Beyond Anarchism Marinetti, Futurism, Futurist Anarchism


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Beyond Anarchism

  • Marinetti, Futurism, Futurist Anarchism

  • University College of London (UK), dept. of Italian, 3.12.2008


”A visit”

  • In 1865 Mikhail Bakunin went to Naples

  • Creation of Bakunin’s Anarchist ideology

  • Foundation of Anarchist movement in Italy

    • In 1900 the murder of King Umberto I


Conceptualization of Futurist Anarchism

  • Social utopia of Futurism?

  • The social meaning of Art?

  • The role of the artist in society?



Italy cradle of Anarchism

  • Mikhail Bakunin (1814 – 1876)

  • Errico Malatesta (1853-1932)

  • Economically a poor country

  • Disappointment of unification

  • Corruption of the political class

  • Cultural and political anarchism

    • D’Annunzio
    • Gian Pietro Lucini


Political radicalism & artistic anarchism

  • Associated around the mid 19th century

  • Changed artistic institution

  • New autonomy of arts and artists

  • Critique of middle class society and its materialistic values

  • France: Symbolism and Impressionism



Marinetti’s early social interests

  • Le Roi Bombance (1905)

    • Social revolution (led by the socialists Filippo Turati and Antonio Labriola)
  • Before the IWW

    • Against the politics of Giolitti
    • Connections with extra pariamentary groups
    • George Sorel and the theory of the use of violence


Marinetti and Anarchism

  • Theme of ’destruction’ in the first works

    • La conquête des étoiles (1902)
    • Destruction (1904)
  • In Paris in contact with the Anarchists

  • Abbaye de Créteil, utopistic community of anarchist artists



Futurist anarchy

  • Foundation of Futurism (1909):

    • ”the most aggressive revolt of the modern man towards the past and the present time”
  • Artistic anarchism

  • Against the artistic tradition

  • Rupture of the artistic tradition in Modernism (partly) caused by the diffusion of anarchist ideas in arts



”Conferenza su l’amore del pericolo e l’eroismo quotidiano” (1910)

  • “E voi, forse, non avete ancora un concetto esatto di ciò che siamo e di quel che vogliamo. Immaginate nella malinconica e stagnante repubblica delle lettere e delle arti un gruppo di giovani assolutamente ribelle e demolitore che stanco di adorare il passato, nauseato dal pedantismo accademico, avido di originalità temeraria e anelante verso una vita avventurosa, energica e quotidianamente eroica, sgombrare l’anima italiana da quel amasso [sic] di pregiudizi di luoghi comuni, di rispetti e di venerazioni che noi chiamiamo il passatismo. Insomma: degli anarchici in arte, ecco che cosa sono i futuristi.”



Reasons to deny the past

  • Judeo-christian conception of linear time

  • Advent of the “macchina” had broken the chain of linear time

  • Beginning of a new era

  • Past did not exist



”Prefazione futurista a ’Revolverate’ di Gian Pietro Lucini” (1910)

  • ”Il presente non mai come in questi tempi apparve staccato dalla catena genetica del passato, figlio di sé stesso e generatore formidabile delle potenze future”



Versions of Anarchism

  • Enlightenment

    • William Godwin (1756 – 1836)
    • Peter Kropotkin (1842 – 1921)
    • A perfect society  communism
  • Romanticism

    • Mikhail Bakunin (1814 – 1876)
    • Max Stirner (1806 – 1856)
    • Individual anarchism


Individual Anarchism

  • Max Stirner:

    • Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum (1844)
  • No interest towards society nor towards the arts

  • Importance of the individual as ’ego’ against everything

  • All social institutions (government, church..) are artificial concepts and thus false authorities



Individual aestheticism

  • Artist produces his uniqueness in art

  • Individualist makes art out of his own personality

  • Egoist makes art to promote himself

  • Partly explains the heterogeneity of modernist culture



’Futurism’ as a work of art

  • In order to promote Marinetti

  • Absolute leader of the movement

  • Mafarka il futurista (1910)

    • Mafarka = Marinetti
    • Gazourmah = Futurism


Nihilism of Cultural modernism

  • Matei Calinescu:

  • Otherness and change important

  • Tradition of ”antitradition”

  • Future way out of rotten present, son of the past

  • When future moment is reached, it becomes present moment

  • Continuous destruction / rejection



Futurist nichilism in arts

  • Faith in progress

  • Guerra sola igiene del mondo (1915)

    • ”Abbiate fiducia nel progresso, che ha sempre ragione, anche quando ha torto, perché è il movimento, la vita, la lotta, la speranza.”
  • Principle of eternal development

  • Nothing is supposed to last

  • Works of art are to be destroyed when they are ready



L’Aeroplano del Papa (1912)

  • ”Sono incessantemente commisto alle mie scorie.

  • La mia vita è la fusione perpetua dei miei frantumi.

  • Distruggo per creare ed ancora distruggo

  • per modellare statue tonanti

  • che subito spezzo con lo schifo e il terrore di vederle durare!”



