Benedikt Hjartarson: Theurgy of the Word. On the Early Avant-garde Manifesto and Notion of Magic in Russian Futurism and Symbolism
The publication of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti’s founding manifesto of Italian Futurism in 1909 marked the beginning of an extensive publication of such texts all over Europe, as poets and artists responded to the new genre in different ways. The programmatic writings of the Russian avant-garde present one of the most interesting examples of the critical response to Marinetti’s activities. This accounts not least for the writings of the Cubo-Futurists, who emphasized that the regeneration of modern culture needed to have its origin in the autonomous sphere of the aesthetic. The movement’s writings are symptomatic of the transformation of the manifesto into an autonomous and artistic linguistic medium, meant to generate a profound spiritual revolution, in the project of the historical avant-garde. The texts are furthermore a clear example of the continuity in the process leading from Symbolism to the European avant-garde, as can clearly be seen from the important role that modern occultism and not least the notion of theurgy played in the new aesthetics.
Keywords: manifesto, avant-garde, Cubo-Futurism, occultism, theurgy