"Manifesto of Industrial Painting: For a unitary applied art"
[This text was originally published in Notizie Arti Figurative no. 9 (1959) and shortly thereafter translated into French and published in Internationale Situationniste no.3 (1959).]
Colloidal macromolecules have already made their appearance in the field of art, and although their Poet has not yet been found, thousands of artists are striving to dominate them. The great era of resins has begun and with it the use of matter in motion; the colloidal macromolecule will profoundly affect the concept of relativity, and the constants of matter will suffer a definitive collapse. The concepts of eternity and immortality will crumble and the griefs for the eternalising of matter will be reduced ever more to nothingness, leaving to the artists of chaos the infinite joy of the always new.. The new, conceived in the hazard of infinite fantasy (fanciness?): caused by energies in freedom which man will use up to the disintegration of the gold value , this being understood as the frozen energy from the infamous banking system already decomposing. The patented society, conceived of and based onto simple ideas, onto elementary gestures of artists and scientists reduced to captivity like louses by ants, is about to end; man is expressing a collective consciousness and an adequate instrument for the transformation to a potlatch system of gifts which cannot be paid if not by other poetic experiences. It may be that the machine could (will?) be the instrument suitable for creating an inflationary-industrial art and one therefore based on the Antipatent (Antilicense?); the new industrial culture will merely be Made in Popolo (Made Amongst People?) or it will not be! The time of the Scribes is over.
Only a continuous and implacable creation and destruction will constitute an anxious and useless search for object-things of momentary use, undermining the foundations of the Economy, destroying its values or impeding their formation; the always-new will destroy the boredom and anguish created by slavery of the infernal machine, queen of the everything-equal; the new possibility will create a new world of the everything-different. Quantity and quality will be fused together: will be the culture of the luxury-standard which will annul traditions. Proverbs will no longer have meaning. For example, the proverb, "Whoever strays from the old path onto the new," and so on... will be replaced by: "The proverbs of the elderly starve the young to death". A new hungering force of domination will push men toward an unimaginable epic. Not even the habit for establishing time will be saved. From now on time will be merely an emotive value, a new coin of shock, and it will be based on the sudden changes of the moments of creative life and on the extremely rare moments of boredom.
In short men without memories will be created; men in continual violent ecstasy, always departing from zero-point: this will be the critical ignorance with far off roots in the lengthy prehistory of the wild man, the magician of the caverns. The new magic will find his most (more?) recent nourishment in the sparks from the great burning of the Library of Alexandria which was the synthesis of the neolithic revolution and which today (still?) continues to burn the residue of the urban societies of the Sumerians and of the Phoenicians nomadism, feeding like an intoxicating incense the hopes of the man.
So great will be the artistic productions that machines, bent docilely to our wills, will produce, that we will not have the time to fix it in memory; machines will remember for us. Other machines will intervene to destroy, determining situations of non-value; there will be no more works of art-champion, but trades ecstatic-artistic air among the people (populations?).
The world will be the stage and the counter-stage for a continual representation; the earth will transform itself into an immense Luna Park, creating new emotions and new passions. The cosmic spectacle offered by humanity will be able to be effectively universal and visible in its all-together at telescopic distance, obliging the man to ascend in order to embrace the entire spectacle; the "hot-seats" (poltronissime) will be reserved in Paradise. The man is thus launched in search of the myth. In the past, the epic could have be created on earth: the lack of communication, wars, epidemics, great fears, and the confusion of languages and customs favored during the time the deformations and the distortions of reality; they transformed actions, in synthesis they created epics. Today a myth can only be created in those places where the man can arrive either with difficulty or under special conditions, either by throwing himself into the macrocosm with great instruments, or by descending with small ones into the microcosm. We must therefore paint the roads of the future with unknowable material, marking the long path of the The Skies with methods of signing suitable to the grandiosity of the enterprises. Where today signals are made with sodium rockets, tomorrow we will use new rainbows, fatas morganas, aurora borealises which we will built and the strip-tease of the constellations, the rhythmic dances of the asteroids and the ultrasonic music of the billions of shattered sounds will give us moments worthy of demigods.
