How has Modernity failed or does it still exist?

For this essay I have four primary source documents attached that must be used in the essay. The essay must me three pages double spaced, no more. The essay is due tomorrow morning, I know this is short notice. I am willing to talk about how much to pay as I know it is short notice. Prompt: Identify key traits of Modernity (such as political, social, economic, artistic, scientific) substantiated through examples of how Modernity has been evinced in European History. On the basis of these traits, why has Modernity failed? or why has Modernity partially failed? Or why is Modernity resilient as ever? Does post-Modernity offer a viable way out if indeed Modernity has failed- waht potential benefits or problems does it present?


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Manifesto of Futurist Architecture
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No architecture has existed since 1700. A moronic
mixture of the most various stylistic elements used
to mask the skeletons of modern houses is called
modern architecture. The new beauty of cement
and iron are profaned by the superimposition of
motley decorative incrustations that cannot be
justified either by constructive necessity or by our
(modern) taste, and whose origins are in Egyptian,
Indian or Byzantine antiquity and in that idiotic
flowering of stupidity and impotence that took the
name of neoclassicism.
These architectonic prostitutions are welcomed in
Italy, and rapacious alien ineptitude is passed off as
talented invention and as extremely up-to-date
architecture. Young Italian architects (those who
borrow originality from clandestine and compulsive
devouring of art journals) flaunt their talents in the
new quarters of our towns, where a hilarious salad
of little ogival columns, seventeenth-century
foliation, Gothic pointed arches, Egyptian pilasters,
rococo scrolls, fifteenth-century cherubs, swollen
caryatids, take the place of style in all seriousness,
and presumptuously put on monumental airs. The kaleidoscopic appearance and reappearance of
forms, the multiplying of machinery, the daily increasing needs imposed by the speed of
communications, by the concentration of population, by hygiene, and by a hundred other
phenomena of modern life, never cause these self-styled renovators of architecture a moment’s
perplexity or hesitation. They persevere obstinately with the rules of Vitruvius, Vignola and
Sansovino plus gleanings from any published scrap of information on German architecture that
happens to be at hand. Using these, they continue to stamp the image of imbecility on our cities,
our cities which should be the immediate and faithful projection of ourselves.
And so this expressive and synthetic art has become in their hands a vacuous stylistic exercise, a
jumble of ill-mixed formulae to disguise a run-of-the-mill traditionalist box of bricks and stone as a
modern building. As if we who are accumulators and generators of movement, with all our added
mechanical limbs, with all the noise and speed of our life, could live in streets built for the needs
of men four, five or six centuries ago.
This is the supreme imbecility of modern architecture, perpetuated by the venal complicity of the
academies, the internment camps of the intelligentsia, where the young are forced into the
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Manifesto of Futurist Architecture
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onanistic recopying of classical models instead of throwing their minds open in the search for new
frontiers and in the solution of the new and pressing problem: the Futurist house and city. The
house and the city that are ours both spiritually and materially, in which our tumult can rage
without seeming a grotesque anachronism.
The problem posed in Futurist architecture is not one of linear rearrangement. It is not a question
of finding new moldings and frames for windows and doors, of replacing columns, pilasters and
corbels with caryatids, flies and frogs. Neither has it anything to do with leaving a façade in bare
brick, or plastering it, or facing it with stone or in determining formal differences between the new
building and the old one. It is a question of tending the healthy growth of the Futurist house, of
constructing it with all the resources of technology and science, satisfying magisterially all the
demands of our habits and our spirit, trampling down all that is grotesque and antithetical
(tradition, style, aesthetics, proportion), determining new forms, new lines, a new harmony of
profiles and volumes, an architecture whose reason for existence can be found solely in the
unique conditions of modern life, and in its correspondence with the aesthetic values of our
sensibilities. This architecture cannot be subjected to any law of historical continuity. It must be
new, just as our state of mind is new.
The art of construction has been able to evolve with time, and to pass from one style to another,
while maintaining unaltered the general characteristics of architecture, because in the course of
history changes of fashion are frequent and are determined by the alternations of religious
conviction and political disposition. But profound changes in the state of the environment are
extremely rare, changes that unhinge and renew, such as the discovery of natural laws, the
perfecting of mechanical means, the rational and scientific use of material. In modern life the
process of stylistic development in architecture has been brought to a halt. Architecture now
makes a break with tradition. It must perforce make a fresh start.
