Manifestos

‘Manifestoes’ resemble contracts that the undersigned make with themselves and with society. As with all contracts, manifestoes imply certain rules laws and restrictions. But they soon become independent from their authors. At this point, a masochistic realtionship begins between the author and the text itself, for the manifesto-contract has been drafted by the very person who will suffer from the restrictions of its clauses. No doubt such carefully devised laws will be violated. This self-transgression of self-made laws adds a particularly perverse dimension to manifestoes. In addition, like love letters, they provide an erotic distance between fantasy and actual realisation. In many respects, this aspect of manifestoes has much in common with the nature of architectural work. It plays on the tension between ideas and real spaces, between abstract concepts and the sensuality of an implied spatial experience. (B. Tschumi, preface of Architectural Manifestoes, London, 1979).


MANIFESTO OF FUTURISM

F. T. Marinetti, 1909

  1. We want to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and rashness.
  2. The essential elements of our poetry will be courage, audacity and revolt.
  3. Literature has up to now magnified pensive immobility, ecstasy and slumber. We want to exalt movements of aggression, feverish sleeplessness, the double march, the perilous leap, the slap and the blow with the fist.
  4. We declare that the splendor of the world has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed. A racing automobile with its bonnet adorned with great tubes like serpents with explosive breath … a roaring motor car which seems to run on machine-gun fire, is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace.
  5. We want to sing the man at the wheel, the ideal axis of which crosses the earth, itself hurled along its orbit.
  6. The poet must spend himself with warmth, glamour and prodigality to increase the enthusiastic fervor of the primordial elements.
  7. Beauty exists only in struggle. There is no masterpiece that has not an aggressive character. Poetry must be a violent assault on the forces of the unknown, to force them to bow before man.
  8. We are on the extreme promontory of the centuries! What is the use of looking behind at the moment when we must open the mysterious shutters of the impossible? Time and Space died yesterday. We are already living in the absolute, since we have already created eternal, omnipresent speed.
  9. We want to glorify war – the only cure for the world – militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of the anarchists, the beautiful ideas which kill, and contempt for woman.
  10. We want to demolish museums and libraries, fight morality, feminism and all opportunist and utilitarian cowardice.
  11. We will sing of the great crowds agitated by work, pleasure and revolt; the multi-colored and polyphonic surf of revolutions in modern capitals: the nocturnal vibration of the arsenals and the workshops beneath their violent electric moons: the gluttonous railway stations devouring smoking serpents; factories suspended from the clouds by the thread of their smoke; bridges with the leap of gymnasts flung across the diabolic cutlery of sunny rivers: adventurous steamers sniffing the horizon; great-breasted locomotives, puffing on the rails like enormous steel horses with long tubes for bridle, and the gliding flight of aeroplanes whose propeller sounds like the flapping of a flag and the applause of enthusiastic crowds.

Launched with incendiary violence in 1909, the Futurist Manifesto was FT Marinetti’s clarion call to Italy’s young artists to liberate themselves from the cultural stagnation caused by the weight of Italy’s heritage. Today, it seems, a third Futurist manifesto Launched with incendiary violence in 1909, the Futurist Manifesto was FT Marinetti’s clarion call to Italy’s young artists to liberate themselves from the cultural stagnation caused by the weight of Italy’s heritage.

Have a look at:  http://www.moma.org/explore/multimedia/audios/136/1174

F. T. Marinetti, “The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism” (1909)

Read by Charles Bernstein as part of the Futurism and the New Manifesto program, February 20, 2009

On the one hundredth anniversary of the publication of the Founding and Manifesto of Futurism, poets Charles Bernstein, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Joshua Mehigan, and Alicia Stallings recite historical works, as well as their own contemporary manifestos, in the public space of the Museum’s Garden Lobby. This program is a collaboration with Poetry magazine.

 

Manifestos of Modern Art and Architecture

The Manifesto was a favorite form of expression used by artists in the first decades of this century to communicate their ideas. As a literary form, the manifesto is characterized by its conciseness and by the provocativeness of its content. Typically, it consists of short sentences that put into question established believes about art and architecture (i.e. `We reject all aesthetic especulation, all doctrine, and all formalism`). In order to reject the past, modern artists had to reject the language with which the art works had been named and criticized. It became necessary to invent a new artistic vocabulary to express new artistic concepts (i.e. `anti-cubic, plastic architecture`).

Ultimately, the need to express new ideas in a radical way leads to question the limits of the vehicle through which the ideas are expressed, namely, the structure of language. Instead of a narrative structure we find manifestoes that are a collection of keywords, put together according to some basic syntactic rules. (i.e., The materials are concrete iron glass; Living. Changing. New).

The statements made in the manifestoes should be seen in connection with the artistic production of the artist (painting, building, painting-building). It might happen that the manifesto is a theoretical premise that then is materialized in the work, or, alternatively, that the manifesto is a reflection, made a posteriori, to express in words what had been already expressed in form.

See: http://caad.arch.ethz.ch/teaching/nds/ws97/script/text/st-text.html#structures

In some cases, artists gave to their written texts a visual-formal quality. In order to make the message more effective, they cared especially about the graphic design of the document ( layout, typography).

‘Manifestoes’resemble contracts that the undersigned make with themselves and with society. As with all contracts, manifestoes imply certain rules laws and restrictions. But they soon become independent from their authors. At this point, a masochistic realtionship begins between the author and the text itself, for the manifesto-contract has been drafted by the very person who will suffer from the restrictions of its clauses. No doubt such carefully devised laws will be violated. This self-transgression of self-made laws adds a particularly perverse dimension to manifestoes. In addition, like love letters, they provide an erotic distance between fantasy and actual realisation. In many respects, this aspect of manifestoes has much in common with the nature of architectural work. It plays on the tension between ideas and real spaces, between abstract concepts and the sensuality of an implied spatial experience. (B. Tschumi, preface of Architectural Manifestoes, London, 1979).



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