, Hugin Editores, 2000.

samedi, 30 octobre 2010

Filippo Marinetti

marinetti-Futurismo.jpgFilippo Marinetti

Kerry BOLTON
 
 
Filippo Marinetti is unlike most of the post-nineteenth Century cultural avant-garde who were rebelling against the spirit of several centuries of liberalism, rationalism, the rise of the democratic mass, industrialism, and the rule of the moneyed elite. His revolt against the leveling impact of the democratic era was not to hark back to certain perceived ‘golden ages’ such as the medieval eras upheld by Yeats and Evola, or to reject technology in favor of a return to rural life, as advocated by Henry Williamson and Knut Hamsun. To the contrary, Marinetti embraced the new facts of technology, the machine, speed, and dynamic energy, in a movement called Futurism.

The futurist response to the facts of the new age is therefore a quite unique reaction from the anti-liberal literati and artists and one that continues to influence certain aspects of industrial and post-industrial sub cultures. An example of a contemporary cultural movement paralleling Futurists is New Slovenian Art, which like futurism embodies music, graphic arts, architecture, and drama. It is a movement whose influence is felt beyond the borders of Slovenia. The best-known manifestation of this art form is the industrial music group Laibach.

Marinetti is also the inventor of free verse in poetry, and Futurist adherents have had a lasting impact on architecture, motion pictures and the theater. The Futurists were the pioneers of street theatre. They inspired both the Constructivist movement in the USSR and the English Vorticists Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis.

Marinetti was born in Alexandria Egypt in 1876. He graduated in law in Genoa in 1899. Although the political and philosophical aspects of the course held his interest, he traveled frequently between France and Italy and interested himself in the avant-garde arts of the later nineteenth Century promoting young poets in both countries. He was already a strong critic of the conservative and traditional approaches of Italian poets. He was at this time an enthusiast for the modern, revolutionary music of Wagner, seeing it as assailing “equilibrium and sobriety . . . meditation and silence . . . ”

By 1904, Futurist elements had manifested in his writing, particularly in his poem Destruction that he called “an erotic and anarchist poem,” a eulogy to the “avenging sea” as a symbol of revolution. After an apocalyptic destruction, the process of rebuilding begins on the ruins of the “Old World.” Here already is the praise of death as a dynamic and transformative.

With the death of Marinetti’s father in 1907, his wealth allowed him to travel widely and he became a well-known cultural figure throughout Europe. Nietzsche was at this time one of the most well-known intellectuals who desired liberation from the old order. Nietzsche was widely read among the literati of Italy, and D’Annunzio was the most prominent in promoting Nietzsche. Among the other philosophers of particular importance whom Marinetti studied was the French syndicalist theorist Georges Sorel, who inclined towards the anarchism of Proudhon. This rejected Marxism in favor of a society comprised of small productive, cooperative units or syndicates; and founded a new myth of heroic action and struggle. Rejecting much of the pacifism of the left. Sorel viewed war as a dynamic of human action. Sorel in turn was himself influenced by Nietzsche, and applying the Nietzschean Overman to socialism, states that the working class revolution requires heroic leaders. Sorel became influential not only among Left wing syndicalists but also among certain radical nationalists in both France and Italy.

Futurist Manifesto

Marinetti’s artistic ideas crystallized in the Futurist movement that originated from a meeting of artists and musicians in Milan in 1909 to draft a Futurist Manifesto. With Marinetti were Carlo Carra, Umberto Boccioni, Luigi Russolo and Gino Severini. The manifesto was first published in the Parisian paper Le Figaro, and exhorted youth to, “Sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and boldness.”

marinetti02The Futurists were contemptuous of all tradition, of all that is past:

We want to exult aggressive motion . . . we affirm that the magnificence of the world has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed.

The machine was poetically eulogized. The racing car became the icon of the new epoch, “which seems to run as a machine gun.” The Futurist aesthetic was to be joy in violence and war, as “the sole hygiene of the world.” Motion, dynamic energy, action, and heroism were the foundations of “the culture of the Futurist future. The fisticuffs, the sprint and the kick were expressions of culture. The Futurist Manifesto is as much a challenge to the political and social order as it is to the status quo in the arts.

It declared:

1. We intend to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and fearlessness.

2. Courage, audacity, and revolt will be essential elements of our poetry.

3. Up to now literature has exalted a pensive immobility, ecstasy, and sleep. We intend to exalt aggressive action, a feverish insomnia, the racer’s stride, the mortal leap, the punch and the slap.