Calculations based on the resistance of materials, on the use of reinforced concrete and steel,
exclude “architecture” in the classical and traditional sense. Modern constructional materials and
scientific concepts are absolutely incompatible with the disciplines of historical styles, and are the
principal cause of the grotesque appearance of “fashionable” buildings in which attempts are
made to employ the lightness, the superb grace of the steel beam, the delicacy of reinforced
concrete, in order to obtain the heavy curve of the arch and the bulkiness of marble.
The utter antithesis between the modern world and the old is determined by all those things that
formerly did not exist. Our lives have been enriched by elements the possibility of whose existence
the ancients did not even suspect. Men have identified material contingencies, and revealed
spiritual attitudes, whose repercussions are felt in a thousand ways. Principal among these is the
formation of a new ideal of beauty that is still obscure and embryonic, but whose fascination is
already felt even by the masses. We have lost our predilection for the monumental, the heavy, the
static, and we have enriched our sensibility with a taste for the light, the practical, the ephemeral
and the swift. We no longer feel ourselves to be the men of the cathedrals, the palaces and the
podiums. We are the men of the great hotels, the railway stations, the immense streets, colossal
ports, covered markets, luminous arcades, straight roads and beneficial demolitions.
We must invent and rebuild the Futurist city like an immense and tumultuous shipyard, agile,
mobile and dynamic in every detail; and the Futurist house must be like a gigantic machine. The
lifts must no longer be hidden away like tapeworms in the niches of stairwells; the stairwells
themselves, rendered useless, must be abolished, and the lifts must scale the lengths of the
façades like serpents of steel and glass. The house of concrete, glass and steel, stripped of
paintings and sculpture, rich only in the innate beauty of its lines and relief, extraordinarily “ugly”
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Manifesto of Futurist Architecture
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in its mechanical simplicity, higher and wider according to need rather than the specifications of
municipal laws. It must soar up on the brink of a tumultuous abyss: the street will no longer lie like
a doormat at ground level, but will plunge many stories down into the earth, embracing the
metropolitan traffic, and will be linked up for necessary interconnections by metal gangways and
swift-moving pavements.
The decorative must be abolished. The problem of
Futurist architecture must be resolved, not by
continuing to pilfer from Chinese, Persian or
Japanese photographs or fooling around with the
rules of Vitruvius, but through flashes of genius and
through scientific and technical expertise. Everything
must be revolutionized. Roofs and underground
spaces must be used; the importance of the façade
must be diminished; issues of taste must be
transplanted from the field of fussy moldings, finicky
capitals and flimsy doorways to the broader
concerns of bold groupings and masses, and
large-scale disposition of planes. Let us make an
end of monumental, funereal and commemorative
architecture. Let us overturn monuments,
pavements, arcades and flights of steps; let us sink
the streets and squares; let us raise the level of the
1. All the pseudo-architecture of the avant-garde,
Austrian, Hungarian, German and American;
2. All classical architecture, solemn, hieratic,
scenographic, decorative, monumental, pretty
and pleasing;
3. The embalming, reconstruction and
reproduction of ancient monuments and
4. Perpendicular and horizontal lines, cubical and
pyramidical forms that are static, solemn, aggressive and absolutely excluded from our
utterly new sensibility;
5. The use of massive, voluminous, durable, antiquated and costly materials.
1. That Futurist architecture is the architecture of calculation, of audacious temerity and of
simplicity; the architecture of reinforced concrete, of steel, glass, cardboard, textile fiber, and
of all those substitutes for wood, stone and brick that enable us to obtain maximum elasticity
and lightness;
2. That Futurist architecture is not because of this an arid combination of practicality and
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Manifesto of Futurist Architecture
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usefulness, but remains art, i.e. synthesis and expression;
3. That oblique and elliptic lines are dynamic, and by their very nature possess an emotive
power a thousand times stronger than perpendiculars and horizontals, and that no integral,
dynamic architecture can exist that does not include these;
4. That decoration as an element superimposed on architecture is absurd, and that the
decorative value of Futurist architecture depends solely on the use and original
arrangement of raw or bare or violently colored materials;
5. That, just as the ancients drew inspiration for their art from the elements of nature, we—who
are materially and spiritually artificial—must find that inspiration in the elements of the utterly
new mechanical world we have created, and of which architecture must be the most
beautiful expression, the most complete synthesis, the most efficacious integration;
6. That architecture as the art of arranging forms according to pre-established criteria is
7. That by the term architecture is meant the endeavor to harmonize the environment with Man
with freedom and great audacity, that is to transform the world of things into a direct
projection of the world of the spirit;
8. From an architecture conceived in this way no formal or linear habit can grow, since the
fundamental characteristics of Futurist architecture will be its impermanence and transience.
