Futurism Today or NOT!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

An Independent Project 
for ScotiaBank Nuit Blanche 2011

Curated by Thom Sokoloski

Presented by The Distillery Historic District

U P D A T E S :

Click here to download Blast! Programme for Futurism Today or NOT!

All artists announced below.

Downloadable PDF of the available Distillery grounds (interior & exterior) can be downloaded at bottom of page.

Link to photos of The Distillery now available at bottom of page.

Added link 'to like' Futurism Today or NOT! facebook page. Also at bottom.

What is it?

'Futurism Today or NOT!' will examine the artistic originality of the Futurists and how it can be reinterpreted today as a significant artistic movement of humanity’s inventiveness and/or a fleeting simulacrum of an artificial optimism appropriated by the zeitgeist of its times.

Initiated by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti with his Futurist Manifesto in 1909 published on the front page of Paris' Le Figaro, Futurism's impact, driven by the movement's desire for speed of thought and the acceleration of action, made its presence felt throughout Europe, specifically, France, Italy, England and Russia. Though an off-shoot of Cubism, Futurism pushed the envelope further. Interpretating everyday life in geometric and abstract forms was fine but the cult of the machine and industry was what was transforming all apsects of life faster than art and this is what Marinetti, Boccioni, Carra, Russolo, Balla and Severini stuck to. All artistic expression had to stay ahead of this transformation, and with a severe and glorified sense of irony, expose its dehumanization of everyday life faster that it could be imagined. Futurism was the modernist fuse that ignited the artistic explosions of the great multi-disciplinary art movements which followed into the 1930's, including Dadaism, Bauhaus, Constructivism, Surrealism, Suprematism, Vorticism, German Expressionism, etc. 

The Futurists also faced, more than any other artistic movement, an onslaught of criticism as a result of their eventual ties to Italian Fascism and their glorification of war and misogyny. These cannot be ignored, but at the same time art and politics were never so integrated as they were at the beginning of the 20th Century. Right or wrong-headed, modernism was on the move with unparalleled voraciousness, especially in politics. If Futurism's ideals were driven by the momentum of spectacle, why shouldn't the new politics of Fascism appropriate and steal what they needed until they got their branding together as well? Once Mussolini succeeded in doing this, he broke-off the relationship claiming that Marinetti refused the real violence the Fascists' needed to spread with their urban arditi and rural squadrismos - Marinetti '[is] an eccentric buffoon who wants to play politics and whom no one in Italy, least of all me, takes seriously'. The challenges artists and the momentum of their creative forces faced during the rise of Naziism, Fascism and Communism in Germany, Austria, Soviet Union, Spain and Italy, did not make being an artist comfortable, or sometimes it did, depending on what was needed and not needed from you. Composer Dimitri Shostakovitch's insightful journals while serving under Stalin make for a good read as does Griel Marcus' Lipstick Traces.'

History-making was not in a pretty place then, nor is it today after the recent massacre in Norway, the on-going riots in London and the looming global economic chaos. A great deal remains dormant. What awakens some to go in one direction and others in another has always been a topic for discussion, not only in art but in politics and life as well. The speed and acceleration at which thought and action can be organised and executed in today's societies is startling, and their results even more so. 

My hope is that 'Futurism Today or NOT!' will bring together a group of interested and inspired artists who will examine the many artistic and political questions of our past through a mass collective creation that incites a robust dialogue between themselves and their public about our present and future.


Anthony Cristina & Natalie Viecili

Arianne Pollet-Brannen & Rebecca Hannon

Barbara Astman


Benecorpo Community

Christine Lucy Latimer

Dominique Banoun

Enza Iovio

Evoke Movement Dance Theatre

Evond Blake

Heather Hughes

Henry Navarro

John Marriot

Kadozuke Kollektif

Kat Citroen

Kevin Bonnici

Kirsten Webb

Larchaud Dance

Marcus Patching

Mladen Ovadija

Nexx Level Dance & Theatre

Nouveau Futurist Art of Noise Group

Paul J. Stoesser

Paula John

Rebecca Leonard

Richard Watts

Saving Us From Destruction


Sean Smith

Semco Salehi

Shannon Dobbs

Timothy Scaffidi

Typecast Dance

Victoria Ward


Production by 5th Element

How to participate?

