This is the year Milano celebrate their avant-garde, the Futurists.
The ‘rising city’ does so presenting a flamboyant selection of events and exhibitions dedicated to the centenary of this ‘rebellious, visionary avant-garde movement.’
You went to see it, spent the day in the fast-paced northern Italian centre, famous for its fashion hothouses, and on the way you stumbled upon more recent anarchic history.
Futurists always fascinated you, mostly due to some sort of ‘cultural pride’ in a movement coming out from where you’re from (or close enough) and anyway you were alwaysx puzzled and filled with admiration for this bunch of cultural workers who singled themselves out of apathy, and with nerve and loud media stunts placed themselves as a much needed phoenix in the artistic reality of the turn-of the century newly-born Italy (Italy was unified under a single ruler only 50 years earlier).
You also never really understood the mechanics of such a re-shuffle of social priorities and how it became a precursor for the totalitarian state that followed, the Fascist regime.
The all-encompassing exhibition at the Palazzo Reale did it for you.
An impressive display of material from all over the places with a very wide spanning focus, from paintings to sculptures (obviously) to theater sets and costumes, pottery and design items, architecture and photography, sound and moving image.
What you never really grasped was the importance within the movement of defined rules.
Manifesto after manifesto, starting from the original Marinetti’s in 1909, the self-claimed hygienist of culture dictated how to define true avant-garde products, naming themselves as the ONLY ones who could tell and show the way, and the criteria of the way to do it.
As in “me, Billy and John are the new truth, and the only way you can tell truth from now on is by doing what me, Billy and John tell you to do”.
On the way to the exhibition you stumbled upon a memento in Piazza Fontana, to Giuseppe Pinelli. He too was a self-claimed anarchist.
He only got famous when tragically died while interrogated by the forze dell’ordine (collectively, Police, Carabinieri, and various other law enforcing structures of Itlay). He famously fell from the window.
Dario Fo’ wrote a famous play less then a year later about the event, Accidental Death of an Anarchist.
Pinelli died in 1969, and this is also the year of his anniversary.