reading notes from Pirate Utopia, Bruce Sterling

Futurism, the business of the future, is the act of telling stories about what’s next. Futurism, the movement, cofounded by F. T. Marinetti, was also, in its way, a story about blasting away the past and riding mad technology into fortune. Futurism was about speed, and machines, and, ultimately, blood and dirt. Marinetti’s epiphany was crashing his car into a ditch to avoid some cyclists, emerging from the pit as a man of the Future, hell-bent on changing the course of history, celebrating war and scrubbing the world clean of freedom. He and his weird crew of poet-seers worked hard to export their mad dreams of velocity and gore abroad. But it had the smell of blood and dirt about it

The Cosmist dream has yet to come true. The Futurist dream did. It was World War One.

It was a mad time. The sort of confluence that writers shake their heads dolefully at and intone, “If I’d tried to write that, people would never be able to suspend disbelief.” But seen from upstream, most previous times seem mad.

The Regency of Carnaro

Tarzan was the American version of a Nietzschean Overman. Tarzan was a superhuman anarchist, but since he lived in a jungle, he did not have to smash the State.

Secondari was a Fiume Revolutionary pirate. Therefore, he always wore black. He wore black jackboots, a thick black shirt, black puttees, and black jodhpur pantaloons. For special revolutionary occasions, Secondari had a black kepi hat, and a black cummerbund to wrap around his waist. Secondari had worn this all-black ensemble ever since joining the “Desperates.” He didn’t own any other form of clothing

The Revolution had been selling its exotic postage stamps to foreigners, ever since the anarchist liberation of September 1919. Along with drugs, jazz music, and easy divorce, the postage stamp racket was a way of scraping by. The Fiumans often used their postage stamps as their makeshift internal currency.

“Secondari’s Futurist fervor profoundly inspired the factory girls. Liberated by this swift change in their circumstances, they became eager factory pirates.

These female assembly workers found ways to re-purpose their factory tools, to illicitly copy the objects of their own desires. The girls happily banged out steel pots, pans, tableware, and kitchen stoves. They also redoubled their production of grenades and sea-mines”

The leaders of Occupied Fiume were poets and political radicals, but they had to notice so much innovation and initiative. Lieutenant Secondari and Frau Piffer were both well-rewarded. Secondari was made a gang-boss within the “Strike of the Hand Committee,” the fiercest pirate commandos of Fiume. Frau Piffer was transformed into a “Corporate Syndicalist,” and made the dictator of her factory.

Frau Piffer’s Futurist paramilitary outfit had dazzling zigzag lines in shades of Italian orange, white, and green, plus a shining silk sash heavy with bronze medallions.

yesterday’s issue of The Fiume Head of Iron

“I’m a Corporate Syndicalist nowadays,”

“In Turin, Italy’s national plans for flying torpedoes were gathering dust in the blueprint drawers of the War Ministry. Many brilliant Italian military innovations had been sadly doomed by the Armistice.

The new civilian government in Rome was weak, impoverished, and gutless. The civilians had mutilated Italy’s great victory during the Great War. They were trying to put the Great War behind them, instead of ahead of them, where it properly belonged”

secret agents of the Fiume “Strike of the Hand Committee”

The Anarcho-Syndicalist city-state would then own and brandish flying Futurist torpedoes

The Marxists were harmless fools. Just because a few Jews and Freemasons had seized Moscow, they imagined that Communism would rule the whole world some day.

“The Communists came here to kill all the Croats,” said Frau Piffer. “Because the Croats are Yugoslavs.”

“My pirates aren’t Yugoslav royalists, they’re Croatian nationalists! They hate Yugoslavia much more than you two little ladies do.”

Why was Fiume so like this, so full of minute, antlike struggle?

The Marxists recognized the trend, despite their belief in historical materialism. They ran away.

Armored flame-throwers. Pneumatic drills for mountain warfare. Great spidery heaps of disused radio antennas. So many awesome and efficient things that a stricken world had bent every possible effort to build, and then forgotten.

Only Heroic Supermen would defy the whole world from a modest Adriatic town called “Fiume.”

Fiume was the spiritual capital of the greatest event of the Twentieth Century.

Nietzsche had written his best works inside the city of Turin. Nietzsche was therefore the favorite philosopher of restless Turinese teenagers.

Being Piedmontese, Secondari understood the historical role of Piedmont in destroying Austro-Hungarian despotism. Members of his family had been fighting the Austrians for centuries.

“So he was dead in the Alps, with his soul floating outside his shattered mortal body.

