As if in defiance of all illusions of ethics, love and darkness coexist and interlace in harmonious alliances. These intertwinements are the thickets where one cannot find any crystallized utopias of good and evil. There is no purity, and no sanctity there. There is only the natural process of days replacing nights. Angels are born in demon wombs, and in the shades of snow-white wings there are hidden some underground portals. In this sense, the Futurism is one of the best illustrations of the human nature’s complexity.
Look at us! We are not out of breath; our hearts are not in the least tired. For they are nourished by fire, hatred and speed! Does this surprise you? It is because you do not even remember being alive! Standing on the world's summit, we launch once more our challenge to the stars!
These words mark the genuine modernist dream of the new world and the man who overthrows the traditional society complete with its archives of millennial sores of our forefathers. In its very essence, the modernism is the evolution revealed in the culture. It is an acute reformist imperative that naturally occurs in living hearts, in the times of smothering stagnation.
It is in Italy that we are issuing this manifesto of ruinous and incendiary violence, by which we today are founding Futurism, because we want to deliver Italy from its gangrene of professors, archaeologists, tourist guides, and antiquaries.
All Marinetti’s speeches are infused with this new spirit of industrialization.
The birth of the machines’ modern cult facilitates the destruction on old approaches. The new is a rebel for it brings new circumstances, and thus it undermines the solid contentment of the set ways. The notion of avant-garde was taken by the art from the military lingo intentionally. Avant-garde is militant in its very nature. It turns destruction into a vehicle for goal reaching, and this vehicle is far from being a tool of blind destruction. It is the ideological annihilation in the name of renovation. The avant-garde is political every time, and it is propelled by the favorable winds of social revolution. It is not constrained by the territory of the art per se. the modernism is a hungry maw of tomorrow, and it needs a bloated old hag of the traditional society. It will devour her, and it will thus happen.
When trying to comprehend the world before the Futurism, it will be enough to glance at the Tower Bridge in London. It is hard to understand that the medieval monster that looks more like a cathedral was built a mere half-hour before the 20th century, in 1894. The entire necrophiliac self-reflection of imperialism is contained in it, and the utopian retirement of the British ruling class that saw its empire so deeply entrenched both in the past and in the future that it seemed that the old figged up world would continue forever. The sun never sets over the empire, indeed. Although revolutionary Europe literally exploding with new phenomena cannot be compared to provincially conservative Britain of the early 20th century, the modus of the British ruling classes is one of the most adequate portrayals of the object for modernist protest itself. It is the same everywhere.
We have no life but only reminiscences of a more glorious past. We dwell in a magnificent sarcophagus with its lid tightly screwed on, to block any fresh air.
What inspires modern intellectuals who strive for a new world? Locomotives and factories, machines and mechanisms, the speed, the progress, and the development do. In other words, the industry and the means of production. The Technology itself. Something that has been an invariable agent of changes through the flow of human history. Is it so surprising then that the dreamers of the new world turned into troubadours of war, saying that the war is the only hygiene for the world (Lа Guerra — Sola Igiene del Mondo)?
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.
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.
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.
As it goes with any avant-garde, the Futurism was radical. Sometimes it means some directed passionate recklessness yet the motive to sing the war is primarily logical and rational. Behind the scenes of this motive, one can find some breathing feeling that cannot be dominated by an ethical commentary and Apollonic authority. I mean, the love.
By aestheticizing the Technology, human animate it willy-nilly. The Technology become anthropomorphic and alive, it grows personal, and it implies the opportunity for love. Being clearly in love with the Technology, the Futurism wished all the best to the object of its feelings. And its lust inspired by adoration mediated Fascism as a catalyst. With its help, it invited the war.
From the vantage point of the 290th century, the war was the only mother of progress; it was the progress’ steroid milk, and “the only hygiene.” The idea of war itself contains the same avant-garde imperative of the renovation through destruction. Two world wars that followed the Futurism were its most successful art projects, in some sense. Here lies the paradox that does not fit into the black-and-white picture of the politically correct world. Something that will destroy legions of lives will become the foundation for the scientific and technological revolution. It will ruin the world, and then it will lead the humanity through the ruins to the space conquest era and through the revolutions of the 1960s straight to the cyber era. The war is an act of sacrifice to the Technology that is the rational and evolutional equivalent of the God as a metaphor for the idealistic human drive towards the perfection. Gagarin was born in a gas chamber. As soon as one realizes this, the liberal paradigm turns out to be the parade of divine hypocrisy.
