“Futurism, Violence, and the Re-making of the World,” Gianluca Rizzo (French and Italian, Colby College)

October 6, Tuesday at 7:00 in Lovejoy 100

funeral

Carlo Carrà, The Funeral of the Anarchist Galli, 1910-1911, Oil on canvas, MOMA, New York

Since its beginning Futurism, the first of the historical avant-garde movements, strived to establish a radically new way of representing the world. In the Founding Manifesto, published in le Figaro on 20 February 1909, Marinetti writes: “Up to now literature has exalted a pensive immobility, ecstasy, and sleep. We intend to exalt aggressive action, a feverish insomnia, the racer’s stride, the mortal leap, the punch and the slap.” Violence was their preferred mode of interacting with reality, and the key to unlocking a new sense of Aesthetics, as well as the path to creating of the New Man. An entire century and two world wars separate us from that manifesto: what, if anything, can we learn from Marinetti and the Futurists? Can we admire their aesthetic achievements and at the same time condemn their warmongering activities? Is it even possible to separate the two? This lecture will attempt to answer these and other related questions through an analysis of manifestoes and works of art, tracking the evolution of the Futurist appreciation of violence before and after World War I.

Gianluca Rizzo is the Paganucci Assistant Professor of Italian at Colby College. His research focuses on modern and contemporary macaronic writing, contemporary poetry, and aesthetics. He published numerous articles, poems, and translations, both from English to Italian and vice-versa (in Or, Chicago Review, l’immaginazione, il Verri, Autografo, etc.). With Luigi Ballerini and Paul Vangelisti he edited an anthology of American poetry in translation entitled Nuova Poesia Americana, New York (Mondadori, 2009), which will be followed by an additional installment dedicated to the poetry of Chicago, forthcoming this fall.  With Massimo Ciavolella he edited the volume Like Doves Summoned by Desire: Dante’s New Life in 20th Century Literature and Cinema (Agincourt Press, 2013). He also edited and wrote the introduction to Tutto il teatro by Elio Pagliarani, published in 2013 by Marsilio. Oedipus will print his first collection of verse entitled Il lavoro meccanico: Un’apocalisse in quattro tempi, as part of the series Megamicri, edited by Mariano Bàino.

Student Discussions:

  • So is the War “a Leap Forward for Humanity?” December 14, 2015 Kay ShigemoriI found several topics that overlapped between the talk about futurism and violence and Ana’s talk about Military Patients and Medical Power in WWI that I thought would be interesting ...
  • Italian Futurism December 2, 2015 Jessica TregidgoI found this discussion on Futurism to be very interesting. The idea of incorporating one’s audience into the art piece was valued by futurists. Futurism also valued change and viewed ...
  • Dangerous Rhetoric October 22, 2015 eroakleyDuring the question portion of Prof. Rizzo’s talk on the movement of Futurism, an audience member remarked that it almost seemed that Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Futurism’s founder, did not believe ...
  • The Roots of Futurism October 20, 2015 Grant LowensohnIn our last lecture, we talked about the roots of futurism, which has been called the first historical avant-garde movement. It was largely an Italian movement, which was started in ...
  • Apparently I never knew what futurism actually was October 20, 2015 JoshuaI’m not sure anymore what I thought futurism was, but I found Professor Rizzo’s discussion on “Futurism, Violence, and the Re-making of the World,” to informative. One of the first ...
  • The Inspiration For Brave New World? October 20, 2015 ErnestoCould futurism be the root cause for Huxley’s Brave New World? In this writer’s opinion, yes. Futurism was an artistic movement that violently celebrated advances in technology and rejected traditional ...
  • Futurism in the Modern World October 20, 2015 Maya MeltsnerAlthough some of the Futurist’s ideas were extreme, I think it is interesting how some of their concepts have translated into modern times. The Futurists glorified violence and industrial warfare, ...
  • The Two F-Words: Futurism & Feminism October 20, 2015 mwyndhamThis seminar intrigued me in my vast disgruntlement at the very fundamental levels of what futurism is. While I have to admit I was initially intrigued by the act of ...
  • Futurists in 2015 October 20, 2015 Sophie SuechtingI really enjoyed Professor Rizzo’s talk on futurism. It was thought provoking and at time disturbing to think about a world without nature run by machines. As someone that spends ...
  • Anthropocene: a Futurist’s daydream? October 20, 2015 Jay MooreTechnology. Advancement. Violence. Change. These words I associate closely to the Futurist movement of the 20th century. They were aggressive and relished destruction, doing so in a uninhibited and with ...