19 January, 2013

Futurism: To Infinity & Beyond?

"Cyclist" Natalia Goncharova (1913)

“The past is necessarily inferior to the future. 
That is how we wish it to be. 
How could we acknowledge any merit in our most dangerous enemy: 
the past, gloomy prevaricator, execrable tutor?”

- Filippo Tommaso Marinetti

Well let's get all breathless and excitable about the wonders of technology, shall we? 

In my introductory post I mentioned my passion for the futurists who embraced technology from every angle. 

True, the food could be a bit weird and they probably liked killing people more than I did while they were a teeny bit fascistic in some places but in terms of presenting the pure excitement of new technology, frankly nobody did it better before or ever since...

There were all manner of schools of futurism and I rather liked this picture by Natalia Goncharova who was a member of the Russian futurist school of art.

This painting dates from 1913 when flight was in its infancy and women got dressed in more layers than the average astronaut nowadays. Nevertheless the cyclist looks like he has had a good dose of Lance Armstrong's favourite 'booster' such is the speed imbued in the image!

Fascinated by the dynamism, speed and unrelenting restlessness of modern industrial machinery and urban life, the Futurists often purposely sought to arouse controversy by repudiating the 'static' art of the period. This created a handy byproduct of publicity which they exploited through multiple manifestos, writings, demonstrations and frequently highly eccentric behaviour.

Zang Tumb Tuum, a phrase later used by Trevor Horn for the

record label which recorded "Propaganda" as well as "The Art of Noise."

The problem was that despite its faith in a rapid pace of innovation, the Futurist movement, was, ultimately overtaken by, well, the future.

After all, in the heyday of Futurism it was a common riposte to disparage opponents that they ought to be:

 "heaved overboard from the steamship of modernity!" 

Hmmm, enough said!