However, the army medic within Secondari’s military unit was from Turin, just like himself. This gifted young doctor was a student of Turin’s greatest medical scientist: Cesare Lombroso.

Using Lombroso’s psychically advanced séance techniques—(for the first time ever employed on a battlefield)—this Turinese medic had contacted Secondari’s wandering soul. The doctor had restored the soul to Secondari’s still-warm corpse.”

in full, intimate contact with vast, swirling panoplies of mystical reality

He frequented the school’s library, where he sat alone, reading the latest English-language magazines, about popular science and popular mechanics. These American magazines had grown quite strange, since the Great War had ended. The Americans were full of plans to build personal radios, and plans to build personal airplanes. Nothing built for a king or a nation, everything built for one man.

Those who fired the weapons did not prosper. Those who built the weapons had done well by the Great War.

On September 12, 1919—a date as important as that of any great battle of the Great War—the Italian rebels had “deserted forward into the Future,” and invaded Fiume

Each precious page featured a stamped Latin motto, and a handsome woodcut of an Arditi dagger ripping the League of Nations to shreds.

The letter made it clear to Secondari that he had a Cause: the Future—and a role to play: the creation of a pirate utopia.

Revolutionary Fiume, the “Holocaust City,” the “River Inexhaustible,” was a city of writers.

Marinetti, Vecchi, Pedrazzi, Carli, Susmi, Mazzucatto, Miani, Coselchi…

Léon Kochnitzky

In the pirate utopia of Fiume, the Ace of Hearts was the greatest utopian pirate of all. He was the spymaster, the lord of secrets. The Ace of Hearts was a bandit artist. He broke civilized rules that lesser men could not dream of breaking.

“The foreign press corps was in attendance. Many of them had newsreel cameras. The foreign press adored the Prophet. His works were vividly newsworthy.

It was certainly worthy world news if the Prophet’s “Regency of Carnaro” could successfully manufacture naval torpedoes”

A crew of Revolutionary sailors dismounted the torpedoes from their wooden sledge. They rolled the long metallic cylinders, with many ceremonial flourishes, onto a flower-strewn pontoon dock. These sailors wore brand-new Regency of Carnaro uniforms—blue, white, and very angular, like costumes for aquatic harlequins.

Because it was a Balkan city, the city of Fiume abounded in inimical factions—more so even than a typical Italian city.

“The Mayor of Fiume was in attendance at the weapons test, along with his entire elected city council. The city councilors of Fiume were, without exception, prosperous and evil men.

The middle-aged leaders of the “Young Fiume” radicals had arrived within the bleachers. The “Sedi Riuniti” Socialist labor union, too. The Fiume Autonomist Party. The Chamber of Labor. The Apostolic Administrator of the Roman Catholic Church….”

In Fiume, there were more great world causes to fight about than there were men to represent them.

the dream-like, unlikely dress of a Carnaro Corporate Syndicalist.

“Lorenzo, what can we do about those worthless people of decency? There are always so many more of them than there are visionaries like us!”

“Of course! They are very good pirates, these Balkan people. My pirates aren’t fat gentlemen! They’re not bankers on a city council! They’re the ustashe, they’re the uscocchi, they are true Balkan pirates! So—once they’ve done what’s necessary here in Fiume, just give them a rifle, and a good horse, and fill their rotten teeth with gold! Send them back to their villages! They’ll be fine.”

“‘I possess what I give away.’ That’s what the Prophet always says to us, isn’t it? Well, fine! I will give myself away for our great Cause of Fiume. I’m willing to do it—if you kill the ruling class! Erase them! Liquidate them without pity. Build the new world on their bones! It’s the only way to make anything that’s fresh and clean! Do it! Then the Future is really yours. Otherwise, never!”

“All right. Give me command over every other industrial factory in this city. I want control of the tobacco factory, the paper factory, the shipyards, and the oil refinery, too. I’ll Syndicalize every one of them. I’ll kick out every fat bloodsucker who holds us back, with all their stupid laws and legal regulations. All the means of production must go directly to the pirate engineers.”

I don’t need a woman, I have no time for one. I only have time for the Future

Our Fiume Revolution is a Revolution of Love! Our Revolution is a great world rebellion about Youth, Love, and Music. That’s what makes our Prophet’s cause entirely different from all other revolutions

“The Prophet is a poet! He can’t build industries with his sonnets! No matter what reward a poet may give me, those rich bourgeois louts with their ballot boxes, they’ll just grab it all back! Capitalism must be smashed.”

