In the 1920's and 1930's the term Futurism was loosely used to describe a wide variety of aggressively modern styles in art and literature. The Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti coined the term in 1909 for a movement founded and led by himself.

Futurism was the first deliberately organized, self-conscious art movement of the twentieth century. It quickly spread to France, Germany, Russia and the Americas, appealing to all who had tired of romanticism, decadence and sentimentality, desirious of something more vigorous and robust, something in keeping with the Machine Age. Speed, noise, machines, transportation, communication, information...and all the transient impressions of life in the modern city intoxicated Marinetti and his followers. They despised tame, bourgeois virtues and tastes, and above everything else, loathed the cult of the past. One Italian critic labelled them 'art wiseguys' calling them 'the caffeine of Europe.' In a series of manifestos designed to shock and provoke the public, they formulated styles of painting, music, sculpture, theatre, poetry, architecture, cooking, clothing, and furniture. The manifestos vividly preserve the flavor of the movement. They still provoke, irritate, and amuse while opening endless possibilities still under exploration today.

Futurist Performance


    The dramatic 'synthesis', which will take the place of the traditional play, will be 'autonomous, unreal, and alogical'. Although elements drawn from reality will be used, they will be combined according to whim, and the synthesis will resemble nothing but itself. With color, forms, sounds and noises, it will, like the works of Futurist painters and musicians, assault the nerves.... The spectators will be made to 'forget the monotony of everyday life' through a 'labyrinth of sensations' characterized by the most exasperating originality combined in unexpected ways.

    Anticipating the Surrealists, the Futurists declared that discoveries of the subconscious must be brought to the stage. The entertainment would 'symphonize' the feelings of the public, exploring and revealing those feelings in every possible way.

  • Signed by: Filippo Marinetti, Bruno Corra and Emilio Settimelli (1915...Milan)
  • Source: Futurism, by Jane Rye, Pub.Dutton
  • Edited by: Joe De Marco (1992...Los Angeles)

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