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Dmitriy Nikolaev - Muteness or the language of liberated humankind


Sound poetry of Russian Futurists.

Producer - Dmitriy Nikolaev

Music arranged by Julia Dmitriukova.

Recording engineer - Andrey Zachesov.

Cast : Olga Sirina, Ludmila Shuyskaya, Igor Vetrov, Alexander Tereshko.

Concept and the script.

At the beginning of the century a group of young poets, artists, composers got together to find new sense and role of Art in the society.

They saw how art overloaded with the ballast of classical heritage was sinking in the sea of petite bourgeoisie interests. The futurists rejected the role of an artist serving the public as a footman and a lackey. The public that had main demand:" Let me see beauty like on the stage of Bolshoy ballet".

The futurists didn’t want to be servants but creators of new Art, new world and new universe. New sound language - "language of the liberated humankind", based not on the meaning of the word, but on its sounding, was supposed to be the first step towards the Future.

imageMuteness or the language of liberated humankind - 23:10

Script Part 1: Creation of new language.

1. Muteness- sound montage.

2. Sound of the first human object in space - radio signals of Soviet sputnik, rec. in 1957, tape.

3. Vladimir Mayakovskiy: "Listen, if somebody lights the stars - that means somebody needs the stars...", rec in 1925, phonograph.

4. Baby tries to speak.

5. Languages - sound montage.

6. Sound poetry of Alexey Kruchonyh, Elena Guro, Kasimir Malevitch, Velemir Khlebnikov, rec. 1996, ADAT.

New language was supposed to reform all kinds of arts, even such traditional, as an opera. "Victory Over the Sun", libretto by Àlexey Kruchonyh and Velemir Khlebnikov, music by Matushin, stage design by Kazimir Malevitch became a manifesto of struggle against petite bourgeoisie in the field of art.

Script Part 2: Victory Over the Sun.

1. "Petite bourgeoisie" episode from the opera. Music restored arranged and performed on MIDI station by J.Dmitriukova, rec. 1996, ADAT.

2. Traditional music, rec. Pathephone 1926. & futurists’ pieces from the opera, rec 1996, ADAT.

The new aesthetics alone is not capable to change the life on earth. The iron rails of technical progress leads humankind into the future. The futurists failed in love with the machines. They heard new music in the clatter of steam trains and factories. Clang of metal pretended to be new harmony of spheres.

"The Factory" by Mosolov became, probably, the most successful realisation of these ideas.

Script Part 3: Poetry of the Machines.

1. Verses of A.Kruchonyh and V.Khlebnikov accompanied by the noise of machines. Rec. 1996, ADAT.

2. Start of the first man to space, communication between J.Gaganin and guiding centre at the moment of the start, rec. 12 April 1961, tape.

3. The first Soviet recording of "The Factory" in Moscow, rec. late 1950s, tape.

Over the music voices:

Vladimir Mayakovskiy, rec.in 1925, Moscow.

Semen Kirsanov (futurist poet of younger generation) reads V.Khlebnikov, rec. beginning of 1950s, Moscow.

Alexey Kruchonyh, rec. 1949, Moscow.

Roman Jacobson reads poem of Khlebnikov, rec. beginning of 1950s, the USA.

The First World War had made the futurists to realise that technical development without social progress leads to a slaughter. Some of them with their own bones and lungs experienced the impact of scientific achievements turned into shrapnel shells and poisoning gases.

Way into the future lies through the social progress. The futurists perceived Bolshevik revolution in Russia as a big bang which precedes to the new universe. With the enormous enthusiasm they became to contribute to a new socialist culture.

Script Part 4: Catastrophes.

1. Russian perception of word "WAR" in various languages, rec. 1996, ADAT.

2. "Bully" piece from "Victory Over the Sun" Sound poem with one understandable line: "Keep your arms before dinner, after dinner, and while eating buckwheat mush."

3. Text by Kruchonyh, rec. 1996, ADAT.

4. War - sound montage.

5. Anthem of Russian Empire. "God Save the Tsar"

6. "Dance of revolutionary sailors" from the first post revolutionary ballet "Red Poppy" by Glier.

7. Factory and ship sirens.

8. Lenin’s speech, rec. 1920, Moscow, Red square, phonograph.

9. Speech of K.Voroshilov (marshal of Red army during Civil War), Moscow, phonograph. #7 and # 8 mixed.

10. A crowd sings "International", rec. 1920, Moscow, Red square, phonograph

11. Cold wind.

12. A.Kruchonyh reads sound poem "Winter - bloodless murder", rec. 1949, tape.

13. Verses by A.Kruchonyh, E.Guro, K. Malevitch accompanied by music of typing machine and MIDI station, rec. 1996, ADAT.

However Futurists’ love with the Bolsheviks was unshared. At the beginning 30s the futurists were out of the Soviet literature of "socialist realism". What the authorities needed were not complicated experiments, but simple glorification of Stalin’s regime. The futurists were doomed to the muteness. Before 1931 the poet Alexey Kruchonyh had published more than 30 books. After 1931 and before his death in late 1960s he had not published a line. To Alexey Kruchonyh the authors dedicate this piece.

Part 5: The End.

1. Parade on the Red Square, 7 November 1936, rec. tape. "Long live our beloved, the greatest Bolshevik from all Bolsheviks, comrade Stalin! Hurrah!"

2. Distortion.

3. Unfinished verses and rumpled and torn paper.

4. Baby trying to articulate words.

5. Muteness - sound montage.

6. Typewriting. --- THE END ---

Dmitriy Nikolaev

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