We will steal their plans and blueprints. We will pirate the flying torpedo. We’ll build hundreds of them. Pirate torpedoes, with no legal rights, no patents, no permissions, and no mercy asked or given!

The Constitutionalist also took care to appear at the festivities. Carnaro’s greatest political theorist made no formal speech, but he simply mixed, in his friendly, persuasive fashion, directly with the workers.

“The Constitutionalist registered the workers to vote, and he explained to them that their Syndicate owned the factory. He told the working women that their factory was in the avant-garde of all world factories.

In the Regency of Carnaro, property would be owned by those who made the best use of property. Absentee financial ownership of factories would be entirely illegal. Only those who ran the means of production would own it.

Under the ingenious Constitution of the Regency of Carnaro, the ownership of property was determined entirely by judgements of its use-value. The State was divided into ten Corporations—including a Tenth Corporation of Supermen.

These ten republican corporations would jointly guide civil society, in a harmonious method, akin to the various sections of an orchestra.

The franchise was universal for all citizens of Carnaro, regardless of their race, creed, ethnicity, or color. Women had completely equal political rights, with equal pay as well. Unemployment was banished by decree. Fulfilling work in an atmosphere of beauty and creativity was guaranteed to all.”

The Hotel Europa was the best hotel in the city of Fiume, and therefore the watering hole of the Italian rebel officer corps. The Prophet and his writerly staff worked inside the Fiume City Hall. The Ace had chosen the Hotel Europa for the regime’s covert and underground activities.

the Milanese newspaper, People of Italy (Popolo d’Italia)

“Oh, yes. And Egypt is in full rebellion now, against the British Empire. So Cairo makes a splendid place for a Futurist dancing girl to hide from authorities. Our little fugitive is Valentine de Saint-Point, the author of the Manifesto of Futurist Lust. Did you ever read that?”

“Well, we can always get ourselves another newspaper editor,” said Secondari. “The world is full of writers who want to be editors. Just pick another one! Our Cause marches on.”

“Colonel House is sending us agents from the United States Secret Service. American spies are coming here. They want to discuss the suppression of Communism and also our local oil refinery.”

This is the Twentieth Century! We’ll never seize the Future by singing poems, with a guitar, from some gondola! Do we want a future Italy that’s some museum of antiquities? Italy, overrun with foreign honeymooners?”

The Ace of Hearts was the Fiume Revolution’s true genius. Because the Ace of Hearts was a living bomb of Twentieth Century radicalism. The Ace had shot down six aircraft in mortal combat, and yet he was a Mason, a mystic, a yogi, and a nudist; a forger, a wiretapper, a partaker of cocaine and marijuana; a philosophical anarchist with a superb devotion to music and free love.

‘Minister of Vengeance Weapons.’

“Oddly, very few of the women of Fiume seemed at all upset or surprised by this aspect of their Revolution. The women of Fiume simply drank in the Prophet’s honeyed words, much like the thousand women he had already seduced. The women of Fiume even seemed flattered by the trust he put in them. He had given them the vote, equal legal rights, and equal pay for equal work.

So the women of Fiume started businesses. They attended book clubs for women, and studied law and medicine, and even engineering. They ran for political offices, and became aviatrixes and radio talk-show hostesses. They were proud to be pioneering free women of the Twentieth Century.”

Constitutional Anarcho-Syndicalism. Under Anarcho-Syndicalism, financial ownership was banned by state decree. Private property could only be owned by syndicates of laborers. In short, Syndicalism meant taking everything from the rich, and giving everything to the technocrats and their work-forces.

“When he blandly told the rich that they were welcome to work as laborers within their own factories, they gazed at him in utter horror. They despaired and ran away. Then they plotted reprisals.

When the persecuted wealthy of Fiume realized that Secondari could not be bribed, or corrupted, or persuaded, or reasoned with, they tried to kill him.”

The wealthy elite of Fiume were certainly not Communists. But they were, in stark fact, a conspiratorial cell of anti-government subversives. So, once they were treated as Communists: jailed, ceaselessly interrogated, with all their papers seized, and denied any effective legal counsel; then Gigante, Grossich, Maylander, and Zanella simply crumbled in the dock.

“The Regency of Carnaro was a small but cruel nation, very much like the Balkan states that were its closest neighbors. Economically, the Regency was a free entrepôt. As a functional port, it worked about as well as most port cities within Italy did.

