Happy Birthday, Futurist Manifesto!
Filippo Tommaso Marinetti/ Wikipedia/Public Domain
There is much in the Futurist Manifesto, written by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and published on this day in 1909 in Le Figaro, that is completely repellent. The original futurists loved war and seemed to hate women. Mussolini loved them and the feeling apparently was mutual. But it "It initiated an artistic philosophy, Futurism, that was a rejection of the past, and a celebration of speed, machinery, violence, youth and industry." It inspired artists, philosophers and scientists; thousands still call themselves futurists.
They wanted to throw out the old (including all of Italy's museums) and celebrate technology and speed.
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.
They were young.
The oldest among us are not yet thirty years old: we have therefore at least ten years to accomplish our task. When we are forty let younger and stronger men than we throw us in the waste paper basket like useless manuscripts!
Futurism survives in the pages of Wired, the optimistic world of Ray Kurzweil, the onward and upward technology will save us attitude that you see in article titles on the Futurist like How Innovation Could Save the Planet
Bernhard Warner writes in Business Week:
Marinetti’s aim for futurism—to embrace the future and systematically predict its path—proved enduring. Today, futurists are as common at Washington think tanks as they are on Madison Avenue and in Silicon Valley. They tweet a lot and write books on corporate change management. Marinetti would never have seen it coming.
Futurism and environmentalism have a love/hate relationship that has never been resolved; TreeHugger leans optimistic and futurist some days, fatalist and depressing on others. But today, raise a glass of prosecco in honor of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and the Futurist Manifesto.