ELCS6005 - Futurism and Futurisms
Value: 0.5 course units
Tutor: Professor Robert Lumley
Assessment: 3 hour desk examination.
The module examines responses to modernity in Europe in the early 20th century, to phenomena such as the rise of the city, electrification, the invention of the aeroplane and automobile, and the spread of cinema. These developments simultaneously represented a threat to values based on a traditional and rural society, and a promise of utopian possibilities of transformation.
The Futurists, under the leadership of Marinetti, welcomed the new in its battle against the cultural establishment, forging the first of the many avant-garde movements of the time. It presented the world with a stream of manifestos for change on every subject, from the visual arts to theatre, literature, love and cooking. The core artists - Balla, Boccioni, Carrà, Severini, and Russolo – were Italian. However, they happily adapted practices from the Cubists, such as collage, and, in turn, poets in Paris learnt from Marinetti’s ‘words in freedom’.
The ‘shock of the new’ was felt in Moscow and other capitals
where Futurist ideas inspired revolutionary plans for architecture and
cinema. The module situates Futurism
within its wider international cultural and historical context, focusing on the
visual arts and the role of the avant-garde in introducing new forms across a
range of media from painting and sculpture to graphics and photography. By
looking at the careers of artists before, during and after their Futurist
phase, it examines how and why they adopted different attitudes to the movement
and to the politics of right and left. Finally, there is a review of the
international reception and exhibition of Futurist art in the 20th and 21st
Preparatory Reading and Set Texts:
- Umbro Apollonio (ed.), 'Futurist Manifestos' (London, 2001)
- Alex Danchev (ed.), '100 Artists’ Manifestos' (London, 2011)
- Gunter Berghaus (ed.), 'F.T. Marinetti: Critical Writings' (New York, 2006)
- Walter Benjamin, ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ in 'Illuminations' (London, 1999)
- V. Kolocotroni, J. Goldman & O. Taxidou (eds.), 'Modernism. An Anthology of Sources' (Edinburgh, 2004).
Initial Secondary Bibliography:
- Marshall Berman, 'All that is solid melts into air' (London,1982)
- Peter Bürger, 'Theory of the Avant Garde' (Minneapolis, 1984)
- Paolo Virilio, 'War and Cinema. The Logistics of Perception' (1989)
- Pontus Hulten (ed.), 'Futurism and Futurisms' (Milan, 1992)
- Marjorie Perloff, 'The Futurist Moment' (1986)
- Sarah Tisdall & Angelo Bozzolla, 'Futurism' (London, 1977)
- Gunter Berghaus, 'Futurism and Politics, 1909-1944' (Oxford, 1996)
- Christine Poggi, 'In Defiance of Painting. Cubism, Futurism and the Invention of Collage' (Yale, 1992)
- Hal Foster et al., 'Art After 1900' (London 2005).