If you are an artist or collective and interested, you are welcome to propose a project which reinterprets or is inspired by one of the hundreds of multi-disciplinary works created by the Futurists. These may include but are not limited to;

Performance Art
Aerial Painting
Futurist Cooking
If you have any questions about how to participate, do not hesitate to ask me.
Media Art
Sound Art
If you have any questions about how to participate, do not hesitate to ask me.
Action Painting + Sculpting
Theatre Performance
Dance Performance
Music Constructions + Performance
Poetry + Manifesto Readings
Art Criticism
Archive Reproductions

Please keep in mind that ScotiaBanks's Nuit Blanche is a 12-hour durational visual arts experience! Any work submitted must meet the basic criteria of starting at sunset and ending at sunrise as one individual artwork or as part of a programme of a collective artwork, such as a cabaret-style event inclusive of dance, theatre and music.

From a production persepctive Arta Gallery, Julie M. Gallery and Balzac's Cafe have committed to supplying interior space for visual works and possible readings and projections. The Distillery will be supplying up to 14 secured exterior spaces equipped with basic lighting. The focus will be on the main plaza which is the extension of Trinity Street south of Mill Street. Six walls are also available for media projections. Please note that times and spaces are limited.

How to submit a proposal?

If you are interested in participating by either proposing a work or wanting to help with the production and exhibition of these works, please send an email of interest to FuturismTodayorNot@gmail.com

Please include the following for your proposal to be considered:

- your contact information, 
- brief bio or bios if a collective (can be a link to your website),
- description of work you would like to do and production requirements,
- a statement of what or who of the Futurism movement inspired your proposal (this is the most important to address).

Deadline September 1, 2011!

The selected works will be integrated into a large-scale site-specific showcase called The Futuristic Institute of Collective Happenings for ScotiaBank Nuit Blanche 2011, 6:59 PM, Saturday, October 1, 2011 until sunrise Sunday, October 2, 2011.

The Distillery Historic District is offering use of selected outdoor and indoor spaces, security, required public insurances, promotion and bus shuttle between City Hall and The Distillery.

Mapping and photos of spaces coming soon! If you have any questions do not hesitate to ask me.


There will of course be promotion done by ScotiaBank Nuit Blanche 2011 as well as The Distillery Historic District. Even more exciting will be the publication of a program guide to The Futuristic Institute of Collective Happenings modelled after the Vorticists' (English Futurists) revue Blast!


I will adding new links everyday so that anyone who who is interested can hopefully appreciate the arena of possibilities the Futurists built.

Due to a great deal of discussion around Futurists and their association with Fascism and misogyny, as well as other topics and actions of a controversial nature, I will be posting links to discussions concerning them.

The controversies surrounding Futurist politics:

Discussion 1

Discussion 2

Discussion 3

Discussion 4

Suggested Research Links:

Futurism: Manifestos and other resources

Italian Futurism

Wikipedia - Overview of Futurism

Wikipedia - Overview of Futurist Music


Futurism and contemporary architecture

The Italian Futurist Book

Tate Modern

Italian Futurism

MOMA PS1 - A series on the Futurists on their 100th

Futurism site at Anglia Ruskin University

Futurist Manifesto on Dance

Futurist Cookbook

Suggested Video Links - Historical and Educational

A Futurism - The Dead Movement that Lives 

A University of Toronto research assignment. This film explores Futurism, its manifestos and the relationship that modern Science-Fiction and cinema have with futurist imagery. This film demonstrates that futurism is not a dead movement because futurist inspirations are used widely in the modern world.

Architectural Futurism of the 1920's

A Visual Exploration of the Fritz Lang's Film Metropolis & its relationship to other Futurist works of the 1920s including Le Corbusier's The City of To-Morrow &Hugh Ferriss's The Metropolis of Tomorrow

Suggested Video Links - Artworks Historical and Contemporary

Some of these are in Italian

Aerospettacolo futurista

Here is a work done to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Futurists. An interpretation of Marinetti's ideas of 'aerospatial' works.

PierPaolo Koss-Andrey Bartenev Futurismo Pushkin Museum Moscow 2008

Carmelo Bene Futurismo

A great Italian actor recites Futurist text.

Performance SERATA FUTURISTA by PierPaolo Koss in Moscow

A performance which wants to homage the renowned "Futurist evenings"
introduced by Marinetti in Rome in 1913 in Sprovieri Gallery and in the Teatro dei Piccoli in Podrecca - where Marinetti and other famous protagonists of futurism, started a long season of animating and provocative "evenings", in the wake of cabaret and variety theatre.

Sperimentazioni di danza futurista

Macchina Del 3000 - Love of Two Locomotives for the Station Master

La cucina futurista

Return to Thom's website HERE.