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Futurism Movement

Century: 19th

It promoted extreme artistic innovation and experimentation, declaring a radical disassociation from the past and a focus on new art, technology, and politics.


In 1909 a handful of Italian artists and poets published a manifesto for a new movement called Futurism. The artists declared that scientific and technological inventions of the modern world had altered concepts of time and space, causing a deep change in the human psyche. Traditional cultural institutions, they asserted, must be destroyed and new ones created. Futurists followed this with manifestos calling for the reinvention of everything from painting, music, and architecture to cooking, warfare, and government.

The futurists did not innovate and build on past tradtions. They wanted to destroy all that came before and start anew, embracing technology and the revolution. Futurism began in 1909 in Italy. It was tied with the avant garde art movement and artists such as Malevich. Two of the major figures of Russian Futurism were Vladimir Mayakovsky and Velemir Khlebnikov.

Between 1913 and 1920, a number of Italian Futurist journals flourished, with pages devoted to what Futurists called parole in libertà, or "words-in-freedom." In order to mimic the speed and dynamism of contemporary life, this new kind of poetry rejected conventional grammar and punctuation and employed devices from non-linguistic domains. Existing at the intersection of art and literature, these poems were to be read visually and verbally, vertically and horizontally, iconographically and analytically.