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Futurism in Venice, Crisis and "la musica dell'avvenire", 1924


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In January 1924 the latest incarnation of Futurist music theatre, Il nuovo teatro futurista, began a twenty-eight city tour of the peninsula. The Venice stopover, at the Teatro Goldoni on January 25, prompted a flurry of media activity. Press reports, manifestos, and one-off periodicals advertised and then discussed the performance. Central to this Futurist-controlled discourse was the notion of la musica dell’avvenire, which built on recent technological developments to provide a way out of a perceived crisis of musical language. The Futurists positioned themselves as inhabiting a moment of transition: soothsayers of a musical future that no one else could imagine. In this article I argue that these three aspects—Futurism as a media enterprise, la musica dell’avvenire, and cultural crisis more generally—share a common impulse: as offshoots of contemporary concerns with media and technology, culture and posterity, and language and crisis, all of which had a pervasive impact on postwar Italian culture. I suggest that the Futurists sought to control media outlets in order to take charge amid a culture of crisis. Yet, in the process, their rhetoric of extremes saw a disavowal of all they were most reliant on—something that in the end proved their undoing. In particular, their futurology was contradicted by a reliance on older media, genres, and sounds, a circumstance that revealed them to be an embodiment of the crisis from which they were trying to detach themselves. I seek to excavate the aesthetic and historical issues that contributed to this deep-seated contradiction, and to illustrate the predicament at the heart of postwar 1920s Italian culture: of forging a path to the future amid the ever-present ruins of the past.


BOYD, H. (2014). Futurism in Venice, Crisis and "la musica dell'avvenire", 1924. California Italian Studies, 4(1),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 13, 2014
Online Publication Date Mar 3, 2014
Publication Date Mar 3, 2014
Deposit Date Nov 5, 2020
Publicly Available Date Dec 7, 2020
Journal California Italian Studies
Electronic ISSN 2155-7926
Publisher University of California, Berkeley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 4
Issue 1
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information The journal issue was published in March 2014, but there was backlog with the dating, meaning that it was listed as being a 2013 issue. I can provide further evidence from the journal editors if required.


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