Ross Graham

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Why progress needs futurism

Yes, I think the Italian Futurists provide us with interesting lessons. One reason their movement was so short-lived was the onset of WW1. A bunch of them died in various conflicts, but the intellectual foundations of the movement were also killed off. According to Marinetti and friends, technology and machinery was the source of dynamism and progressive change in society, and war was a primary means of putting this machinery to use. Yet in practice, the main 'achievement' of technological advancement in this period was a novel 'meat-grinder' style of warfare, one that ushered in the industrial-scale killing of faceless statistics. Rather than dynamic progress, they got pointless, static violence.

Both sides of the war had perfectly concrete visions of the future. Yet pursuit of these competing visions of progress caused them to largely neutralize each other. I therefore appreciate Eli's focus upon a vision of the future that is constructive and credible, as well as concrete. 

Balla's Street Light was a personal favorite from my history of art class as an undergrad.