4. We affirm that the world’s magnificence has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed A racing car whose hood is adorned with great pipes, like serpents of an explosive breath–a roaring car that seems to ride on grape shot is more beautiful than the victory of Samothrace.

5. We want to hymn the man at the wheel, who hurls the lance of his spirit across the Earth, along the circle of its orbit.

6. The poet must spend himself with ardor, splendor, and generosity, to swell the enthusiastic fervor of the primordial elements. Except in struggle, there is no more beauty. No work without an aggressive character can be a masterpiece. Poetry must be conceived as a violent attack on unknown forces, to reduce and prostrate them before man.

7. We stand on the last promontory of the centuries. Why should we look back when what we want is to break down the mysterious doors of the impossible? Time and space died yesterday. We already live in the absolute, because we have created eternal, omnipresent speed.

8. We will glorify war–the world’s only hygiene–militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of freedom-bringers, the beautiful ideas that kill, and scorn for women.

9. We will destroy the museums libraries academies of every kind, will fight moralism feminism, every opportunistic or utilitarian cowardice.

10. We will sing of great crowds excited by work, by pleasure, and by riot. We will sing of the multi-colored, polyphonic tides of revolution in the modem capitals, we will sing of the vibrant nightly fervor of arsenals and shipyards blazing with violent electric motors, greedy railway stations that devour smoke-plumed serpents, factories hung on clouds by the crooked lines of their smoke; bridges that stride the rivers like giant gymnasts, flashing in the sun with a glitter of knives; adventurous steamers that sniff the horizon: deep-chested locomotives whose wheels paw the tracks like the hooves of enormous steel horses bridled by tubing: and the sleek flight of planes whose propellers chatter in the wind like banners and seem to cheer like an enthusiastic crowd.

It is from Italy that we launch through the world this violently upsetting incendiary manifesto of ours. With it, today, we establish Futurism, because we want to free this land from its smelly gangrene of professors, archaeologists, ciceroni and antiquarians. For too long has Italy been a dealer in second-hand clothes. We mean to free her from the numberless museums that cover her like so many graveyards.

Museums: cemeteries! . . .  Identical, surely, in the sinister promiscuity of so many bodies unknown to one another. Museums: public dormitories where one lies forever beside hated or unknown beings. Museums: absurd abattoirs of painters and sculptors ferociously slaughtering each other with color-blows and line-blows, the length of the fought-over walls!

That one should make an annual pilgrimage, just as one goes to the graveyard on All Souls’ Day, that we grant. That once a year one should leave a floral tribute beneath the Gioconda, I grant you that . . .  but I don’t admit that our sorrows, our fragile courage, our morbid restlessness should be given a daily conducted tour through the museums. Why poison ourselves? Why rot? And what is there to see in an old picture except the laborious contortions of an artist throwing himself against the barriers that thwart his desire to express his dream completely? Admiring an old picture is the same as pouring our sensibility into a funerary urn instead of hurtling it far off in violent spasms of action and creation.

Do you then wish to waste all your best powers in this eternal and futile worship of the past, from which you emerge fatally exhausted, shrunken, beaten down?

In truth we tell you that daily visits to museums, libraries, and academies (cemeteries of empty exertion, Calvaries of crucified dreams, registries of aborted beginnings!) are, for artists, as damaging as the prolonged supervision by parents of certain young people drunk with their talent and their ambitious wills. When the future is barred to them, the admirable past may be a solace for the ills of the moribund, the sickly, the prisoner . . .  But we want no part of it, the past, we the young and strong Futurists!

So let them come, the gay incendiaries with charred fingers! Here they are! Here they are! . . .  Come on! set fire to the library shelves! Turn aside the canals to flood the museums! . . .  Oh, the joy of seeing the glorious old canvases bobbing adrift on those waters, discolored and shredded! . . .  Take up your pickaxes, your axes and hammers and wreck, wreck the venerable cities, pitilessly!

The oldest of us is thirty so we have at least a decade for finishing our work. When we are forty, other younger and stronger men will probably throw us in the wastebasket like useless manuscripts–we want it to happen!

They will come against us, our successors will come from far away, from every quarter, dancing to the winged cadence of their first songs, flexing the hooked claws of predators, sniffing dog-like at the academy doors the strong odor of our decaying minds which will have already been promised to the literary catacombs.

