While crass and obnoxious, his outbursts were pretty much the most fun one could have in a politically-torn Italy. He was always met with a torrent of follow-up invitations the following morning, accompanied by locks of hair if the outburst was memorable enough. His paintings often distort physical reality to show just how eerie life in this new world was. One needs to look no further than his paintings to get a sense of this—abstract shapes jet out of skyscrapers; proto-freeways stretch far into the canvas as if pulling us towards an asymptotic horizon.

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Noise was really not born before the 19th century, with the advent of machinery. Today noise reigns supreme over human sensibility…. Nowadays musical art aims at the shrillest, strangest and most dissonant amalgams of sound. Thus we are approaching noise-sound. This revolution of music is paralleled by the increasing proliferation of machinery sharing in human labor. Russolo took an even more shocking swerve away from tradition. We must break at all cost from this restrictive circle of pure sounds and conquer the infinite variety of noise-sounds.

Many of his own compositions feature string orchestras as well. One concert apparently provoked explosive violence, an effect Russolo seemed to anticipate and even welcome. We're hoping to rely on our loyal readers rather than erratic ads. To support Open Culture's continued operation, please consider making a donation. We thank you! Name required. Email required. Click here to cancel reply. Get the best cultural and educational resources on the web curated for you in a daily email.

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Luigi Russolo’s Futurist Manifesto The Art of Noises, Revisited

In the early years of the 20th century, Milan was in thrall to Futurism. Among the early members of the Futurist movement was a young artist called Luigi Russolo Born in the little town of Portogruaro, not far from Venice, he had come to Milan to study at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera while still in his teens. Restless and excitable, they wanted to break free of artistic convention; and, after being introduced to Marinetti in early , they embraced his vision of Futurism.

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The Art of Noises

Elevator Music 25 celebrates the one hundredth anniversary of the groundbreaking contributions to experimental music of Italian composer and painter Luigi Russolo — : his Futurist manifesto L'arte dei rumori The Art of Noise and his invention immediately afterward of a new type of instrument he termed intonarumori noise instruments. In The Art of Noise , Russolo called for a new musical reality that introduced everyday noises of the modern world—natural and mechanical—into musical composition. He designed and built a series of noise-generating instruments, assembling them into an orchestra and composing music for them. Russolo was one of the key figures of the twentieth-century Italian art movement Futurism. Founded in by writer and theorist Filippo Tomasso Marinetti — , Futurism rejected tradition and the past, aiming to revolutionize art and culture by embracing the new technology of urban industrialized life. Professionally trained in music at a young age and self-trained in painting, Russolo began his career as a painter and continued to alternate between music and painting throughout his life. In he penned a letter to his friend, the Futurist composer Francesco Balilla Pratella that he published as The Art of Noise.

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