Art &Technology
- Russian Futurism

The members of poets' group Hylaea (the name the group had before Cubo-Futurist) were David, Nikolai and Vladimir Burliuk, Vasily Kamensky, Velimir Khlebnikov, Aleksei Kruchenykh, and Vladimir Mayakovsky. The Hylaeans embarked on an aggressive program in poetry. The first official publication by the group was "Slap in the Face of Public Taste". The mainfesto calls for the rejection of the past and the orientation toward urbanism and technology. This manifesto also proclaimed the idea of the "self-sufficient-word," which became the cornerstone of Cubo-Futurist theory.

In general, the Cubo-Futurists proposed to treat the poetic word as an object, devoid of any referent. The group accomplished an aesthetic revolution that largely surpassed the literary field. Many of the Cubo-Futurists were artists as well as poets and worked closely with the leading artistic groups of the era, such as Jack of Diamonds. The Cubo-Futurists held an understanding of the living organism, possessing not only aural but visual properties. The poets leaned toward a primitivism of form and often theme.

But, the future was the ultimate destination, an Golden Age of interplanetary communications. The Cubo-Futurists returned to the origins of language and sense of "narodnost' ". Technology and urbanism were as well an integral part of the aesthetic. Mayakovsky's landscapes are often nightmarish settings in which animated and surrealistically misplaced objects threaten to subvert the hierarchical order based on human supremacy.

The Manifesto "Slap in the Face of Public Taste" ("Poshchechina obshchestvennomu vkusu") was published in 1917.

David Burliuk, Alexander Kruchenykh, Vladmir Mayakovsky, Victor Khlebnikov: Slap in the Face of Public Taste 1917

Fig.: Russian Futurist reading

To the readers of our New First Unexpected.

We alone are the face of our Time. Through us the horn of time blows in the art of the world.

The past is too tight. The Academy and Pushkin are less intelligible than hieroglyphics.

Throw Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, etc., etc. overboard from the Ship of Modernity.

He who does not forget his first love will not recognize his last.

Who, trustingly, would turn his last love toward Balmont’s perfumed lechery? Is this the reflection of today’s virile soul?

Who, faint-heartedly, would fear tearing from warrior Bryusov’s black tuxedo the paper armor-plate? Or does the dawn of unknown beauties shine from it?

Wash your hands which have touched the filthy slime of the books written by the countless Leonid Andreyevs.

All those Maxim Gorkys, Krupins, Bloks, Sologubs, Remizovs, Averchenkos, Chornys, Kuzmins, Bunins, etc. need only a dacha on the river. Such is the reward fate gives tailors.

From the heights of skyscrapers we gaze at their insignificance!...

We order that the poets’ rights be revered:

  • To enlarge the scope of the poet’s vocabulary with arbitrary and derivative words (Word-novelty).
  • To feel an insurmountable hatred for the language existing before their time.
  • To push with horror off their proud brow the Wreath of cheap fame that You have made from bathhouse switches.
  • To stand on the rock of the word “we” amidst the sea of boos and outrage.

And if for the time being the filthy stigmas of your “common sense” and “good taste” are still present in our lines, these same lines for the first time already glimmer with the Summer Lightning of the New Coming Beauty of the Self-sufficient (self-centered) Word