Category Archives: futurism

Joseph Young of the Neo-Futurist Collective: The End of Listening (ReAwakening of a City #5), 2011

Here is an urgent response to so-called Neo-Futurism: criticismism feels obliged to vehemently oppose it, although I realise this blog is probably doing a minor service to Joseph Young and his colleagues by doing so.

Nevertheless, it is to be condemned. The original futurists were seductive right wing agitators who celebrated the advent of World War One and ushered in an era of fascism in Italian politics. Why would anyone want to offer an updated version of that?

Like their forebears, the Neo-Futurists are keen on avant garde music and manifestos. Their core activities are sound art and knowing displays of self promotion, via both the web and dangerous looking rallies in the streets of Brighton.

The movement’s avowed aims are to overcome pessimism and futile utopianism. But must it not be said that pessimism has real utility in these late capitalist times and that utopian thinking is never futile. Indeed it is a worse form of pessimism to claim as much.

The best thing that can be said about Neo-Futurists is that their sound installation at A&E Gallery is by turns amusing and alarming, between 10 minutes and half an hour well spent. I’d recommend you visit or listen in online, only so you know what we’re up against.

Joseph Young’s show is at A&E Gallery, Brighton, until January 23. See gallery website for more details. Or visit www.josephyoung.co.uk and/or www.neofuturist.org.

Preview: Modern Times at Kettle's Yard

Franciszka Themerson, Gustav Klucis. www.kettlesyard.co.uk

Modern Times – Responding to Chaos, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, until March 14 2010

Attempts to build a world order invariably result in chaos. Some of the outcomes can be seen at a new exhibition at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge.

Modern Times: Responding to Chaos is the first of a series of shows in which creative protagonists of the 20th and 21st century have been asked to trace a personal journey through recent history.

First up is film-maker and painter Lutz Becker, whose personal responses to chaos are classic documentaries. Art in Revolution (1971) looks at Russian art in the early days of Communism, Swastika (1973) looks at the rise of Nazism in Germany, and Vita Futurista (1987) studies the far right Futurist movement in Italy.

So it’s no surprise that Becker’s curatorial interests take in many artist-made films of the last hundred years. The show includes moving image pieces by Viking Eggeling, Hans Richter, Fernand Léger and even Kazimir Malevich.

But latter-day chaos has also caused a rupture in the most longstanding of art forms, drawing. As film captured slices of reality, artists used the hand-drawn line to pit abstraction against figuration and turn geometry against spontaneous gesture.

Malevich and Eggeling reappear on paper, along with Boccioni, Mondrian, Grosz, Klee, Pollock, de Kooning, Giacometti, Bourgeois, Beuys, Serra, Judd and Twombly.

But what have these exponents of Futurism, Constructvism, Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism and Conceptualism left us with? More chaos, and the 21st century awaits a few comparable responses.

Written for Culture24.