The Art of Noises

As the sounds of the world rattled into the future, so, too, did art and music.

In the early years of the 20th century, Milan was in thrall to Futurism. Founded by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in 1909, the Futurist movement sought to liberate Italian art from the ‘tyranny’ of the past. Consciously rejecting everything old – especially the static formalism and derivative sentimentality that typified ‘good taste’ – it exalted in the modern world, machinery, speed and violence. It glorified war, militarism, patriotism, ‘the destructive gesture of the anarchists, the beautiful ideas that kill’. It called for the destruction of ‘museums and libraries … morality … and all opportunist and utilitarian cowardice’. And most of all, it celebrated ‘roaring motor car[s]’, ‘the gliding flight of aeroplanes’, ‘factories suspended from the clouds by the thread of their smoke’ – anything, in fact, that displayed the technological triumph of man over nature.

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