The Futurists and Early Cinema

I have chosen to use Futurisms and Early Cinema for both their aesthetics as well as innate ideologies.


“I’m an eye. A mechanical eye. I, the machine, show you a world the way only I can see it. I free myself for today and forever from human immobility. I’m in constant movement. I approach and pull away from objects. I creep under them. I move alongside a running horse’s mouth. I fall and rise with the falling and rising bodies. This is I, the machine, manoeuvring in the chaotic movements, recording one movement after another in the most complex combinations.

Freed from the boundaries of time and space, I co-ordinate any and all points of the universe, wherever I want them to be. My way leads towards the creation of a fresh perception of the world. Thus I explain in a new way the world unknown to you.”

– Dziga Vertov


  • Referring to the quote above:
    • can act as an analogy and metaphor, identifying similarities between the process of recording through a lens and later film development, to the visual system comprised of the eyes and brain
    • “the way only I can see”what if like the lens and body of the camera our visual system, constructed of the eyes and brain, follow a similar scheme of patterns, behaviours and functions? –
      • what we see, using imagination as a tool, is a ready made construct, somewhat set in time so we find it easier to place ourselves within the context and time of the memory/thought, yet this can be considered the tip of the ice-berg of the mind, where only certain elements/pieces of information emerge
    • “approach and pull away”in constant momentum – both the eyes and the brain – the whole system – in order to function properly and healthily -perception, recall and associations require constant movement
      • our eyes – the lens – go back and forth between objects – building a never-ending chain connecting the elements – reflecting on the characteristics of the eyes, as muscles, driven by bodily energy in order to familiarise ourselves with our environment – considering these properties of the eyes they can be considered like the machine which Vertov was describing – repetitive movements – collecting information
      • the mind – film development – goes back and forth between pieces of information, seeing what is more suitable – what can add to our understanding and overall experience of the environment – building a relationship between us and the environment – similar to the act of photomontage and layering – that occur in the later process of film development




    • photodynamism
      • “The term was invented by the Bragaglia brothers, Anton Giulio and Arturo, who aimed to induce ‘visual vertigo’ with their photographs of movement.”
        • building/creating the sensation that the world and the objects around you are spinning/in constant movement
        • what I am trying to do in terms of our minds – showing how thoughts and pieces of information are in this constant state of vertigo
    • “The pictures on which the Bragaglia brothers collaborated [to] plot the movement of a figure, usually from right to left, with intermediary sections of motion blurred.”
    • “photography to be a powerful tool […] effort to eliminate barriers between art and life”
    • “Futurist photographic techniques include the layering of multiple negatives, perspectival foreshortening, and photomontage.”
      • layering placing pieces of information on top of each other – if too much is added then the original image will get lost in our perspective, while all the necessary information for decoding it is still there – images are merged
      • foreshortening “to create the illusion of an object receding strongly into the distance or background” – can convey movement
      • photomontage – 
        • “process and the result of making a composite photograph by cutting, gluing, rearranging and overlapping two or more photographs into a new image”
        • “later adopted by the surrealists who exploited the possibilities photomontage offered by using free association to bring together widely disparate images, to reflect the workings of the unconscious mind
        • “In 1923 the Russian constructivist Aleksander Rodchenko began experimenting with photomontage as a way of creating striking socially engaged imagery concerned with the placement and movement of objects in space.”
        • creating a composite using several pieces of information
        • images are connected and overlapped
        • the relationship between objects
        • creates an alternative version of reality
    • “manifesto suggested that the newer photographers’ superimpositions achieved a simultaneous representation of time and space that moved beyond Bragaglia’s photodynamism”
    • “We affirm that the beauty of the world has been enriched by a new form of beauty: the beauty of speed…”
      • showing that movement/speed was the underlying ideology of the Futurist movement
      • this beauty began to be recognised with the invention of cameras – beginning an ongoing fascination with movement ever since
    • “Absolute motion is a dynamic law that is inherent in an object”
    • “The plastic construction of the object, then, has to be concerned with the motion which an object has within itself, whether it be at rest or in movement”
    • there is no such thing as rest, only motion (rest being merely relative, a matter of appearance).”
      • in relation to the workings of the mind: the mind doesn’t settle on one image, with each revisit the memory or though or piece of information is different and it would be faulty to think otherwise
      • although we may think that memories are set in stone, we need to consider various factors, such as state of mind, which inevitably affect our recall and overall impression/experience
    • “The plastic construction obeys a law of motion which characterises the body in question […] potential [of the object] which in turn is strictly bound up with its own organic substance, as determined by its general characteristics (porosity, impermeability, rigidity, elasticity, and so on) and its particular characteristics, such as colour, temperature, consistency, form”
    • “The plastic potential that resides in an object is its force, that is, its primordial psychology”


    • “For us, every action that unfolds in space, every lived emotion will be the intuition of a discovery.”
    • “It must become antigraceful, deforming, impressionistic, synthetic, dynamic, words-in-freedom”
    • “it will be painting, architecture, sculpture, words-in-freedom, music of colours, lines, and forms, a clash of objects and realities thrown together at random.”
    • “We shall offer new inspiration for painters who are attempting to break out of the limits of the frame.”


  • EARLY CINEMA (brief notes from the links in the ‘References’ section)

    • dynamism
    • fragmentation
    • movement
    • “carried out by two factors: a dialogue between reality and unreality: and the fragmentation of the body and of space through the distortion of the shot.”
      • this concept of reality and unreality, as well as fragmentation, has a direct link with the workings of the mind and imagination, using observation, association and recall, to inform the internal images within our heads
    • “affected the way individuals saw and understood the physical world around them”
    • “Re-conception of lived experience through new technologies”
    • “an illusion of space that exists only in time.”
      • only by moving around in the three-dimensionality of time can we truly experience space – where we can move around – by considering time we can see things in relation to one another – how things co-exist in time and space, in relation to one another



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