The Futurist Manifesto of 1909 and the Surrealist Manifesto of 1925 both demonstrated a radical turn from the desired 19th century social standing of workers and intelligentsia. Written first in Bologna Italy prior to World War I, the Futurist Manifesto promoted the new speed of machinery, activism of people in revolts and revolutions, and overall economic and social modernism taken place in the early part of the century. The short Surrealist’s piece was backing many of the personal rights that surrealists were previously not allowed to have. They advocate for a significantly more open society in return for much safer and close knit family units.
The Futurist Manifesto is full of similar ideas to the Surrealist Manifesto but goes beyond the threshold of understandable, and into a poorly thought out and self contradictory state of affairs. Whereas the Futurist Manifesto promulgates an intense individual response close to anarchism of the socially literate elite, it also promotes an extreme labor approach. Embracing poetry, violence including war, and a demolition of state institutions, the Futurists also embrace mass politics and mass consumption. They dislike capitalism as the Surrealists dislike moral authority above them. Interestingly this work authored in Bologna, long famed as the most communist based city in all of Italy (as well as one of the most prominent and largest universities), is key to understanding where the basis of this work is derived from. The pro worker and intelligentsia aspects of the Futurist Manifesto are beautifully representative of the pre war social discontent that followed so quickly into the new Europe. In comparison the Surrealists’ documents greatly avoid the workers and the illiterate. Overall the Surrealists agree with many of the social issues distributed by the socialists on individualism, arts, and they are less in revolt but similarly prompt the citizens with revolution neither being a poor idea.
While these documents have somewhat different ideas about present man and mans’ future the most important question must be why? Why in 1909 does a revolutionary thesis of this magnitude come from? Also, after the thirteen years and a world war between the two pieces how do they follow from one another? How does the war affect the Surrealist movement that never affected the pre war Futurists movement?