Manifesto of Presentism, art action. Veronica Shimanovskaya. Piazza di San Marco. 9 May, 2019. Video documentation courtesy of India Roper-Evans.
In the midst of pre-biannual festivities and two days before the official opening of major exhibitions, on the 74th Anniversary of V-Day (as it’s celebrated in Russia), and about 110 years after a similar event happened at the same place, a few handfuls of leaflets containing a message of love and awareness were launched from the top of San Marco Campanile. Marinetti style.
Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, a well known poet and an ideologue of the Futurist Movement, hurled his Futurist Manifesto from San Marco Campanile a year after it was published in the Figaro in 1909. It embodied the attitude and pathos of the future 20th century that had recently begun.
Eleven points of the Manifesto sung “the love of danger,” “the punch and the slap,” “the beauty of speed,” “the man at the wheel, who hurls the lance of his spirit across the Earth,” while “…glorify[ing] war — the world’s only hygiene — militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of freedom-bringers, beautiful ideas worth dying for, and scorn for woman.” It promised to “…destroy the museums, libraries, academies of every kind, […] fight moralism, feminism, every opportunistic or utilitarian cowardice,” and pledged ‘defiance to the stars’. Sounds familiar?
The militant hubris of the thirty-three year old man was indeed a manifestation of that time in human history that knew little of the horrors of revolutions, world wars, and mass murders on an industrial scale. The 20th century of two world wars, the atomic bomb, and consumerist societies followed. That pathos and attitude picked up from the poetics of the early industrial era landed us where we are now: in a dehumanized environment of insatiable corporate greed, senseless economic expansion, soil and air pollution, refugees crisis, the rise of right-wing politics, and emerging realization of our responsibility for what has happened to us.
That realization as much as any inspired a counter manifesto, or better yet a proclamation of art as a manifestation of love, and the future as a posit of the present, being as it is dependent on our action at any present given moment. Thus my tongue-in-cheek Manifesto of Presentism flew down off of San Marco Campanile in hopes of spreading the message of art being ‘the food of love’ and love being ‘the food of the present.’ The action organically became a part of the Void, a clandestine operation of the group of artists participating in the EMPIRE II series of art shows curated by Vanya Balogh, and yet another perspective-changing exhibition — Miniscule Venice, another exhibition in which I took part.*
The ability to change attitudes and perspectives is one of the features of art, and there was a show that did just that. Widely covered in the media (La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre, The Quietus, Forbes, artlyst.com), it is unique in the whole of the Biennale, as it is a behaviour-altering piece on its own. Wandering down via Garibaldi between the main exhibitions of Giardini and Arsenale, a Miniscule Venice spectator can’t just brush through, glance around and leave, but is compelled to slow down and pay close attention. The difference is scale. The point of view.
Over 100 artists from all over the world brought together by an artist and a virtuoso curator, Vanya Balogh, created miniature sculptures the size of the matchbox. Some utilized the features of the matchbox form itself, some just adhered to the size limitation. Whether discovering the ‘scaling down’, or just unearthing miniature works created before, the joy of making the pieces was palpable in the small gallery at the Fondamenta Sant’Anna. ‘Mon petit miniscule’ attesting to the loss of value of the human and personal in the course of the global conquest declared and sung by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in 1909. All the pieces are unique in the use of material, some a combination of the ready-mades, some newly created from scratch. (read full article at www.ephemereye.com