Futurism and Photography: Between Scientific Inquiry and Aesthetic Imagination

in Futurism and the Technological Imagination
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Abstract

Trying to analyse the connections between Futurism and the technological imagination is not an easy task. It is made even more difficult when taking into consideration the technological medium of photography, and in particular, the specific type of Futurist photography called ‘Photodynamism’. These images promoted the idea of a dynamic world influenced by technology and as such became a metadiscourse on the medium of photography. Futurism and Photodynamism, however, proved to be a difficult union due to some Futurist painters’, and in particular Umberto Boccioni’s aversion to this technological medium. Photodynamism did not enjoy the same successful fate as conventional photography which profited from Kodak’s promotional slogan: ‘You press the button, we do the rest’. Despite this, it is indeed through Photodynamism, and in particular, photodynamic portraits, that it is possible to identify an element of continuity that runs from Futurism to the present day. As an example of this revival of Futurist photography I shall discuss at the end of this chapter Italian NetFuturism, developed mostly on the Internet and sharing with the historic movement of Futurism a struggle against artistic conventions and a demand for a fusion of art and life.

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