"I am not a musician, so that I have no acoustic preferences,
nor works to defend. I am a futurist painter who projects on a profoundly loved
art his will to renew everything. This is why, bolder than the bolder professional musician,
totally unpreoccupied with my apparent incompetence, knowing that audacity
gives all prerogatives and all possibilities, I have conceived the renovation of music
through the Art of Noise." 1913
futurist and antifascist
"Like many others, Russolo supported the Anarchist movement and contributed to their journals. Due to his opposition to Fascism, Russolo spent most of his time between 1927 and 1932 in Paris."
"Yet the fable of his antifascism runs through all Russolo scholarship—it
is still maintained in Tagliapietra (2007) and Lista (2009)—with no
convincing evidence to support it.
This book focuses on the 1913 formulation of the art of noises. Since fascism
at that time was not even a word in the dictionary, this book cannot be
the place for a detailed discussion of the connection between Russolo and
fascism. The occult was part of Russolo’s set of interests from early on, and
fascism—if only for chronological reasons—could not have been; therefore,
though it cannot be argued that the two were not connected, the connection
only becomes relevant and critically useful in analyzing futurist works produced
after the foundation of fascism.18"
"What modernist ideology tried to dismiss or cover up we can now see
with more clarity, thanks both to the evolution of hermeneutical strategies
and to a more advantageous historical perspective. Since Russolo’s occult interests were not a sign of late blooming but had been present from early
on (and since not all such interests end up in fascism), they cannot be read or
dismissed as aesthetically and philosophically regressive.19 Through careful
analysis of Russolo’s occult interests I was able to perceive the continuity of
his research activities, and that in turn gave me access to the occult intention
of the art of noises."
"Unveiling associations with the occult within Russolo’s futurist poetics
reinforces the connections between his most important aesthetical ideas
and their migration in the spiritually charged works of Varèse, Schaeffer,
and Cage. But my work aspires above all to change the perception of Russolo’s
musical activities, from that of a rational scientist devoted to positivist
thought to that of a multifaceted personality in whom the drive to keep up
with the latest scientific trends coexisted with a deeply felt spiritual interest
and the aversion to positivism and materialism that he shared with the futurist
With my research, a new portrait of Russolo emerges—a more unifiedand, I hope, richer one. In this portrait the occultist is as evident, and is
accorded as much attention, as the scientist. "
Luigi Russolo, Futurist,Noise, Visual Arts, and the Occult.Luciano Chessa.University of California Press 2012