But we won’t be there . . .  At last they’ll find us–one winter’s night–in open country, beneath a sad roof drummed by a monotonous rain. They’ll see us crouched beside our trembling aeroplanes in the act of warming our hands at the poor little blaze that our books of today will give out when they take fire from the flight of our images.

They’ll storm around us, panting with scorn and anguish, and all of them, exasperated by our proud daring, will hurtle to kill us. Driven by a hatred the more implacable the more their hearts will be drunk with love and admiration for us.

Injustice, strong and sane, will break out radiantly in their eyes. Art, in fact, can be nothing but violence, cruelty, and injustice.

The oldest of us is thirty: even so we have already scattered treasures, a thousand treasures of force, love, courage, astuteness, and raw will-power, have thrown them impatiently away, with fury, carelessly, unhesitatingly, breathless, and unresting . . . Look at us We are still untired! Our hearts know no weariness because they are fed with fire, hatred, and speed . . .  Does that amaze you? It should, because you can never remember having lived! Erect on the summit of the world, once again, we hurl our defiance at the stars.

You have objections?–Enough! Enough! We know them . . .  We’ve understood! . . .  Our fine deceitful intelligence tells us that we are the revival and extension of our ancestors–Perhaps! . . .  If only it were so!–But who cares? We don’t want to understand! . . . Woe to anyone who says those infamous words to us again! Lift up your heads. Erect on the summit of the world, once again we hurl our defiance after stars!”

A plethora of manifestos by Marinetti and his colleagues followed, futurist cinema, painting, music (“noise”), prose, plus the political and sociological implications.

War, the World’s Only Hygiene

Marinetti’s manifesto on war shows the central place violence and conflict have in the Futurist doctrine.

We Futurists, who for over two years, scorned by the Lame and Paralyzed, have glorified the love of danger and violence, praised patriotism and war, the hygiene of the world, are happy to finally experience this great Futurist hour of Italy, while the foul tribe of pacifists huddles dying in the deep cellars of the ridiculous palace at The Hague. We have recently had the pleasure of fighting in the streets with the most fervent adversaries of the war and shouting in their faces our firm beliefs:

1. All liberties should be given to the individual and the collectivity, save that of being cowardly.

2. Let it be proclaimed that the word Italy should prevail over the word Freedom.

3. Let the tiresome memory of Roman greatness be canceled by an Italian greatness a hundred times greater.

For us today, Italy has the shape and power of a fine Dreadnought battleship with its squadron of torpedo-boat islands. Proud to feel that the martial fervor throughout the nation is equal to ours, we urge the Italian government, Futurist at last, to magnify all the national ambitions, disdaining the stupid accusations of piracy, and proclaim the birth of Pan-Italianism.

Futurist poets, painters, sculptors, and musicians of Italy! As long as the war lasts let us set aside our verse, our brushes, scapulas, and orchestras! The red holidays of genius have begun! There is nothing for us to admire today but the dreadful symphonies of the shrapnel and the mad sculptures that our inspired artillery molds among the masses of the enemy.

Artistic Storm Trooper

Marinetti brought his dynamic character into an aggressive campaign to promote Futurism. The Futurists aimed to aggravate society out of bourgeoisie complacency and the safe existence through innovative street theater, abrasive art, speeches, and manifestos. The speaking style of Marinetti was itself bombastic and thunderous. The art was aggravating to conventional society and the art establishment. If a painting was that of a man with a mustache, the whiskers would be depicted with the bristles of a shaving brush pasted onto the canvas. A train would be depicted with the words “puff, puff.”

Both the words and deeds of the Futurists matched the nature of the art in expressing contempt for the status quo with its preoccupation with “pastism” or the “passe.” Marinetti for example, described Venice as “a city of dead fish and decaying houses, inhabited by a race of waiters and touts.”

To the Futurist Boccioni, Dante, Beethoven and Michelangelo were “sickening” Whilst Carra set about painting sounds, noises and even smells. Marinetti traversed Europe giving interviews, arranging exhibitions, meetings and dinners. Vermilion posters with huge block letters spelling ‘futurism’ were plastered throughout Italy on factories, in dance halls, cafes and town squares. Futurist performances were organized to provoke riot. Glue was put onto seats. Two tickets for the same seat would be sold to provoke a fight. “Noise music” would blare while poetry or manifestos were recited and paintings shown. Fruit and rotten spaghetti would be thrown from the audience, and the performances would usually end in brawls.