“Oh, if only I could place the charge and blow up those rotten stumps!” the romantic Holderlin exclaimed in the early 19th century. It looks like the beginning of each century is marked by the birth of a new moon, and some revolutionary desire to repaint the old world with new colors. Rotten stumps are the image of a grey-haired paralysis, and if the war is the way to deal with it, Fascism will be the charge that will initiate the war process. In the context of progress, Fascism acts as the Technology’s black magic*, the synthetic equivalent of the amoral nature, and, at the same time, the very soul of war as the process of social evolution. There has never been any other vision of renovation in the 20th century. Fascism was the humanistic tragedy but it also was the natural evolutionary choice of the mutating human species, and the catalyst of the scientific and technical menstruation. Does it mean that Fascism is the inevitable consequence of modernist dreaming?
The war as the existential purgatory is inclined to reproduction. WW1 ended with the barefaced destruction of the “enemy,” and that looked like an encore for the war, and the cryonics of the revanchist energies. The Entente side, in the history textbooks presented as the rightful winner, in fact, ends the war with inseminating a new one. Isn’t it curious? It is true that the way of mutation is the way of conscious pain. The procedures of progress are defined decades in advance. The Internet appears within the military industrial complex with its subsequent alienation by the masses as the medium of freedom. However, the roots of this freedom go deep into blood and cruelty. There is no place for grimaces of propriety. Love begets darkness, and this is the only way to reach light, at least in the 20th century. Evil turns out to be just another character from a Charles Darwin soap opera.
One way or another, the Futuristic experience is especially important today, in the beginning of a new time when the atmosphere of new modernism is generated under the influence of the hyper progressive Techno. If the history repeats itself, it does so in order to correct mistakes, and the corrector himself will be upgraded in the process. Like the universes of computer games where the step to a next level is impossible without completing a set of tasks, the evolutionary cycle contained in modernism will demand a reboot, and a correct wrapping up. It was not a mistake that, parallel to the right-wing Futurism in Italy, the left-wing Futurism emerged in Russia. This is another proof that Futurism itself as the modernist imperative could be refracted in this or that political or social concept but the possible concept itself might be ambiguous. The first Futurists were wrong humanizing the technology and, simultaneously, dehumanizing the man himself, with much gusto. It will be enough to look at Futuristic portraits of members of the proletariat, and one will see faceless machines built with meat, automata for production, disposable details, and interchangeable parts. Instead of presenting the relations between the man and the Techno as a constructive union, the Futurists saw the Technology as a man, and vice versa, and this was just another reason for escalating the Fascist consensus.
The heat arising from a piece of wood or iron thrills us more than woman’s smile or tears.
Today, when the glass flower of hi-tec blossoms with the image of the new world, the Futuristic romanticism and its revolutionary love are being reborn, and they obtain their acute actuality. As usual, the future is inevitable but what will its aspect be? What will be the modernism for the modernity? Aren’t many of us in love with the Machine and the Cyber, and aren’t we all ready to commit anything in the name of love as the beginning that justifies any crime? Aren’t we standing on the threshold of fertilizing the hi-tec with new Fascism and new wars, as our revolutionary brothers from the past did? Or is it all just the historical panic and the new Futuristic revolution will happen under the banners of transhumanism and singularity? Won’t the transhumanism itself become the new butchering? Won’t the singularity lead to another dehumanization of a human being, this time through the phenomenon of an amazing thrilling cyborg? Can the Technology develop now without the fireworks of ruby blood? One thing is clear. The Futurism returns today as the cybernetic phoenix. As if in defiance of all illusions of ethics, love and darkness coexist and interlace in harmonious alliances. Standing on the world's summit, we launch once more our challenge to the stars.