Luigi Russolo, Futurist: Noise, Visual Arts, and the Occult
Italian Futurist painter and composer Luigi Russolo (1885-1947), best-known for authoring the 1913 manifesto The Art of Noises (public library) and regarded as the first noise artist, is the father of the first systematic poetics of noise. He Russolo played a crucial role in the evolution of 20th-century musical aesthetics and influenced such music icons as Edgar Varese, Pierre Schaeffer, and John Cage. He was also one of the first theorists of electronic music and is even considered by some the inventor of the synthesizer. Yet despite enormous interest in his work, Russolo’s life remained largely unexamined — until now.
Here, composer and San Francisco Conservatory music history professor Luciano Chessa reconstructs Russolo’s life through ambitious archival research, uncovering and digesting esoteric and obscure texts to reverse-engineer how the artist’s eccentric interests influenced his creative output — namely an interest in the supernatural and, more specifically, in the occult.