Genealogy Of "ZANG TUMB TUMB": Experimental Phonetics, Vers Libre, and Modernist Sound Art

TitleGenealogy Of "ZANG TUMB TUMB": Experimental Phonetics, Vers Libre, and Modernist Sound Art
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsBrain, RM
ISBN Number1526-3819
Keywords1800-1899, art historians and writers, artists' manifestos, Dada, Filippo Tommaso, free verse, French literature, Futurism, Futurist poets, Gustave, Gustave (1859-1936), HUMANITIES, Kahn, literature and art, Marinetti, MULTIDISCIPLINARY, Neo-Impressionism, poetry, scientific experimentation, sound art, sound recording technology, symbolist poets, War

Discusses influences on sound works created by artists from the Futurist and Dada movements. The author notes that avant-garde sound art was influenced by the work of Gustave Kahn, highlights Kahn's influence on the Futurist F.T. Marinetti with reference to Kahn's creation of the 'vers libre' poetic form, and reports on Marinetti's manifesto 'The foundation and manifesto of futurism' (1909) noting his and the Dadaists attempt to develop a new understanding of vers libre. He considers the development of vers libre in France in the 1880s and 1890s noting the involvement of Stéphane Mallarmé, Gustave Kahn and Charles Henry, notes the similarities of the form to artistic techniques used by neo-Impressionist artists, and refers to Henry's attempt to create a form of scientific aesthetics using recording technology and exploring Kahn's use of Henry's ideas. He refers to the influence of work carried out in an experimental phonetics laboratory on the understanding of modernist poetic declamation, focuses on Marinetti's performance of vers libre poetry between 1898 and 1909, and highlights his critique of the form of vers libre made in his work 'Enquête internationale sur le vers libre' published together with the artist's manifesto. He examines Marinetti's theories relating to poetry noting the importance he accorded to onomatopoeia, refers to his use of onomatopoeia in his poem 'ZANG TUMB TUMB' written during the First Balkan War of 1912-13, and comments on Marinetti's later performance of the work noting its critical reception and outlining his influence on the Dada movement's understanding of language. He concludes by noting that the Futurist and Dadaist movements completed the trajectory launched through vers libre, and notes the importance of performance to their work.