Russolo's Metaphysics

Luciano Chessa

in Luigi Russolo, Futurist

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780520270633
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520951563 | DOI:
Russolo's Metaphysics

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Besant's and Leadbeater's theory of thought-forms was central to Russolo's formulation of his aesthetics; thoughts produce forms and project or irradiate them into the surrounding aura, thereby enveloping the body. The forms are visible to subjects in a particular state of trance, and they can be indirectly perceived by all whose auras are sufficiently near to the aura of the emitting individual. As Leadbeater and Besant claim in Thought-forms, sounds and noises, too, create forms visible to sensitive individuals. From this perspective, music can be considered a sort of “spiritual painting.” The point is important, not only because it provides a way to understand Russolo's eclecticism and his easy, synesthetic transition from painting to music, but also because the theory of sound (and noise) forms leads naturally to a reinterpretation of the art of noises as a spiritual operation. Such reinterpretation unveils the occult function of the intonarumori—machines that intone noises and above all permit enharmonic fluctuations, thus enabling the spiritualization and sanctification of brute matter (noise) which is being carried out by the energy of the artist-initiate.

Keywords: Luigi Russolo; aesthetics; Besant; Leadbeater; thought-forms; music; intonarumori; artist-initiate

Chapter.  5319 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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