For all these things oh still powerful gentlemen of the earth, sooner or later you will give us the machines to play with or we will build them in order to fill up that free-time which you, with insane greed, look forward to occupying with banalities and with the progressive reduction of brains to pulp. We will use these machines to paint the highways, to make the most fantastic and unique fabrics which joyful mad people will wear with an artistic sense for just one minute. Kilometers of printed, etched and colored papers will sing hymns to the strangest and most enthusiastic crowds. Houses of painted, embossed and lacquered leather, of metal or alloys, of resins, of vibrant concrete will consist on the earth of an unequal and continuous moment of shock. We will fix images as we please with movie cameras and television cameras, which the collective genius of the people has created, and which you have used badly up to now in order to end up in the absolute kingdom of Boredom. Every person will feel the joy of color, of music; the architectural airs of colored gases, walls warmed by infra-red lights giving us eternal springtime: we would make the game the Man from the cradle to the grave, even death will be nothing but a game. Colored poetic signs will create emotional moments and give us the infinite joy of the magic-creative-collective moment, platform of the new myths and passions. With automation there will no longer be work, in the traditional sense, and there will be no more official recreational organization (after work), but free time for free anti-economical energies. We want to found the first factory of industrial -poetry and from this unimaginable and monstrous birth which machines will donate us, we will create by its side the factories of immediate-destruction, in order to destroy at once the emotional products just created, so that our brains will be forever immune to plagiarism and will be able to find ourselves punctually in the zero-point state of grace. Only a population of artists can survive guided by its brilliant minorities: the creators of beliefs. The ancient civilizations gives us examples of this with their inflation; everything was unique, and this immense production was not possible if not for the contribution of those popular elements dragged into their works by this immense poetry. With the drying up of the poetic font, it is a very short step to reach the ruins of the Mayas, the Cretans, the Etruscans, and so on.
Today man is part of the machine he has created and which is denied him and by which he is dominated. It is necessary to invert this non-sense or there will be no more creation; it is necessary to dominate the machine and force it towards the unique, useless, anti-economic, artistic gesture, in order to create a new anti-economic society, but one that is poetic, magical, artistic.
Powerful and symmetrical lords, asymmetry, now at the basis of modern biology, is spreading into the artistic and scientific fields undermining at his very bases your symmetrical world, calculated upon the axioms of poetic moments of a far off past which has reached an absolute immobility in the crystalline Boredom of your Star System. The ultimate modern artistic creations created with a magicalprophetic sense have destroyed your space; and long kilometric canvases can by now be translated and measured by chronometer, like films, like cinerama (twenty, thirty minutes, an hour of painting). Time, the magic box with which the men of ancient agricultural civilizations regulated their vital and poetic experiences, has stopped and obliged you to change speed. The basic instruments of your dominion: space and time, will be useless toys in your hands of crooked and paralytic children. Useless your ideal constructions of the Superman and of the genius; useless your decorations, your immense urban constructions which bored the sleepless nights of aristocratic gangs capable only of struggle in the enormous empty buildings, like bats and owls in search of the filthy meal of artificial paradises.
Your urbanisation over the centuries was useless and vain, because only to you and for you the people had vainly consacrated their best free creative energies believing that you were the effective representatives of a poetic message. Today the anti-matter, the physical anti-world has been found and your whole enormous dwelling is falling on top of you. The anti-man has already appeared in the dramatic scenery of physics. The people will not even use, in the future, your decorations, which will be useless since they will be nothing but enormous cemeteries where you would have buried over the centuries all the suffering and the poetry that man had created for himself.
New proprieties are required; true nomadism requires scenes for camping, for gypsy caravans, for the weekends. The return to nature with modern instrumentation will allow man, after thousands of centuries, to return to the places where Paleolithic hunters overcame great fear; modern man will seek to abandon his own, accumulated in the idiocy of progress, on contact with humble things, which nature in her wisdom has conserved as a check on the immense arrogance of the human mind. [Trans: on the Italian philosophical problem of the return to primitive consciousness, see Vico's concept of "ricorso" in "La Scienza Nuova" (The New Science).]
Lords already powerful in the East and the West, you have built subterranean cities to protect yourself from the radiation which you have savagely: very well, the ingenious artists will transform your sewers into sanctuaries and into atomic cathedrals tracing with emotional magic the signs of the industrial culture that will swiftly transform into the symbols of the new zodiac, the new calendars of fleeting moments. New energies gathered from the sensitive minority that the masses will express in extended lethargy will transform your termitai [trans: termites? terminals?] of armored cement into opulent, transmittable and exchangeable moments. Artists will be the teddy-boys of the old culture: that which you have not already destroyed will be destroyed by them in order that nothing is remembered, since your dullness has come to such a point that it has destroyed the last possibility of rebirth left to you: war.
