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From Words-in-Freedom to Electronic Literature: Futurism and the Neo-Avantgarde

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Abstract:

It is not uncommon to find that, in the history of art, avant-garde artists have tried to obtain creative results which the technological developments at that moment in time rendered unachievable, but which, in a later period, thanks to more sophisticated devices, became entirely feasible. Also the Futurist avant-garde desired to put into practice complex concepts using languages and media that at the time were only in their infancy. F. T. Marinetti, in his manifestoes, promoted not only radically innovative textual models and composition strategies, but also the creation of works of art in media such as radio and television which, given the technological facilities at his disposal, remained Utopian ideas. The manifesto La radia and two of his dramas for the radiophonic theatre, Drama of Distances and Construction of a Moment of Silence, anticipate our contemporary reflection on the Internet and the works of art that are linked to information and communication technologies. In his literary reform programme, Marinetti employed Words-in-Freedom and Free-Word Tables in order to produce in his readers an experience not only of perceptive and cognitive participation, but also of psychic and in some cases even physical involvement. This predates various tendencies of the Neo-avantgarde which recovered, developed and modified Marinetti's concepts in its literary experiments with hypertextual fields and its fusion of various media, languages and codes in postdramatic theatre. The most radical realization of this Futurist concept can be found in electronic literature, the reception of which requires a user / reader able to interpret messages without decoding them completely, because interactive communication systems based on hypermedia produce a type of literature that is not linear but rhizomatic and openended. Recent studies on the reception of electronic works and media art suggest that these unique and unrepeatable events ought to be analysed on a par with theatre performances.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2009

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