Thomas Köner – The Futurist Manifesto


Von Archives, VON 022 DVD, English, 12-page booklet, 2015, USA

The Futurist Manifesto is a performance from 2009, produced to celebrate the centenary of the original Futurist Manifesto published on Le Figaro in 1909. Starting with the paradoxical consideration that current times are fulfilling futurism’s highly controversial demands (namely war, violence, feverish action and sleeplessness, among others), Köner bring to this work his trademark; video that flows and changes so slowly it is only just perceptible, along with some context-providing 4 bpm music. Both are representing but conceptually annihilating the roaring “speed” at the core of Futurist ideology, setting the pace in a slow, endlessly corrupting timescale. This is a highly consistent work in which the author’s music is performed using prepared piano & live-electronics, with visuals strictly selected from 1909 period footage, and with Marinetti’s texts performed by a female singer, as a ghostly element swarming the composition. With its multiple elements perceptually juxtaposed The Futurist Manifesto triggers “the sonic unconscious” as defined in the fantastic introductory essay written by Inke Arns that is printed in a booklet also containing the “libretto” (the work is formally defined as an “opera digitale”) and the stage design description. In a constant conceptual time travel between the beginning of modernity and the “futuristic” 21st century, the work is able to both exacerbate gloomy feelings about the present and liberate energies and ambiguousness from the past, in a feast of slowly served meaningful contrasts.