“We affirm that the beauty of the world has been enriched by a new form of beauty: the beauty of speed. A racing car with a hood that glistens with large pipes resembling a serpent with explosive breath … a roaring automobile that seems to ride on grapeshot that is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace.”
F. T. Marinetti, The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism
From as early as Marinetti’s Manifesto from 1909, the avant-garde has been drawn to speed and acceleration, and in the case of Italian Futurism, willing to tear down anything that stands in its way. In this session, Bradley Tuck will interview Benjamin Noys about his 2013 book Malign Velocities, which charts the darker history of the avant-garde, focusing on its embrace of the cult of speed, technology and capitalism. Tracing the story through Italian futurism, communist accelerationism following the Russian Revolution, fantasies of integration with the machine, the cyberpunk phuturism of the ‘90s and ‘00s, the apocalyptic accelerationism of the post-2008 moment of crisis, and the negative form of terminal accelerationism. Drawing upon a miasma of references, Benjamin Noys critically challenges this tradition, calling instead for a new politics that challenges the supposed pleasures of speed without simply countering acceleration with the desire to slow down.
Benjamin Noys is Professor of Critical Theory at the University of Chichester and author of books such as The Persistence of the Negative (2010) and Malign Velocities: Accelerationism and Capitalism (2013).