i-ItalyNY - 2014-06 - page 7

spread a new sense of dis-ease borne by
machine energy and power. Their paintings
would defy the confines of the canvas with
blaring onomatopoeia. They wanted the
scope and dimension of their paintings
and sculptures to issue sound and energy.
They glorified social disturbance, light rays
emitted from a street lamp, the swish of a
dog on its leash, the forward surge of a train.
In the music of Pratella, which would have
been pure cacophony to Liszt or Mozart,
they played for audiences the sounds of
the days and nights of the new age, with
instruments made from cans or pipes, or
played in unusual ways to simulate the
squeaking of wheels on a railroad track
or the painful whirr of a factory machine.
Unlike sentimental artists or academics,
the Futurists would have relished it, if, in
the middle of an interview, one’s cell phone
went off loudly or if a play were interrupted
by shouts of protest or praise. They didn’t
see such things as interruptions, but as
complements to an experience.
The movement hasn’t quite ended.Today,
even graffiti takes its iconoclastic place in a
Futurist world. It is highly self-expressive.
It is full of bold colors. It is not the stuff of
museums. It is fresh to some and irritating
to others.We find hints of futurism in
architecture, music, industrial design, art,
film and even cooking. Futurists loved
They would find this article boring because
it contains no noise, no surprise blasts, no
color, no violence. Please don’t tear up this
page! But do think about it! Ah, there are cars
passing outside, but I can only refer to them.
Planes pass overhead and a bus stops and
resumes on its way. Maybe I should end this
trifling essay with a
To Futurists, the present does not simply
reject the past. It embraces the inevitable
future, the technology that they believed
would transform the world.
And has.
Think of it. In 1909 an art of speed,
beautiful machinery, the combustion and
friction of life in cities, endless smoke and
unprecedented noise was engulfing artists
looking at their easels or blank pages trying
to divine a form or message. Italian Futurists
managed to swim in the unexplored current,
not drowning, but paddling toward the new
shore of the real.
They reviled critics, labeling them
embalmers whose “corpses” glorified the
old world of manners and refinements, of
sentimental love and idleness. They wanted
the world to be infected with the germs
of industry and conflict, war and speed,
violence and danger, and they worked to
June-July 2014
NYCLife - Channel 25
Saturdays, 11:00PM
Sundays, 1 :00PM
Counter-clockwise: Ivo Pannaggi, Treno in corsa, 1922
(Photo: Courtesy Fondazione Cassa di risparmio della
Provincia di Macerata);CarloCarrà, Manifestazione
Interventista, 1914 (Photo: Courtesy SolomonR.
Diavoletti neri e bianchi, Danza di diavoli, 1922–23
(Photo: ©MART, Archivio fotografico); Installation view
(Photo: KrisMcKay©SRGF); TullioCrali, Prima che si
apra il paracadute, 1939
(Photo: ClaudioMarcon).
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