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Avant-Garde Nows: Presentist Reconfigurations of Public Time

Avant-Garde Nows: Presentist Reconfigurations of Public Time Sascha Bru `A roaring motor car, which seems to run on like machine-gun fire, is more beautiful than the Winged Victory of Samothrace'.1 Now over a century old and labelled the founding text of modern art by German poet Gottfried Benn, this renowned and apodictic sentence from Filippo Marinetti's `Foundation and Manifesto of Futurism' has gone down in history as one of the most bellicose, anti-passéist, forward-looking and progress-loving pieces of writing ever produced by one of the classic early twentieth-century avant-gardes in Europe.2 In many ways the whole Futurist manifesto has become emblematic for how we view all these avant-gardes, from Dadaism and Surrealism to Expressionism and Constructivism; rebellion against the past, the call for a tabula rasa, and, above all, the appeal to an utopian future have all become part and parcel of our notion of the classic avant-garde. One of the first studies to articulate these characteristics was Renato Poggioli's landmark The Theory of the Avant-Garde (1968). Importantly, Poggioli asserted that all avant-gardes were future oriented. The avant-garde experience of time, its conception of history, and its notion of historicity, so Poggioli claimed, were defined by the future, not the past, nor the present: `[T]he http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modernist Cultures Edinburgh University Press

Avant-Garde Nows: Presentist Reconfigurations of Public Time

Modernist Cultures , Volume 8 (2): 272 – Oct 1, 2013

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
© Edinburgh University Press 2013
Subject
Articles; Film, Media and Cultural Studies
ISSN
2041-1022
eISSN
1753-8629
DOI
10.3366/mod.2013.0065
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Sascha Bru `A roaring motor car, which seems to run on like machine-gun fire, is more beautiful than the Winged Victory of Samothrace'.1 Now over a century old and labelled the founding text of modern art by German poet Gottfried Benn, this renowned and apodictic sentence from Filippo Marinetti's `Foundation and Manifesto of Futurism' has gone down in history as one of the most bellicose, anti-passéist, forward-looking and progress-loving pieces of writing ever produced by one of the classic early twentieth-century avant-gardes in Europe.2 In many ways the whole Futurist manifesto has become emblematic for how we view all these avant-gardes, from Dadaism and Surrealism to Expressionism and Constructivism; rebellion against the past, the call for a tabula rasa, and, above all, the appeal to an utopian future have all become part and parcel of our notion of the classic avant-garde. One of the first studies to articulate these characteristics was Renato Poggioli's landmark The Theory of the Avant-Garde (1968). Importantly, Poggioli asserted that all avant-gardes were future oriented. The avant-garde experience of time, its conception of history, and its notion of historicity, so Poggioli claimed, were defined by the future, not the past, nor the present: `[T]he

Journal

Modernist CulturesEdinburgh University Press

Published: Oct 1, 2013

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