Marinetti replied to jeers with humor. He ate the fruit thrown at him. He welcomed the hostility as proving that Futurism was not appealing to the mediocre.

Politics

Portrait of Marinetti by Carlo Carra

 

The first political contacts of Marinetti and the Futurists were from the Left rather than the Right, despite Marinetti’s extreme nationalism and call for war as the “hygiene of mankind.” There were syndicalists and even some anarchists who shared Marinetti’s views on the energizing and revolutionary nature of war and gave him a reception.

In 1909, Marinetti entered the general elections and issued a “First Political Manifesto” which is anti-clerical and states that the only Futurist political program is “national pride,” calling for the elimination of pacifism and the representatives of the old order. During that year, Marinetti was heavily involved in agitating for Italian sovereignty over Austrian-ruled Trieste. The political alliance with the extreme Left began with the anarcho-syndicalist Ottavio Dinale, whose paper reprinted the Futurist manifesto. The paper, La demolizione was not especially anarcho-syndicalist, but of a general combative nature, aiming to unite into one “fascio” all those of revolutionary tendencies, to “oppose with full energy the inertia and indolence that threatens to suffocate all life.” The phrase is distinctly Futurist.

Marinetti announced that he intended to campaign politically as both a syndicalist and a nationalist, a synthesis that would eventually arise in Fascism. In 1910, he forged links with the Italian Nationalist Association, which from its birth also had a pro-labor, syndicalist aspect. In 1913 a Futurist political manifesto was issued which called for enlargement of the military, an “aggressive foreign policy,” colonial expansionism, and “pan-Italianism”; a “cult” of progress, speed, and heroism; opposition to the nostalgia for monuments, ruins, and museums; economic protectionism, anti-socialism, anti-clericalism. The movement gained wide enthusiasm among university students.

Interventionism

The chance for Italy’s “place in the sun” came with World War I. Not only the nationalists were demanding Italy’s entry into the war, but so too were certain revolutionary syndicalists and a faction of socialists led by Mussolini. From the literati came D’Annunzio and Marinetti.

In a manifesto addressed to students in 1914 Marinetti states the purpose of Futurism and calls for intervention in the war. Futurism was the “doctor” to cure Italy of “pastism,” a remedy “valid for every country.” The “ancestor cult far from cementing the race” was making Italians “anaemic and putrid.” Futurism was now “being fully realized in the great world war.”

The present war is the most beautiful Futurist poem which has so far been seen. Futurism was the militarization of innovating artists.

The war would sweep away all the proponents of the old and senile, diplomats, professors, philosophers, archaeologists, libraries, and museums.

The war will promote gymnastics, sport, practical schools of agriculture, business and industrialists. The war will rejuvenate Italy: will enrich her with men of action, will force her to live no longer off the past, off ruins and the mild climate, but off her own national forces.

The Futurists were the first to organize pro-war protests. Mussolini and Marinetti held their first joint meeting in Milan on March 31st 1915. In April, both were arrested in Rome for organizing a demonstration.

Futurists were no mere windbags. Nearly all distinguished themselves in the war, as did Mussolini and D’Annunzio. The Futurist architect Sant Elia was killed. Marinetti enlisted with the Alpini regiment and was wounded and decorated for valor.

Futurist Party

Ritratto di Marinetti by Thayat

 

In 1918, Marinetti began directing his attention to a new postwar Italy. He published a manifesto announcing the Futurist Political Party, which called for “Revolutionary nationalism” for both imperialism and social revolution. “We must carry our war to total victory.”

Demands of the manifesto included the eight hour day and equal pay for women, the nationalization and redistribution of land to veterans; heavy taxes on acquired and inherited wealth and the gradual abolition of marriage through easy divorce; a strong Italy freed, from nostalgia, tourists, and priests; industrialization and modernization of “moribund cities” that live as tourist centers. A Corporatist policy called for the abolition of parliament and its replacement with a technical government of 30 or 40 young directors elected form the trade associations.

The Futurist party concentrated its propaganda on the soldiers, and recruited many war veterans of the elite Arditi (daredevils), who had been the black-shirted shock troops of the army who would charge into battle stripped to the waist, a grenade in each hand and a dagger between their teeth.

In December 1919, the Futurists revived the “Fasci” or “groups.” which had been organized in 1914 and 1915 to campaign for war intervention, and from which was to emerge the Fascists.

Futurists and Fascists

The first joint post-war action between Mussolini and Marinetti took place in 1919 when a Socialist Party rally was disrupted in Milan.

