Terrorist and avant-garde manifesto writing: Cultural modernity and the aesthetic will-to-terror

Bradshaw, Wayne (2015) Terrorist and avant-garde manifesto writing: Cultural modernity and the aesthetic will-to-terror. In: [Presented at TASA 2015: Neoliberalism and Contemporary Challenges for the Asia-Pacific]. From: TASA 2015: Neoliberalism and Contemporary Challenges for the Asia-Pacific, 23-26 November 2015, Cairns, QLD, Australia.

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Within both a political and artistic context, the act of writing a manifesto is a fundamentally radical and revolutionary one. The revolutionary ideology that underpins manifesto writing finds its origins in a combination of the writer’s rejection of existing institutional structures and the writer’s perception of repression at the hands of dominant cultural institutions. The paradigmatic cultural shifts that occurred across Europe during the Fin de Siècle served as a catalyst for the revolutionary forces that not only produced political and artistic manifestos, but gave birth to both the concept of terrorism as we understand it today and an aesthetic culture that is identifiable as modern. Critically, the century spanning from the second half of the nineteenth century to the mid twentieth century did not merely produce political modernity and cultural modernity in discrete circumstances but as dynamically entwined phenomena. The same members of the European intelligentsia who gathered in salons to discuss anarchist politics, and orchestrate the very first acts of modern terrorist violence were often the very same individuals that attended lectures on art, contributed to poetry journals and discussed, in the very same salons that they plotted violent political activities, a type of art that was just as radical and aimed to revolutionise the European cultural landscape. For decades the aesthetics of cultural modernity were bound to terrorist politics, first through direct contact but then through a kind of unconscious osmosis. From the anarchist and radical socialist sympathies of early Avant-garde movements like Symbolism and Surrealism through to the fascist leanings that lurk within Futurism, Imagism and Vorticism. The most intense points of the cross-pollination between terrorism and modernist art occur, as one might expect, at the point of the writing of the manifesto. The artistic manifestos that emerged from the late eighteen hundreds and beyond the Fin de Siècle amount to revolutionary performances, not against governments, but against a perceived cultural hegemony that is viewed by the writers as aesthetically bankrupt and which must be overturned; they amount to revolution against the Canon.

Item ID: 80450
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
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Copyright Information: © The Australian Sociological Association 2015.
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2023 23:37
FoR Codes: 47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4705 Literary studies > 470525 Other European literature @ 50%
50 PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES > 5002 History and philosophy of specific fields > 500207 History of ideas @ 50%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280116 Expanding knowledge in language, communication and culture @ 100%
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