Marinetti, Sant’Elia and The Birth Of Futurism and Futurist Architecture

Today was my first study group for net-futurism, we began by looking at the futurist manifesto which was written by F.T Marinetti in the French newspaper Le Fiagaro in Paris on February 20th 1909. A manifesto is a piece of information that they want to persuade an idea, it’s usually very forceful and aggressive and this was one of the first manifestos written by an artist. Marinetti was a poet who wrote sang tumb tumb. Zang is the sound of a bullet and tumb tumb is the sound of explosions.He was interested in poster design and the way that words are written and designed and get people to think differently about writing.


In his manifesto he tells a story, he starts with a view of him and his friends in a dark room lit by hanging mosque electric lamps which is a clash of old a new. He described this as a single event that happened in his manifesto. They then jumped into their fast cars and he was inspired by speed and power which is a stereotypical masculine ideology. In October 15th 1908 Marinetti crashed his car with his friends by driving fast and was pushed off the road by two old people on bikes and ended up in a ditch. He climbed out of the ditch and had an epiphany and decided that he wanted to become futurists.

Marinetti was interesting on moving on in the future and destroying the past. He joined the army and fought for the Italians in north east italy in an area called the Isonzo Front in 1916. He fought with Sant’Elia who was his friend and an architect. The first unit they joined was a cycle regiment which is ironic because when he decided that he wanted to become a futurist is when he got knock off the road by two old people on bike! Sant’Elia was killed in the Isonzo Front, he was influenced by Marinetti and published the first manifesto in architecture.

He rejects the way that ancient buildings are protected, he thinks that they should be knocked down. Sant’Elia suggests that you can make any shape possible with new materials in buildings. He doesn’t like horizontal and vertical lines in architectural designs, he started to introduce curved lines in his designs. He thinks that decoration in architecture are absurd and completely pointless. The beauty in steel and concrete is all they need, they don’t need pointless shapes and decoration stuck on. He wants to ‘harmonize the environment with man’ which is a completely contrasting way to how we think in this time. We want to protect and help the environment and he did not think of that.

To some extent I think Sant’Elia’s view that decoration must be abolished depending on the context could be true. Within graphic design when it comes to web designing for example, decoration can be confusing and misleading therefore does not work well. As a website needs to show clear hierarchy and help the user on their journey through the website. Although I think that within the Art & Design industry, decoration can create visually aesthetic outcomes and can communicate messages through visual decoration. I think that it is inevitable to not borrow from the past as everywhere you look you are taking influence and inspiration from around you. I think that by taking influences from different sources to inspire your work can help create a more interesting piece. In my opinion I think that nostalgia can be appropriate in art & design and within my discipline. When communicating to a certain target audience it can engage a social group well. For example a middle aged target audience may have similar nostalgic memories which could be an effective marketing technique. I think that pastiche can be acceptable if you as a designer, not only pay tribute to the genre/artist but also add your own original creativity.


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