Things will endure less than us. Every generation must build its own city. This constant
renewal of the architectonic environment will contribute to the victory of Futurism which has
already been affirmed by words-in-freedom, plastic dynamism, music without
quadrature and the art of noises, and for which we fight without respite against
traditionalist cowardice.
9/12/2009 11:48 PM
F. T. Marinetti,
The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism, 1909
We have been up all night, my friends and I, beneath mosque lamps whose brass cupolas are
bright as our souls, because like them they were illuminated by the internal glow of electric
hearts. And trampling underfoot our native sloth on opulent Persian carpets, we have been
discussing right up to the limits of logic and scrawling the paper with demented writing.
Our hearts were filled with an immense pride at feeling ourselves standing quite alone,
like lighthouses or like the sentinels in an outpost, facing the army of enemy stars encamped in
their celestial bivouacs. Alone with the engineers in the infernal stokeholes of great ships, alone
with the black spirits which rage in the belly of rogue locomotives, alone with the drunkards
beating their wings against the walls.
Then we were suddenly distracted by the rumbling of huge double-decker trams that went
leaping by, streaked with light like the villages celebrating their festivals, which the Po in flood
suddenly knocks down and uproots, and, in the rapids and eddies of a deluge, drags down to the
Then the silence increased. As we listened to the last faint prayer of the old canal and the
crumbling of the bones of the moribund palaces with their green growth of beard, suddenly the
hungry automobiles roared beneath our windows.
“Come, my friends!” I said. “Let us go! At last Mythology and the mystic cult of the
ideal have been left behind. We are going to be present at the birth of the centaur and we shall
soon see the first angels fly! We must break down the gates of life to test the bolts and the
padlocks! Let us go! Here is they very first sunrise on earth! Nothing equals the splendor of its
red sword which strikes for the first time in our millennial darkness.”
We went up to the three snorting machines to caress their breasts. I lay along mine like a
corpse on its bier, but I suddenly revived again beneath the steering wheel—a guillotine knife—
which threatened my stomach. A great sweep of madness brought us sharply back to ourselves
and drove us through the streets, steep and deep, like dried up torrents. Here and there unhappy
lamps in the windows taught us to despise our mathematical eyes. “Smell,” I exclaimed, “smell
is good enough for wild beasts!”
And we hunted, like young lions, death with its black fur dappled with pale crosses, who
ran before us in the vast violet sky, palpable and living.
And yet we had no ideal Mistress stretching her form up to the clouds, nor yet a cruel
Queen to whom to offer our corpses twisted into the shape of Byzantine rings! No reason to die
unless it is the desire to be rid of the too great weight of our courage!
We drove on, crushing beneath our burning wheels, like shirt-collars under the iron, the
watch dogs on the steps of the houses.
Death, tamed, went in front of me at each corner offering me his hand nicely, and
sometimes lay on the ground with a noise of creaking jaws giving me velvet glances from the
bottom of puddles.
“Let us leave good sense behind like a hideous husk and let us hurl ourselves, like fruit
spiced with pride, into the immense mouth and breast of the world! Let us feed the unknown, not
from despair, but simply to enrich the unfathomable reservoirs of the Absurd!”
As soon as I had said these words, I turned sharply back on my tracks with the mad
intoxication of puppies biting their tails, and suddenly there were two cyclists disapproving of
me and tottering in front of me like two persuasive but contradictory reasons. Their stupid
Marinetti, Founding and Manifesto of Futurism (1909)
swaying got in my way. What a bore! Pouah! I stopped short, and in disgust hurled myself—
vlan!—head over heels in a ditch.
