In 1911, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti penned his Manifesto of Futurism. In my opinion, if there was ever a group of non-synesthete artists who pushed the boundaries of synesthetic arts, it was Marinetti and his Futurist colleagues such as Luigi Colombo Fillìa, Enrico Prampolini, and Giacomo Balla. They were known chiefly for staging grand banquets (see Marinetti 1989 (1932)). Marinetti’s intent was to have all the senses (he counted five) employed in interactive synesthetic ecstasy.
The Futurists composed a manifesto regarding painting:
«We Futurists therefore claim that in bringing the elements of sound, noise and smell to painting we are opening fresh paths. We have already taught artists to love our essentially dynamic modern life with its sounds, noises and smells, thereby destroying the stupid passion for values which are solemn, academic, serene, hieratic and mummified: everything purely intellectual, in fact. Imagination without strings, words-in-freedom, the systematic use of onomatopoeia, antigraceful music without rhythmic quadrature, and the art of noises—these were created by the same Futurist sensibility that has given birth to the painting of sounds, noises and smells.
«It is indisputably true that (1) silence is static and sounds, noises and smells are dynamic; (2) sounds, noises and smells are nothing but different forms and intensities of vibration; and (3) any succession of sounds, noises and smells impresses on the mind an arabesque of form and color. We must measure this intensity and perceive these arabesques.
«The painting of sounds, noises and smells rejects:
- All muted colors, even those obtained directly and without using tricks like patinas and glazes.
- The banality of those velvets, silks and flesh tints which are too human, too refined, too soft, and flowers which are too pale and drooping.
- Greys, browns and all muddy colors.
- The use of pure horizontal and vertical lines, and all other dead lines.
- The right angle, which we consider passionless.
- The cube, the pyramid and all other static shapes.
- The unities of time and place.
«The painting of sounds, noises and smells calls for:
- Reds, rrrrreds, the rrrrrreddest rrrrrrreds that shouuuuuuut.
- Greens, that can never be greener, greeeeeeeeeeeens that screeeeeeam, yellows, as violent as can be: polenta yellows, saffron yellows, brass yellows.
- All the colors of speed, of joy, of carousings and fantastic carnivals, of fireworks, cafe-chantants and music-halls; all colors seen in movement, colors experienced in time and not in space.
- The dynamic arabesque, which is the sole reality created by the artist in the depths of his feeling.
- The clash of all the acute angles, which we have already called the angles of will.
- Oblique lines which fall on the observer like so many bolts from the blue, along with lines of depth.
- The sphere, the ellipse that spins, the upside-down cone, the spiral and all the dynamic forms which the infinite powers of an artist’s genius are able to uncover.
- Perspective obtained not as the objectivity of distances but as a subjective interpenetration of hard and soft, sharp and dull forms.
- As a universal subject and as the sole reason for a painting’s existence: the significance of its dynamic construction (polyphonic architectural whole). Architecture is usually thought of as something static; this is wrong. What we have in mind is an architecture similar to the dynamic musical architecture achieved by the Futurist musician Pratella. Architecture is found in the movement of colors, of smoke from a chimney, and in metallic structures, when they are experienced in a violent, chaotic state of mind.
- The inverted cone (the natural shape of an explosion), the slanting cylinder and cone.
- The collision of two cones at their apexes (the natural shape of a water spout) with flexible or curving lines (a clown jumping, dancers).
- The zig-zag and the wavy line.
- Ellipsoidal curves considered as straight lines in movement.
- Lines and volumes seen as plastic transcendentalism, that is, according to their characteristic degree of curvature or obliqueness, determined by the painter’s state of mind.
- Echoes of lines and volumes in movement.
- Plastic complementarism (for both forms and colors), based on the law of equivalent contrasts and on the opposite poles of the spectrum. This complementarism derives from an imbalance of forms (which are hence forced to move) The consequent elimination of the complements of volumes. We must reject these because like a pair of crutches they allow only a single movement, forward and backward, and not the total movement that we call spherical expansion in space.
- The continuity and simultaneity of the plastic transcendency of the animal mineral, vegetable and mechanical kingdoms.
- Abstract plastic wholes, corresponding not to our sight but to the sensations which derive from sounds, noises, smells and all the unknown forces that surround us» (Carrà: 1913).