Futurist nichilism in politics

  • Before WW1 no social utopia

  • Principle of the eternal development

  • Ideal: the everlasting state of war

  • ”War, world’s sole hygiene”



Futurist political activity

  • Marinetti’s growing interest towards politics after WW1

  • First political manifesto (1913)

  • Futurist political party (1918)

  • Democrazia futurista (1919)

  • Al di là del comunismo (1920)



Modernizing Italy

  • Abolition of Pope, monarchy, parliament and marriage

  • A government of technicians in power with a council of Young people

  • 8-hours working day



”Futurist Anarchist State”

  • Final result of the political program

  • An apolitical anarchistic utopia

  • No class struggle

  • ”Al di là del comunismo”

  • Instead of the proletariat, a spiritual aristocracy that has the right to realize the Italian revolution



”Artecrazia”

  • Jean Grave (1854 – 1939)

  • La societé mourante et l’anarchie (1892)

  • Anarchy is art

  • Art = supreme form of individualism

  • The main duty of an anarchist society is to produce culture

  • Oscar Wilde



D’Annunzio and Fiume

  • The Republic of Fiume (1919 - 1920)

  • La Carta del Carnaro

  • Free university

  • Academy of fine arts

  • Schools of music

  • In every municipality an orchestra and a choir subsidized by the State and giving free concerts



Marinetti’s version

  • Al di là del comunismo (1920)

  • ”Art is an alcohol that gives optimism to citizens”

  • Number of artists must increase -> race of artists

  • In every city a centre of genius

  • Every month new exhibitions of art and poetry readings.

  • Music: in every piazza a choir and an orchestra

  • Life must become a work of art



Goodbye, anarchy!

  • ”Il Futurismo è un movimento schiettamente artistico ed ideologico. Interviene nelle lotte politiche soltanto nelle ore di grave pericolo per la Nazione.” (Futurismo e Fascismo, 1924)



Avant-garde and totalitarianism

  • Mussolini in power in 1922

  • Changed position of Futurism from antagonism to collaboration with the State

  • Important position in the artistic life of the Fascist Italy (Venice Biennale…)

  • Marinetti member of l’Accademia d’Italia

  • Marinetti wrote 2-3 articles in the Italian Encyclopedia about Futurism

  • Marinetti a special propagandist of the State in case of war



Anarchist art

  • Difficult to define

  • Artistic anarchy towards society?

  • Artistic anarchy within the tradition of art?

  • Kropotkin and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon:

    • Art must serve the revolution
    • Documentary meaning: Social realism


Fascist art policy

  • Discussion started immediately when Mussolini became prime minister

  • Futurists wanted a strict artistic policy

  • Political dictatorship – artistic dictatorship

  • Futurism as the official art of Fascism

  • Futurism had collaborated in the foundation of Fascism (1919)

  • Fascist Italy a modern State – a need of a modern art



Art and anarchist society

  • Kropotkin:

    • Artist represented the conscience of humanity
    • Artist was able to change social reality


Futurist art and society

  • Marinetti:

    • ”art and literature have an enormous influence upon society”
    • Art as a tool of social activity
    • Rejection of the conception ”art for art’s sake”
    • Social role of artist
    • Social role of arts


”Arte – vita”

  • Introduction of life in arts

    • Easy to understand
    • Art in direct contact with life (antiacademic)
  • Profanation of the Enlightened middle-class concept of ”sublime art”

  • Abolition of the boundaries between art – non art

    • New art forms: cuisine
    • New elements to arts: sport


Futurists and the Fascist art

  • Impossibility to detach from the socio-political reality:

    • ”The political spirit that Mussolini has created is so impressive that the artists could not escape its influence.”
  • The propagandistic aim of art:

    • ”Art must serve a universal, political or nationalistic aim.”


Aerofuturism

  • Glorification of the airplanes and aviation

  • Propaganda of the technological progress of Italy

  • Nationalistic reasons

  • The spiritual element of flight: non-materialistic dimension of technology





Gerardo Dottori: Aeropittura, 1930’s



Aeropittura di Tato, Dinamismo aereo, 1930’s





”Some strategies to disturb the order”

  • Anarchism = antagonistic ideology

  • Avant-garde = aesthetic dimension

  • Terrorism = strategy of realization



Anarchism, now?

  • Italy: reorganization of the anarchist movement in 1945 (Federazione anarchica italiana, FAI)

  • Wikipedia: anarcho-capitalism, green anarchism, anarca-feminism, anarco-primitivism…



Bourgeois anarchy

  • Internet: cradle of anarchism, no authority

  • Collapse of Soviet Union

  • Growing power of multi-national enterprises

  • Nation States’ diminishing power

  • ”Umanità cammina verso l’individualismo anarchico, mèta e sogno d’ogni spirito forte” (Marinetti, 1920)



Futurist Anarchism now (1909-2009)?

  • Marinetti’s anarchist strategy

    • Colourful language
    • Artistic and extra-artistic manifestations
  • Aiming at getting attention and at hiding a mediocre writer

  • Model of the modern intellectual

  • Television series (The Idols)

  • Politics (Berlusconi, Lega Nord)



Thanks!

  • ”In everyone of us there is a little Anarchist… at least occasionally!” (M.H.)




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