Creative Synesthesia: The Sound of Speed. By Mariella Barrella

Filippo Tomasso Marinetti, was capable of drastically changing how people view art. But not only how they view it, he was capable of making you feel it, hear it and even smell it. After a car crash he had, Marinetti was inspired by speed. He knew that artistic forms had to adapt this new era of machinery and technological innovations. After writing “The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism,” he was able to inspire many Italian artists like Giacomo Balla with his “Development of X speed”, to maintain a main focus in speed, future, and moving forward. Every futuristic painting has a sound to it, of bursting motors and tires skidding.

"Words in Freedom" Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Zang Tumb Tumb, 1914
“Words in Freedom” Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Zang Tumb Tumb, 1914

It was not until 1914 with his poetry book “Zang Tumb Tumb”, where he put a mark on graphic design attacking traditional book typography. What Marinetti was capable of doing, was creating a master piece using words, that may not have much sense together but the way they look represented movement and sounds. Like if you were watching an old cartoon, Tom and Jerry, where the music variates with the speed of the characters. That’s what I perceive with this combination of letters in different sizes. I look at them as characters chasing each other around the book cover, fallowed by an orchestra. It makes sense ones one actually takes a look to what it is being said, and reads in the middle of the book “Parole in Libertà” which means words of freedom.

Marinetti was able to represent Synesthesia with his work, giving an alternation of sounds in the mind of the viewer, like if the small letters where being chased by the big letters. I compare “Zang Tumb Tumb”, to a famous chasing scene of Tom and Jerry; where the orchestral piece combines suspense with small and delicate sounds, while the violins build up increasing; Until the climax, when the chasing starts, the cellos, violins and piano, show the unlimited speed of Jerry being chased by Tom. The incorporation of a car skidding and crashing, at the end in the orchestral piece, is much like how Marinetti saw Futurism.

Work Reference

Ostashevsky, E. Italian Futursism and the Cult of the Machine. Accessed Feb,     12,2018.

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