Staffan Boije av Gennäs
Section of speech on Futilism by art critic Staffan Boije af Gännes, which he wrote and gave in connection with a Hornsleth performance at Stengade Music Hall in Copenhagen 1999
What is meaningless?
You are standing on a sidewalk waiting for an opportunity to cross the street, which, during this hour of the day has a traffic that never seem to cease its flow.
Standing there, your thoughts will - after a few minutes of frustrated wait have lost some of the focus on finding that opening in-between the cars.
If this wait goes on for a long while, you will startletting your thoughts wander. Resulting in small discoveries - like - that the colors of the passing cars are reappearing in a surprisingly certain order. Of course totally coincidential... but still...
This association, in relation to your intention of crossing the street, has no apparent meaning, and does not seem to lead anywhere!
When the opening in the traffic finally comes along, and you have started to cross the street, you will probably have forgotten all about it. (The order of the colors of the cars.)
The word Futilism is a combination of the word Futile and the suffix -ism.
Futile is what is insignificant or meaningless. The ism in relation to the futile, is the process-uell way of looking at what is considered futile or meaningless.
The meaningless in the futilistic discussion - usually referred to as noise is what comes to the world as a by-product of something meaningful. Like some paint spilled beside the surface it was intended to cover.
Or on the other hand, noise can be something meaningful degraded to the level of noise... as the case in witch some long since lost values, which once owed their significance to a context and a period of time of which no one has any real understanding anymore.
Noise in Futilistic terminology - is what is meaningless and non-usable in any pre-given context - that is if there is a context to refer to in the given situation.
One thing, is the engagement in noise which youpassively recieve and which, through a striking association becomes conscious and something you find worth giving further consideration -- that is, the levitation of the noise or the futile to the level of sense.
You might one day see an very long play in a theater, which in no way manages to capture your interest. Caught up in this scenario you will eventually start making up your own references from insignificant noise by-products that has fallen out of the cluster of
events going on in the big drama on the stage - but this time more activelyengaged in the associations than in the above mentioned example with the reoccurring colors of the cars passing you by.
Futilism is not looking for meaning behind the phenomena, as in the case of the psychotic who has lost his faith in language, and starts to look for something behind every phenomena, which all seem to stand in relation to him and his recent position... leading or misleading messages to him.
It does not claim that the random association of noise leads to anything else than a more or less happy coincidence that may be worth considering.
The only thing futilism adds to the reception of the everyday situation, is taking the spontaneous association seriously... and this is what initiates the levitation of noise to sense.
At the same time it is important to point out that this is not to worship the futile or nonessential. It is rather to question the standard reception of the nonsensical. Futilism rather concerns what appears to be
The first Futilistic ideas appeared in the beginning of this decade, formulated, as a reaction to Deconstuctive architectures, by a group of architecture students from this town.
In a period of Hype around the linguistic sign -of how everything during this period focused on the impossibility for anything meaningful to make its way around this sign. The idea of Futilism came to the world as an addition to the deconstructive obsession in recombining pieces and shapes from the modernistic era.
This reaction in its full length, was formulated in the Futilistic Manifest, written by Kristian Hornsleth between 1994- 1997.
And not taking this randomly created scenario as an effect of having ended up in a place were you can not find any fixed and certain context, to structure your perceptions.
But, as an approach to actively -? -place yourself in the "place without context," or anyway as far away from such as you can get.
Pure noise is as impossible to create as it is to see something as pure noise.
Futilism does not clame that there is anything new or specifically exiting in taking on a futilistic perseption of a room. It has not to do with finding any "special meaning" behind the appearence of the every day Hype, and doesnot think that any message can be coded out from
Its not the lookout for somthing meningful behind the Hype of appearence.
Futilism is a method to perceive the futile room. Futilism is a method to perceive and to let one self be inspired by the futile room. There is nothing uniquely futilistic in taking this stand.
Staffän Borje af Gennäs, Swedish artcritic and writer based in Copenhagen, 1999