When it was stripped of its gorgeous symbols, its flags, flowers, and revolutionary rhetoric, its radio broadcasts and newsreels, its jackboot marches, its salutes, weird war cries and ceremonial mob scenes—seen very starkly, just as a realpolitik political machine—the Regency of Carnaro was a clique of armed, dissolute poets who robbed bankers, then distributed the means of production to labor unions.”

The Regency of Carnaro, as a small but nevertheless genuine nation, was no longer a revolutionary’s dream. The labor unions running the factories (renamed as “Syndicates”) were almost as incompetent as the capitalists had once been. Given genuine power over their own workplaces, the workers never worked very hard. They naturally preferred to grant themselves lavish health-care, free cafeterias, and long holidays.

Enrico Novelli

“Novelli’s broad lampoons and his bright, upbeat editorials (commonly about marvels of science) caught the eye of a fresh Italian audience. Novelli tirelessly promoted the Regency of Carnaro as an offshore art colony and an exotic tourist destination.

Through this softer, kindlier approach, Fiume’s tourist trade quickly boomed. First, Italians arrived, and then some French. Then came hordes of adventurous Americans, all laden with valuable dollars, flocking in to stare in awe at the strange bohemian goings-on.

Many of these Americans were Negro jazz musicians. The Negroes were startled to find themselves entirely welcome in Fiume as political refugees.”

“With the departure of Italian troops, globe-trotting foreign legionaries slunk into the town. These marauders crept in from every corner of the earth, for the news had spread that Carnaro could forge new passports. Carnaro loathed the very idea of world order. Extradition was unheard of.

So the refugee anarchists of the Bavarian Social Republic ventured to Carnaro. And the Hungarian Communists of Bela Kun came, too, and Gandhian mystics from the rebellious Congress of India. The Irish Republican Army were especially fond of Carnaro, now that their Easter Rebellion had become a bloody British civil war.

The people of Carnaro supported the Catalans, the Kurds, and the Flemish of Belgium. They sympathized with irredentist American Negroes in Harlem, especially those poetic souls who sought to return on Black Star ocean liners to Ethiopia.”

It was easy to see the poetic justice in the new world politics. The Serbs, through their own pirates, the “Black Hand” terrorist group, had started the holocaust of the Great War. The Great War of the Titans—reduced at last to its original struggle, among the Balkan pygmies—would end, finally, on Serbia’s own bloodstained soil

The Man Without Fear

Saint Vitus of Fiume

she was a sturdy, workaday, patchwork-and-polyglot little creature

We can’t just march into the city of Turin with our strange uniforms, and say we’re from the Regency of Carnaro, and we’re here to take the future away with us.

We will never be any bourgeois, legal family. But we can become a free syndicate of liberated people who unite in defiance of the Church and the State!

The Art Witch was a Milanese millionairess and ardent occultist. She was a fixture in the European radical art world. The Art Witch was so entirely weird and eldritch that even the Ace of Hearts, a fellow Milanese who was a yogi, a nudist, a vegetarian, and a pirate, could not bear the sight of her.

“Valentine came here to Fiume, just to help me liberate the World Anima from her bondage.”

“Dada. “They’re great artists from Paris and Zurich. Much more up-to-date than our former friend—that self-styled avant-gardiste—that pompous has-been, Signor Marinetti.”

“Signor Marinetti is a brave Italian soldier. Are they soldiers, these Dada friends of yours?”

“Oh yes, Lieutenant,” said the Art Witch. “They’re all ex-soldiers, every last one of them. And their leader is a soldier’s psychiatrist!”

“To fire a gun at random into a crowd,” said the Dancer of the Future, “is the ultimate artistic act of Dada.””

“Cocaine is a Vengeance Weapon,” Secondari explained. “So we need to restrict this valuable substance to those who have high-speed driving skills and weapons training.”

The Duke of Aosta

“Nothing had been said aloud. No arrangement had been formally announced. But the gesture was entirely legible.

The “Regency of Carnaro” was about to become a genuine Regency. There could be no other explanation for the Duke’s presence within the hall. The pirate utopia of Fiume was taking shelter under the millennium-long prestige of the Savoy Dynasty. The Future was safely in the gloved hands of the oldest royal line in the world.”

“The Prophet was disgusted. He was an Overman, and yet he was bored. Being an Overman, he had a vast, decadent, hapless, all-consuming, spiritual boredom. Although the triumph he had prophesied was coming to pass—a magnificent victory won, in the teeth of the entire League of Nations—the Prophet was unsatisfied. To prophesy was not to enjoy.