Oh, maternal ditch, half full of muddy water! A factory gutter! I savored a mouthful of
strengthening muck which recalled the black teat of my Sudanese nurse!
As I raised my body, mud-spattered and smelly, I felt the red hot poker of joy deliciously
pierce my heart. A crowd of fishermen and gouty naturalists crowded terrified around this
marvel. With patient and tentative care they raised high enormous grappling irons to fish up my
car, like a vast shark that had run aground. It rose slowly leaving in the ditch, like scales, its
heavy coachwork of good sense and its upholstery of comfort.
We thought it was dead, my good shark, but I woke it with a single caress of its powerful
back, and it was revived running as fast as it could on its fins.
Then with my face covered in good factory mud, covered with metal scratches, useless
sweat and celestial grime, amidst the complaint of staid fishermen and angry naturalists, we
dictated our first will and testament to all the living men on earth.
1. We want to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and rashness.
2. The essential elements of our poetry will be courage, audacity and revolt.
3. Literature has up to now magnified pensive immobility, ecstasy and slumber. We want to
exalt movements of aggression, feverish sleeplessness, the double march, the perilous leap, the
slap and the blow with the fist.
4. We declare that the splendor of the world has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of
speed. A racing automobile with its bonnet adorned with great tubes like serpents with explosive
breath … a roaring motor car which seems to run on machine-gun fire, is more beautiful than the
Victory of Samothrace.
5. We want to sing the man at the wheel, the ideal axis of which crosses the earth, itself hurled
along its orbit.
6. The poet must spend himself with warmth, glamour and prodigality to increase the
enthusiastic fervor of the primordial elements.
7. Beauty exists only in struggle. There is no masterpiece that has not an aggressive character.
Poetry must be a violent assault on the forces of the unknown, to force them to bow before man.
8. We are on the extreme promontory of the centuries! What is the use of looking behind at the
moment when we must open the mysterious shutters of the impossible? Time and Space died
yesterday. We are already living in the absolute, since we have already created eternal,
omnipresent speed.
9. We want to glorify war – the only cure for the world – militarism, patriotism, the destructive
gesture of the anarchists, the beautiful ideas which kill, and contempt for woman.
10. We want to demolish museums and libraries, fight morality, feminism and all opportunist
and utilitarian cowardice.
11. We will sing of the great crowds agitated by work, pleasure and revolt; the multi-colored
and polyphonic surf of revolutions in modern capitals: the nocturnal vibration of the arsenals and
the workshops beneath their violent electric moons: the gluttonous railway stations devouring
smoking serpents; factories suspended from the clouds by the thread of their smoke; bridges with
the leap of gymnasts flung across the diabolic cutlery of sunny rivers: adventurous steamers
sniffing the horizon; great-breasted locomotives, puffing on the rails like enormous steel horses
Marinetti, Founding and Manifesto of Futurism (1909)
with long tubes for bridle, and the gliding flight of aeroplanes whose propeller sounds like the
flapping of a flag and the applause of enthusiastic crowds.
It is in Italy that we are issuing this manifesto of ruinous and incendiary violence, by
which we today are founding Futurism, because we want to deliver Italy from its gangrene of
professors, archaeologists, tourist guides and antiquaries.
Italy has been too long the great second-hand market. We want to get rid of the
innumerable museums which cover it with innumerable cemeteries.
Museums, cemeteries! Truly identical in their sinister juxtaposition of bodies that do not
know each other. Public dormitories where you sleep side by side for ever with beings you hate
or do not know. Reciprocal ferocity of the painters and sculptors who murder each other in the
same museum with blows of line and color. To make a visit once a year, as one goes to see the
graves of our dead once a year, that we could allow! We can even imagine placing flowers once
a year at the feet of the Gioconda! But to take our sadness, our fragile courage and our anxiety to
the museum every day, that we cannot admit! Do you want to poison yourselves? Do you want to
What can you find in an old picture except the painful contortions of the artist trying to
break uncrossable barriers which obstruct the full expression of his dream?
To admire an old picture is to pour our sensibility into a funeral urn instead of casting it
forward with violent spurts of creation and action. Do you want to waste the best part of your
strength in a useless admiration of the past, from which you will emerge exhausted, diminished,
trampled on?
Indeed daily visi …
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