That year Mussolini founded his own Fasci di Combattimento in Milan with the support of Marinetti and the poet Ungasetti. The futurists and the Arditi comprised the core of the Fascist leadership. The first Fascist manifesto was based on that of Marinetti’s Futurist party.

In April, against the wishes of Mussolini who thought the action premature, Marinetti led Fascists and Futurists and Arditi against a mass Socialist Party demonstration. Marinetti waded in with fists, but intervened to save a socialist from being severely beaten by Arditi. (To place the post-war situation in perspective, the Socialists had regularly beaten, abused, and even killed returning war veterans). The Fascists and futurists then proceeded to the offices of the Socialist Party paper Avanti, which they sacked and burned.

Marinetti stood as a Fascist candidate in the 1919 elections and persuaded Toscanini to do so. Whilst the Fascists held back, the Futurists threw their support behind the poet-soldier D’Annunzio’s takeover of Fiume. Marinetti arrived and was warmly welcomed by D’Annunzio.

When the Fascist Congress of 1920 refused to support the Futurist demand to exile the King and the Pope, Marinetti and other Futurists resigned from the Fascist party. Marinetti considered that the Fascist party was compromising with conservatism and the bourgeoisie. He was also critical of the Fascist concentration on anti-socialist agitation and on opposition to strikes. Certain futurist factions realigned themselves specifically with the extreme Left. In 1922, there were several Futurist exhibitions and performances organized by the Communist cultural association, Pro-letkul, which also arranged a lecture by Marinetti to explain the doctrine of Futurism.

Futurism and the Fascist Regime

mussolini

 

When the Fascists assumed power in 1922 Marinetti, like D’Annunzio, was critically supportive of the regime. Marinetti considered: “The coming to power of the Fascists constitutes the realization of the minimum futurist program.”

Of Mussolini the statesman, Marinetti wrote: “Prophets and forerunners of the great Italy of today, we Futurists are happy to salute in our not yet 40-year-old Prime Minister of marvelous futurist temperament.”

In 1923, Marinetti began a rapprochement with the Fascists and presented to Mussolini his manifesto “The Artistic Rights Promoted by Italian Futurists.” Here he rejected the Bolshevik alignment of Futurists in the USSR. He pointed to the Futurist sentiments that had been expressed by Mussolini in speeches, alluding to Fascism being a “government of speed, curtailing everything that represents stagnation in the national life.”

Under Mussolini’s leadership, writes Marinetti:

Fascism has rejuvenated Italy. It is now his duty to help us overhaul the artistic establishment . . . . The political revolution must sustain the artistic revolutions Marinetti was among the Congress of Fascist Intellectuals who in 1923 approved the measures taken by the regime to restore order by curtailing certain constitutional liberties amidst increasing chaos caused by both out-of-control radical Fascist squadisti and anti-Fascists.

At the 1924 Futurist Congress, the delegates upheld Marinetti’s declaration:

The Italian Futurists, more than ever devoted to ideas and art, far removed from politics, say to their old comrade Benito Mussolini, free yourself from parliament with one necessary and violent stroke. Restore to Fascism and Italy the marvelous, disinterested, bold, anti-socialist, anti-clerical, anti-monarchical spirit . . .  Refuse to let monarchy suffocate the greatest, most brilliant and just Italy of tomorrow . . .  Quell the clerical opposition . . . . With a steely and dynamic aristocracy of thought.

In 1929, Marinetti accepted election to the Italian Academy, considering it important that “Futurism be represented” He was also elected secretary of the Fascist Writer’s Union and as such was the official representative for fascist culture. Futurism became a part of fascist cultural exhibitions and was utilized in the propaganda art of the regime. During the 1930s, in particular the Fascist cultural expression was undergoing a drift away from tradition and towards futurism, with the fascist emphasis on technology and modernization. Mussolini had already in 1926 defined the creation of a “fascist art” that would be based on a synthesis culturally as it was politically: “traditionalistic and at the same time modern.”

In 1943, with the Allies invading Italy, the Fascist Grand Council deposed Mussolini and surrendered to the occupation forces. The fascist faithful established a last stand, in the north, named the Italian Social Republic.

With a new idealism, even former Communist and liberal leaders were drawn to the Republic. The Manifesto of Verona was drafted, restoring various liberties, and championing labor against plutocracy within the vision of a united Europe. Marinetti continued to be honored by the Social Republic. He died in 1944.

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