Now that he had won his victory, the Prophet looked as hollow as a rotten tree. He was no ruler. The Duke of Aosta was the ruler. In the shadow of a competent ruler, a Prophet was merely a poet. The Prophet was superhuman, and yet he was doomed.

The Prophet would end up even worse than Garibaldi had ended. He would be blind, weak, sick, surrounded by his decadent clutter, the plaything of his own female playthings. An almighty creature, but without any dignity. A much-respected hero, devoid of any self-respect.”

They had become a government. And yet no govern-ment—especially an Italian one—was ever really loved and obeyed. Every Italian government was nine-tenths charade

“Well, he’s the greatest wizard in our modern world,” said the cowboy with pride. “Because he’s a Twentieth-Century wizard. His feats are all done with Knowledge and Science.”

But we’re not that old-fashioned, cloak-and-dagger, European style of spy. Don’t think that of us, please. We’re much more like an Amateur Press Association

“Well, Houdini, and Bob, and me, we’re American patriots, of a new, progressive kind. Through our radio, magazines, and private newspapers, we’ve assembled a new movement of the people who share our vision of tomorrow. We’re some all-American engineers, scientists, and inventors, but mostly, well, we’re writers. We aim to help our country out of a bad pinch.”

Flying Aviator King of the Adriatic,

we have a plan to build an almighty Bomb That Will End All Bombs

““President Pershing will make Houdini the next Head of the American Secret Service. Just imagine what we’ll do against World Communism, with a man like Houdini calling the shots.”

“Tell me,” said Secondari.

“Oh, we have visionary plans cooking in our Manhattan Project. They’re half science, half fantasy, and all classified.” Lovecraft adjusted his steel-rimmed spectacles. “But I can reveal this to you, sir, and I think you’ll find it relevant: we use the scientific séance techniques of Dr. Cesare Lombroso as our military parapsychology.””

pep, dash, and vim

“In New York advertising circles, I’m known as a big-idea man. Your Regency of Carnaro is too small. That’s the problem. The Land of Opportunity is a place of cosmic proportions.”

““Imagine a city that experiments with the grain of the material.”

—Bruno Argento, 2008”

Socialist presidential candidate Eugene Debs, who Wilson’s government had imprisoned for speaking out against the war.

“all the great free peoples of the world to underwrite civilization.”

Given the wide variations among consensus reality’s histories of Fiume, Sterling’s speculative counterfactual proves a useful tool to divine deeper truths about this extravagant deviation from post-Westphalian convention that, when viewed from a century’s distance, proves to be an important lodestar of our own immanent tomorrows—and how we can go about rewriting them

“Compare that meager, mundane reality to the world you really desire,”

Rousseau’s revelation that human nature could be improved by redesigning the structure of society uncorked a few centuries of whiteboard utopias that managed to get beta-tested in real life, from Saint-Simon’s prescient visions of techno-meritocracy to Fourier’s communal phalanxes of work based on joy and Marx’s elusive communist paradise. These utopian postulates provided the aspirational dipole to Darwinian pragmatism and pushed Western societies in the long-term pursuit of an idealized tomorrow. But the mechanized violence of the twentieth century, the corrupt failure of the Soviet experiment, and the quotidian demands of capital extinguished the aurora of those ideas, leaving us a “politics practiced as a branch of advertising” whose pretenses of diversity mask a resigned nihilism and the exhaustion of hope.

Turinese scrittore di fantascienza Bruno Argento

It’s like telling people in Austin about Colonel [Edward M.] House, who basically ran the U.S. Government while Woodrow Wilson was demented by a stroke. House lived in Austin.

The Strike of the Hand Committee was very much a smash-and-grab-style organization. They stole tons of stuff: entire ships, herds of horses, diesel fuel, weaponry, all kinds of things.

The Biplanes of D’Annunzio [by Luca Masali]

