One has to look really closely at The Car and Shell Skyscraper, to see that it is the perfect building for Detroit, a vertical sprawl of suburban homes, a vertical grid and scenic byways. One also has to give credit to Mark Talbot and Daniel Marklewicz of the United States for their homage to Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, and their great updating of the Futurist Manifesto.
Where Marinetti started his manifesto in 1909 with:
We have been up all night, my friends and I, beneath mosque lamps whose brass cupolas are bright as our souls, because like them they were illuminated by the internal glow of electric hearts. And trampling underfoot our native sloth on opulent Persian carpets, we have been discussing right up to the limits of logic and scrawling the paper with demented writing.
Mark and Daniel update it, with demented drawing.
My partner and I have been awake all morning, our faces aglow in front of brightly burning screens, our fingers feverishly clicking to keep pace with our racing thoughts. Franticly driven by decades of fear, themselves perpetuated by an avalanche of numbers and an onslaught of “better world” fantasies born of an endless stream of technological innovation, our mission is clear: rescue Detroit from being rescued.
Mark And Daniel have channelled the great futurist architect Antonio Sant’Elia also, with his massive structures inspired by futurism, inspired by " the beauty of speed. A racing automobile with its bonnet adorned with great tubes like serpents with explosive breath ... a roaring motor car which seems to run on machine-gun fire."
Marinetti would have loved these guys, what vision. What enthusiasm. He wrote over a century ago:
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.
Mark and Daniel call for a new open road that goes up and up. Don't fill the land, but get in your car and throw yourself at the new vertical reality. Enjoy it, use it for "pleasure and not production."
Why not rebel in the punishment of a relentless technology? Like a fighter leaning into an opponent’s blow, let us incite, provoke, and encourage our own urban desertion. From rust to silicon, from silicon to..... Throw off the shackles of the endless sprawl ever encroaching on the lakes, streams and fields of this country! Revive the American landscape of boundless freedom and the pleasures of the open road!
Antonio Sant'Elia died in 1916 in the during the Eighth Battle of the Isonzo, at the age of 28. But he would have recognized the style and the ambition. Marinetti would have recognized the enthusiasm and the challenge to the accepted norms, and told Mark and Daniel how to deal with the skeptics:
Lift up your head! Standing on the world's summit we launch once again our insolent challenge to the stars!