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Luigi Russolo, Futurist: Noise, Visual Arts, and the Occult Paperback – March 31, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"In the spirit of the project, a review of it could simply read (to paraphrase a portmanteau word made up by Futurist Giacomo Balla in 1920): Chessa splendidwavesintonednoiseswordsluminousssss!"
(The Wire 2012-06-11)

“The most comprehensive source of Russolo available in English.”
( 2012-05-14)

“Reconciles Russolo’s artistic temperament, spiritual awakenings, and philosophical entanglements.”
(Performa Magazine 2012-06-25)

“Luciano Chessa reconstructs Russolo’s life through ambitious archival research, uncovering . . . how the artist’s eccentric interests influenced his creative output.”
(Maria Popova 2012-04-30)

From the Inside Flap

“Luigi Russolo is increasingly being recognized as an important figure in 20th century art and music, and his work deserves to be better understood. Chessa’s archival research and readings of esoteric or otherwise little-known texts are impressive, and he offers a convincing account of the influence of the occult on Russolo and the Futurists in general. This book alters our conception of Russolo, Futurism, and the early artistic avant-garde.”—Christoph Cox, Hampshire College

“This book is timely, and merits the attention of a wider audience. Luigi Russolo, futurista makes a compelling argument that radically revises our views on a major creative figure of the twentieth century. Luciano Chessa provides vast amounts of information on the ideas and trends that influenced the Futurists, and offers a wealth of insight and observations that point the way for further research on avant-garde music and art in the twentieth century.”—Paul DeMarinis, Department of Art and Art History, Stanford University

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (March 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520270649
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520270640
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,690,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Luciano Chessa's book, 'Luigi Russolo, Futurist: Noise, Visual Arts and the Occult is as of this writing the only book available about the Italian futurist composer other than the composer's writings themselves. I purchased this book with a sense of excitement having read about Russolo (1885-1947) in various references in books on 20th century music and being puzzled as to why this subject had not been dealt with in any real detail.

Well that is now no longer the case. Chessa's book, published in March of this year fills this scholarly musicological gap quite well. The book provides a comprehensive picture of the cultural milieu of the Italian Futurist movement embracing visual as well as musical arts as it developed in the early twentieth century prior to, during and after the first world war and into the second.

The cultural milieu was heavily steeped in the Theosophy movement, an exploration of various ecstatic and esoteric spiritual practices which flourished as the practice of Spiritualism was waning in popularity. Both practices shared an interest in the after life but Theosophy was perhaps more comprehensive as adherents explored various eastern religions and practices in search of answers about consciousness before, during and after life itself as well as the interactions between the material and the spiritual. Both Spiritualism and Theosophy along with the immediate thought content philosophical theories of Henri Bergson (1859-1941) informed the futurists as they, along with the rest of society began to explore the impact and implications of the industrial revolution and discoveries like electric light, recording machines, x-rays and radio.
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