From Radio to the Internet: Italian Futurism, New Technologies and the Persistence of the Book



Parish N (2012) From Radio to the Internet: Italian Futurism, New Technologies and the Persistence of the Book. International Yearbook of Futurism Studies, 2 (1), pp. 378-396.

Experimental practitioners have always been excited by the potential of new technologies. This essay examines how Italian Futurist experimentation with the page, the book and the radio informs contemporary experimentation with new media. Marinetti celebrated the machine through the creation of Words-in-Freedom (pa-role in libertà) which reject conventional grammar, syntax and page layout. Some digital works by contemporary e-poets, such as Julien d’Abrigeon, appear to fulfil the dynamic, interactive objectives of these Words-in-Freedom. Moving beyond the two-dimensional space of the page, the Italian Futurists sought to destroy the book as cultural object but remained interested in the book as a three-dimensional object. Marinetti was also fascinated by the creative potential of other mass media, and his creative production engaged with new technologies in terms of both form and content. Contemporary artists and writers use new technologies in a variety of ways, some of which are directly influenced by the historical avant-gardes. For example, Alessandro de Francesco’s interest in sophisticated sound technologies is reminiscent of Marinetti’s experimentation ninety years earlier, although their aims are resolutely different. It seems that Marinetti and his fellow Futurists would have approved of the detached citational poetics, characteristic of much contemporary poetic practice, where there is no trace of a lyrical subject. This poetics is far more discreet but no less subversive than the flamboyant experimentation undertaken by the Italian Futurists.

new technologies; artists' books; Lito-latta; sound art; literature and mass media; internet and poetry; e-poetry; reading practises; citational poetics

International Yearbook of Futurism Studies: Volume 2, Issue 1

FundersUniversity of Bath
Publication date01/06/2012
Publication date online23/06/2012

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Professor Nina Parish
Professor Nina Parish

Professor in French & Francophone, Literature and Languages - Division