The Bread & Puppet "Cheap Art Manifesto"
"Thank you, Francis!"
by Francis Picabia
One must become acquainted with everybody except oneself; one must not know which sex one belongs to; I do not care whether I am male or female, I do not admire men more than I do women. Having no virtue, I am assured of not suffering from them. Many people seek the road which can lead them to their ideal: I have no ideal; the person who parades his ideal is only an arriviste. Undoubtedly, I am also an arriviste, but my lack of scruples is an invention for myself, a subjectivity. Objectively it would consist of awarding myself the légion d'honneur, of wishing to become a minister or of plotting to get into the Institute! Well, for me, all that is shit!
What I like is to invent, to imagine, to make myself a new man every moment, then forget him, forget everything. We should be equipped with a special eraser, gradually effacing our works and the memory of them. Our brain should be nothing back a blackboard, or white, or better, a mirror in which we would see ourselves for a moment, only to turn our back on it two minutes later. My ambition is to be a man sterile for others; the man who set himself up as a school disgusts me, he gives his gonorrhea to artists for nothing and sells it as clearly as possible to amateurs. Actually, writers, painters, and other idiots have passed on the word to fight against the 'monsters', monsters who, naturally, do not exist, who are pure inventions, of man.
Artists are afraid; they whisper in each other's ears about a boogey man which might well prevent them from playing their dirty little tricks! No age, I believe, has been more imbecilic than ours. These gentlemen would have us believe that nothing is happening anymore; the train reversing its engines, it seems, is very pretty to look at, cows are no longer enough! The travelers to this backward Decanville are named: Matisse, Morandi, Braque, Picasso, Léger, de Segonzac, etc., etc. ... What is funniest of all is that they accept, as stationmaster, Louis Vauxcelles, whose great black napkin contains only a foetus!
Since the war, a ponderous and half-witted sentiment of morality rules the entire world. The moralists never discern the moral facts of appearances, the Church for them is a morality like the morality of drinking water, or of not daring to wash one's ass in front of a parrot! All that is arbitrary; people with morals are badly informed, and those who are informed know that the others will not inform themselves.
There is no such thing as a moral problem; morality like modesty is one of the greatest stupidities. The asshole of morality should take the form of a chamber-pot, that's all the objectivity I ask of it.
This contagious disease called morality has succeeded in contaminating all of the so-called artistic milieux; writers and painters become serious people, and soon we shall have a minister of painting and literature; I don't doubt that there will be still more frightful assininities. The poets no longer know what to say, so some are becoming Catholics, others believers; these men manufacture their little scribblings as Félix Potin does his cold chicken preserves; people say that Dada is the end of romanticism, that I am a clown, and they cry long live classicism which will save the pure souls and their ambitions, the simple souls so dear to those afflicted by dreams of grandeur!
However, I don not abandon the hope that nothing is finished yet, I am here, and so are several friends who have a love of life, a life we do not know and which interests us for that very reason.
originally published in Littérature, new series no. 8, Paris, January 1923 as 'Francis Merci!'
"the radical artists' manifesto"
by arp, baumann, eggeling, giacometti, helbig, henning, janco, morach, richter
11th april 1919
A clear, straightforward gaze must predominate if decisions of great import are to be taken. Spiritually and materially, we demand our right: representatives of an essential part of culture, we, the artists, want to take part in the ideological development of the State; we want to exist in the State and take our full share of responsibilities. We declare that the artistic laws of our time are already formulated in their main outline. The spirit of abstract art represents an enormous extension in man's feeling of freedom. Our faith is fraternal art: art's new mission in society. Art imposes clarity; should serve as a basis for the new man. He should belong to everyone without class distinction. We want to channel the conscious production-strength of each individual into the completion of the communal undertaking. We are fighting lack of system, destroyer of strength. Our highest aspiration is to realise a spiritual basis of understanding for all men. This is our duty. This work ensures the greatest vitality for all people. The initiative for this is ours. We shall direct its course and give expression to its wishes by joining into a harmonious whole its most disparate elements.
11 April 1919.
arp, baumann, eggeling, giacometti, helbig, henning, janco, morach, richter
"Extropic Art Manifesto
We are transhumans.
Our art integrates the most eminent progression
of creativity and sensibility
merged by discovery.
I am the architect of my existence. My art reflects my vision and represents my values.
It conveys the very essence of my being—coalescing imagination and insight, challenging all limits.
We are exploring how current and future technologies affect our senses, our cognition and our lives.
Our attention to these relationships become fields of art as we participate in the most immediate and
vital issues for transhumanity—extending life, augmenting intelligence and creativity, exploring the universe.
Artists, as communicators, bring together the passions, the dreams and the hopes of transhumanity and
express these emotions in ways that touch us deeply.
Transhumanist Arts reflects an extropic appreciation of aesthetics in a technologically enhanced world.
We are voices of transhumanity. Our voices are a synthesis, rhythm and exploration of imagination.
The Transhumanist Arts movement and its genres regard art as more than an artifact.
Art influences social and cultural change: how we live and who we are.
It creates a sense of self, art as being, autonomous yet connected to culture’s
continuum. How we accomplish our intentions is a matter of selective individual choice—
whether abstract or representational, whether artifact or conceptual.
Our criteria for art remain open and we welcome cross-disciplinary innovations.
As we move into the 21st Century,
Transhumanist Arts and Extropic Art will suffuse the universe around us.
Our unique ingenuity will spread far out into the capillaries of our culture.
We are active participants in our own evolution from human to posthuman.
We are shaping the image—the design and the essence—of what we are becoming.
Authored January 1, 1997 ©