Italian Futurism: Speed, dynamism, and the fight at La Fenice

On 1 August, 1910, a group of radical Italian artists started a fight during an intermission at La Fenice. Their problem was less with the performance than with the attitudes of the opera-goers, who they believed had been seduced by a luxurious image of the past represented by Venice (whose canals, they asserted, should be filled with concrete, and whose gondolas should all be burned). Instead, these self-styled heralds worshipped a new future – one of speed, dynamism and the eventual fusion of man and machine – represented by the industrial capitals of Milan and Turin. In this lecture, Dr Nick Gordon takes you into the world of the Futurists, as they sought to undo Italy’s traditions, from painting, sculpture and music to pasta and the humble passeggiata.