This was always your last resort, since destruction requires renovation: today your cowardice, your fear has exploded in your hands. You are indefatigable fabricators of Boredom. Your progress will sterilize the last of your sensibilities, and nothing, if not your civilization, will help you to gasp the last particles of an infected oxygen, prolonging your agony in the emissions of the machines which you yourselves have overworked and exhausted. The new decorum, stretching from cloth to dwellings, from means of transport to glasses and plates and lighting fixtures to the experimental cities, will be unique, artistic and unrepeatable. We will not longer use the term "immobili" [trans: literally: unmoveable; it refers to houses, apartments, real estate] but "mobili" [movables/furnishings], seeing that they will be ephemeral instruments of joy and play; in a word, we will return to poverty, extreme poverty but possessed of wealth of spirit in a new way of acting and being. Possessions will be collective and have a swiftness of self-destruction. Poetry will no longer be about the senses which we already know, but those which we have yet to know; it will have no more architecture, nor painting, nor words, nor images, but will be without external surfaces and without volume. We are nearing the fourth dimension, nearing pure poetry, magic without a master, but it can only be if it is total, we are near the savage state with a modern sense, with modern instruments: the promised land, paradise, Eden, can be nothing other than to breathe the air, to eat, to touch, to penetrate. To purify one's self in the air in order to create with these new, impalpable proprieties the new passionate and free man, who no longer has time to satiate all his desires and create new ones. All ideologies, all religions, follow the politics of desire, never satisfying them if not in the hereafter: the result is that today science and art find themselves facing an impenetrable wall of whys. We want to wipe out the whys for good. The new prophets have already breached this infinite and sweet wall of new poetry at its foundations.
The man of tomorrow will, guided by these pioneers, tap into the indestructible nectar which flows from it. The entire new human way of being and acting will be a game, and man will live all his life for play, preoccupying himself with nothing but the indulgence of emotions arising from the play of his desires. The first rudimentary tools of this revolution are, in our opinion, artistic-industrial and devaluating, simply because these are above all instruments of joy: and so this is why in proposing our minor results, like industrial painting, we feel arrogantly certain that our hopes are good, judging from the spreading enthusiasm with which they have been received. Industrial painting is the first attempted success in playing with machines, and the result has been the devaluing of the work of art. When thousands of painters who today labor at the non-sense of detail will have the possibilities which machines offer, there will be no more giant stamps, called paintings to satisfy the investment of value, but thousands of kilometers of fabric offered in the streets, in markets, for barter, allowing millions of people to enjoy them and exciting the experience of arrangement. It will be the triumph of great numbers moved by quality, which will establish unknown values, and the speed of exchange will determine a new identity: Value will become identical to Exchange. It will be the end of all speculation. The great game began at Turin in 1958, continued in Milan and Venice, was reconfirmed in Monaco in 59 where the Congress of Situationists established that the ten point of Amsterdam were the fruit of a silent but effective premise for a unitary-urbanism. The subsequent Exhibition of Paris, where environmental construction was successfully demonstrated, the emotion of an instant, demonstrated how cultural unity is the only idea capable of dominating the machine.
We are poor and it doesn't matter, our poverty is our strength. Its useless for us to stew in our own juices, they will be able to exclude us from their Exhibitions, they will be able to silence us, insult us, humiliate us. The people have already understood our poetry and already the tribulation of the new poetic moment beats anxiously in the heart of the throngs bored with the exhausted idols fabricated by the hypocritical and self-interested fornication of phantom powers of the earth and their impoverished and miserable artists, snarlingly superintended by all the wheels of the human automatic mechanism of thought and of technology and of the most impotent race on the globe: the intellectuals.
Thus begin the long days of atomic creation. Now it is the turn of we artists, scientists, poets to create the earth anew, the oceans, the animals, the sun and the other stars, the air, the water, and the things. And it will be our turn to breath life into clay to create the new man fit to rest on the seventh day.
From the Situationist Laboratory in Alba
August 1959 Pinot - Gallizio