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151 Spirals On November 1, 1913, Lacerba published Russolo’s article “Conquista totale dell’enarmonismo mediante gli intonarumori futuristi” (Total conquest of enharmonism through the futurist intonarumori). In it Russolo defines his first two works, Risveglio di Capitale and Convegno d’automobili e d’aeroplani, as reti (networks) of noises. A few months later, on March 1, 1914, Lacerba published his “Grafia enarmonica per gl’intonarumori futuristi” (Enharmonic notation for the futurist intonarumori), which includes the two famous pages taken from Risveglio di una città (notice the change in title); here, too, Russolo still called his composition a rete di rumori (network of noises) (fig. 20). The term réseaux, the French equivalent of reti, had made its first appearance in a September 1913 promotional article by Russolo that Marinetti had distributed to the French press. In this article, Russolo referred to the four compositions premiered in the preview concert for the press in Milan on August 11, 1913, as quatre premiers réseaux des bruits (four first networks of noises).1 This use of the term derives from Marinetti. In his technical manifesto of futurist literature of May 11, 1912, Marinetti defined as “narrow networks” a series of images and analogies in which each is “condensed, collected into an essential word” and placed one after the other “to envelop and grasp all that is most fleeting and elusive in matter.” Marinetti here describes objects and the sum of sensations—the confused simultaneous whole of associations—that their motion produces in us.2 Chapter 8 The Spirali di Rumori Figure 20. Luigi Russolo, musical example from Risveglio di una città (1913), from the article “Grafia enarmonica per gl’intonarumori futuristi” Lacerba (March 1, 1914). 154 . the art of noises and the occult Networks was an early designation. In his 1916 The Art of Noises, Russolo refers to his pieces as spirali di rumori (spirals of noises), without explaining why he had changed his terminology from reti to spirali.3 In truth, the designation spirali di rumori for Russolo’s compositions had appeared in 1913: on a poster designed for the Galleria Sprovieri in Rome, advertising that on December 27, 1913, “Russolo will perform the spiral Zum Zum Taratrà.”4 Both terms—reti and spirali— refer to the chaotic and dynamic simultaneity of sonic events in Russolo’s compositions and thus imply a form of concentration of chaos into unity. But though they were used synonymously, the term spiral is more charged with occult and synesthetic allusions than network , and it immediately transports the hearer into the sinuous, enharmonic line of La musica. The term spiral was also rich with alchemical suggestions, as confirmed by its appearance in the novel L’ellisse e la spirale (1915) by Paolo Buzzi.5 Gino Severini even evoked it to portray Russolo’s manners, describing them as “subtle, almost spiralic.”6 From a topological point of view, the spiral has two trajectories: in one direction the line extends toward the infinite, in the other the infinite concentrates to a point.7 This first motion is centrifugal and seems to refer to the “exploded” shape of the world in its complex variety (think of a Big Bang); the second, centripetal, symbolizes a process of creation carried out with a concentration of energy from external forces into a single point. Nomen Omen: the spiralic sonic concentration achieved by an orchestra of intonarumori can be considered another level in the experiment of creating life through the intonarumori, a spiritual re-creation of the world first as simultaneous and multiform chaos, and then as substantial cosmological unity.8 During the execution of the spirali di rumori, an entire orchestra of intonarumori aimed at realizing the aesthetic/ontological ideals of simultaneity and dynamism to which futurism aspired. The concept of “simultaneity”—first introduced as simultaneity of states of mind by the futurist painters in the preface to the catalogue for the exhibitions of 1912—designated the overcoming of classical perspective through a multiplicity of perspectives overlapped in an optical-mnemonic synthesis “of what one remembers and what one sees.”9 The catalog states: Perspective as it is understood by the majority of painters has for us the same value that they attribute to a project of engineering. The simultaneity of states of mind in the work of art: here is the intoxicating aim of our art. The Spirali di Rumori . 155 Let us explain ourselves further through examples. When we paint a person on a balcony seen from within, we...


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