1909 – Neo-Futurism begins with the first manifesto published on the 20 February 1909 by the Italian Marinetti on a Parisian newspaper ‘Le Figaro’ arguing the need to get rid of the past and embrace the future in everything that surrounds us.
Marinetti exalts the beauty of speed (cars, airplanes…), the love of danger and fearlessness, the courage and audacity in poetry, art and architecture. Museums and schools should be buried as well as everything related to the past and permit the new generations express themselves on the heels of what technology can give. To evolve and not remain stagnant.
I recommend a view of Marinetti’s most famous poem, the Zang Tumb Tumb and it’s particularly interesting and onomatopoeic interpretation.
1914 – In 1914, Sant’Elia, profoundly influenced by Marinetti’s Manifesto and in the same year the two of them met, decided to publish his Manifesto of Futuristic Architecture. He considered that the modern architect has to revolution his way of creating, use more curves rather then lines. No decoration and more efficiency. Buildings have to be functional rather then aesthetically sought.
‘The new beauty of cement and iron are profaned by the superimposition of motley decorative incrustations that cannot be justified either by constructive necessity or by our (modern) taste’ – Sant’Elia
2016 – Some astonishing architecture from Zaha Hadid here:
A floating city concept by architect Vincent Callebaut:
- If all in a sudden our mind was erased of the past would we be creating futuristic buildings for our homes and airplanes for our displacements or would we be cutting a tree and a stone to build a wheel and a tent?
- We all grow up developing our thoughts based on habits and knowledge that already exists.
- Futurism enhances courage and rebellion but how can they exist if not in function of something pre-existent and ‘common’?
Premising the amazingly open minded Manifesto both of Marinetti and of his friend Sant’Elia, I find their extreme reaction to be based upon the historical moment of their times (Decadentism) which shows us in first place how they were firstly and deeply influenced by their past.
Decoration was an element of Decadentism and so they decided to erase it. I think not because of it’s ‘useless function’ by itself but because it represented the somnolence and stagnation of a nation who preferred escaping the present finding refugee in the aesthetics instead of rolling up their sleeves and act. But aesthetics is part of every aspect of our life. In every object or piece of cloth we buy both because we want to look stylish or because we ‘don’t care’. Either way it’s a choice, as well as the choice not to choose.
We are intimately and intricately connected to our past. That’s the place we borrowed our knowledge and experience from. That’s how we learn to know what works and what doesn’t, what makes us save time or make a certain choise. The past is an inevitable element which we can only build upon but not erase.
Neo-Futuristics found a quick and easy solution in erasing and rebuilding rather then learning from the past, keeping it’s merits and changing or improove it’s demerits.
Balance is the missing piece to Marinetti and Sant’Elia’s Manifesto!