Sterling: Within Fiume people referred to D’Annunzio as Il Vate, which is sort of the Prophetic Poet. D’Annunzio liked to rename people, and there was this atmosphere of unreality that came from living in the D’Annunzio orbit. Everything was sort of super-eloquent and kind of renamed. So if you were one of the pirates, the Fiume pirates, you were known as Uskoki. Nobody had any idea what the hell that was. The Uskoki were fifteenth-century Christian Adriatic pirates who had fought the Moslems of the Ottoman Empire. D’Annunzio, a super well-read guy, knew this, so he’s rounding up all his men and coming up with these bizarre rituals, many of which have, of course, been forgotten, but some of which became super-influential. The Roman fascist salute was invented in Fiume by D’Annunzio. “We’re not gonna salute the way we did during the war, we’re going to salute in the old-fashioned Roman way,” and they’re like, “Okay, Vate! Anything else?” “Yeah! Instead of saying ‘Hip-hip-hooray,’ we’re going to say ‘Eia, eia, alalà,’” and the fascists ended up shouting this all the time. Certain fascist theme songs were invented in Fiume, like “Giovinezza,” which is the famous fascist marching song. A lot of the leaders of the fascist group, including Mussolini, matriculated in Fiume. They would hang out there, do drugs, have sex, and soak up some fascist ideology. Marconi got a divorce in Fiume. It was a funny place. It was like Batista Cuba in some ways: everything was legal; everything was permitted.

my alter-ego, Bruno Argento. I also have a Serbian alter-ego writer of fantastyka, who’s called Boris Srebro.

So my story “Kiosk,” which is set in a future Belgrade, is a Boris Srebro story

But this particular story, Pirate Utopia, is actually kind of a Boris Srebro/Bruno Argento mash-up, because it’s about Yugoslavia and Italy at the same time.

Sterling: If you’re in Italy, Tex looms very large; he’s all over the place, so yeah, this is Italy appropriating stuff from Texas. Even though Tex Willer actually lives in Arizona, it’s not much of an Arizona: spaceships, giant rattlesnakes, Aztec mummies, all the cool fumetti fantasy elements you could possibly want. Fumetti are very powerful within the Italian fantasy tradition. I mean, fantascienza is not exactly equivalent to SF. It doesn’t convey the exact same social function that science fiction does within American society. Fantascienza really is a kind of science fantasy, and it appeals to elements of Italian popular culture that cut through reality at a somewhat different angle.

The Roman Connettivismo is much more into cyberpunk than the Milanese guys, so as a Turinese writer, I’m now trying to branch out and do some work which is more Roman, and that’s surprisingly hard for me.

“Fascism does have the appeal of science fiction in some ways. As Norman Spinrad pointed out when he wrote his Iron Dream many years ago, which was about Hitler as a small-scale sci-fi writer, there’s this brotherly feeling between certain kinds of political ecstatic cult politics and the “sense of wonder” of reality-bending in science fiction. They both supply a lot of crypto-religious loftiness of “What if it’s really like that?” and “What if we could really…” and then it jumps to “Italians, you have your empire!”

This awesomeness covers a lot of political shabbiness.”

When you study how fascism was actually carried out as a practice, there was this massive, ecstatic life with the huge rallies and the flowers and the sacrifice and the noble fall and the martial ardor and all that, but at the same time fascism was really a grimy little favor-driven society. It was not a prosperous society. You really had to depend on the party boss to get you all kinds of favors, and to get your children educated, to buy a house. You had to ingratiate yourself with this one-party state. There was this tremendous loftiness on one scale and on another there was this pathetic, grimy quality that robbed people of dignity. These two aspects feed off of one another in a remarkable way.

Sterling: It was about nuclear disarmament talks where all of the nuclear disarmament stuff is actually Cthulhu mythos horrors. It was called “The Unthinkable.”

He’s influential in a lot of ways. People make fun of him, but for the wrong reasons. They don’t understand why someone like Michel Houellebecq would write about Lovecraft and take Lovecraft very seriously. Houellebecq is probably the most prominent French novelist working right now and a big Lovecraft devotee. He’s written scholarly works about Lovecraft from a very metaphysical point of view. It’s all on Cosmic Horror, and the emptiness of this, that, and the other.

Fascism is an attempt to make politics metaphysical and poetic that actually ends up creating a lot of crippling difficulties for people in their everyday lives.

Why is Rijeka like Rijeka?

Our politics have lost touch with conventional reality.

Depero’s print work extended to radical page layouts (the Futurists eagerly trampled on several centuries of Italian typesetting tradition) which he presented in Depero Futurista (1927), a book whose heavy card covers were bound together with a pair of brashly utilitarian nuts and bolts.

Fortunato Depero

a children’s book, Ipergenio il disinventore (1925) by Giovanni Bertinetti

Gabriele D’Annunzio (The Prophet) via Philippe Jullian’s biography

he remarkable Marchesa Casati, a woman whose vast fortune was disbursed in part by commissioning portraits from every artist she met

The Art Witch [Luisa Casati]: a Milanese millionairesse, patroness of the arts, and occultist,

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