The Italian Consulate General in Philadelphia
The Center for Italian Studies, University of Pennsylvania
The Italian Cultural Institute of Washington









The Fifth Annual Joseph and Elda Coccia Conference





Futurism: Rupture and Tradition









Friday, November 21

9:30 am - 5:30 pm

Saturday, November 22

9:30 am – 1:00 pm





Slought Foundation

4017 Walnut Street

Philadelphia, PA 19014-3513



This conference has been made possible through the generous support of the Mellon Foundation,the Center for Italian Studies, the Departments of History of Art, Music and Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania and the Penn Humanities Forum 





Friday, November 21

9:30 am

Welcoming Remarks

Ann Matter
Associate Dean for Arts and Letters, University of Pennsylvania

Fabio Finotti
Director, Center for Italian Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Christine Poggi
Department of the History of Art, University of Pennsylvania


10:00 am
Jeffrey Schnapp

Stanford University
Why Is Speed a Religion-Morality?

10:45 am
Luca Somigli
University of Toronto
The Poet and the Vampire:

Re Baldoria and the Crisis of Symbolist Values


11:15 am
Ara Merjian

Harvard University
The Future by Design:

Balla's Reconstruction of the Universe and the Historical Avant-Gardes

11:45 am - 12:00 pm




12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Lunch Break

2:00 pm
Jonathan Steinberg

University of Pennsylvania
Futurism and the European Revolt Against Reason: 1890-1915



2:30 pm
Christine Poggi

University of Pennsylvania
The Futurist Noise Machine



3:00 pm
Stefania Benini

University of Pennsylvania

Dynamisms, Colors and Dreams in the Writings of Benedetta Cappa Marinetti

3:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Coffee Break

4:00 pm
Marion Kant

University of Pennsylvania
The Fusion of the Mountain and the Shrapnel:

The Manifesto of Futurist Dance


4:30 pm

The Fusion of the Mountain and the Shrapnel

Dance Performance with Christina Catanese and Julia Cuccaro

Dramaturgy:Mary Mitchell



5:00 pm - 5:30 pm



7:00 pm
(By invitation only)




Saturday, November 22



9:30 am

Maria Elena Versari

Carnegie Mellon University

The Myth of the Temporal Fracture:

Futurist Foundations and the Genealogy of the Historical Avant-Garde



10:00 am

Paolo Valesio

Columbia University

The Soft Machine: F. T. Marinetti 'Against' Venice



10:30 am

Fabio Finotti
University of Pennsylvania

Futurism. Words and Numbers



11:00 am - 11:15 am

Coffee Break



 11:15 am

Kevin Platt

University of Pennsylvania

Futurist Temporality



11:45 am

Guido Bartorelli

Universitá di Padova

The Futurist 'Advertising Painting'



12:15 pm

Luca Buvoli

Artist, New York

Scenes from a Post-Utopian Futurism



12:45 pm

Discussion and Closing Remarks









Open to the Public. Free Admission.



Jeffrey T. Schnapp is the founder-director of the Stanford Humanities Lab at Stanford University, where he occupies the Rosina Pierotti chair in French and Italian studies and Comparative Literature. Though primarily anchored in the field of Italian studies, he has played a pioneering role in several areas of transdisciplinary research and led the development of a new wave of digital humanities work. His research interests extend from antiquity to the present, encompassing the material history of literature, the history of 20th century architecture and design, and the cultural history of science and engineering. Trained as a Romance linguist, Schnapp is the author or editor of eighteen books and over one hundred and fifty essays on authors such as Virgil, Dante, Hildegard of Bingen, Petrarch, and Machiavelli, and on topics such as late antique patchwork poetry, dadaist visual poetics, the cultural history of coffee consumption, glass architecture, and the iconography of the pipe in modern art. Among his publications on Futurism is a two-volume critical edition of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti’sTheater published by Mondadori in 2004.Schnapp is co-editor of the Johns Hopkins University Press quarterly Modernism/modernity, the official journal of the Modernist Studies Association, and received the MSA’s 2006 Best Book prize for the edited volume Crowds (Stanford University Press). He is also a well-known guest curator who has collaborated with such institutions as the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Center, the Wolfsonian-FIU, the Triennale di Milano, and the Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio. During the summer of 2008, working in collaboration with FilmWork (Trento) and Studio Terragni (Como), he completed I Trentini e la Grande Guerra: a 7,000 sq. meter experimental WWI museum built into two former superhighway tunnels at the entrance to the city of Trento under the sponsorship of the Regione Autonoma del Trentino-Alto Adige.



Luca Somigli is Associate Professor of Italian Studies at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on the European avant-garde and Italian genre fiction. His publications include Legitimizing the Artist. Manifesto Writing and European Modernism, 1885-1915 (2003), which was awarded the prize for best book by the American Association for Italian Studies in 2004, Italian Modernism: Italian Culture between Decadentism and Avant-Garde, co-edited with Mario Moroni (2004), L’arte del saltimbanco. Aldo Palazzeschi tra due avanguardie (2008), co-edited with Gino Tellini, as well as several essays on various aspects of Italian modernism and detective fiction. His latest book is the monograph Valerio Evangelisti (2007), on Italy’s foremost writer of science-fiction.



Ara H. Merjian is the Lauro de Bosis Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University for 2008-9, and Assistant Professor of Italian Studies and Art History at New York University. In addition to teaching on the centenary of Italian Futurism, he is currently finishing a book manuscript, Urban Untimely: Giorgio de Chirico and the Metaphysical City, which examines de Chirico’s early Metaphysical cityscapes in the light of Nietzschean philosophy. A former Fulbright scholar to Italy and a fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts of the National Gallery, he received his B.A. from Yale University and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He has taught at Berkeley and Stanford Universities, and is a regular critic for Modern Painters, Artforum online, and Frieze.



Jonathan Steinberg came to Penn in January 2000 after more than thirty years at Cambridge University. He has written on twentieth century Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland and also prepared the official report on the Deutsche Bank's gold transactions in the Second World War which appeared in 1999. In 2003 he completed "European History and European Lives, 1715 to 1914", a 36-part series of biographies produced by The Teaching Company. His teaching covers modern Europe since 1789 with specialization in the German and Austrian Empires, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and modern Jewish history. He has also taught graduate and undergraduate seminars in historical thought and method. His essay "Carlo Cattaneo and the Swiss Idea of Liberty" has just appeared in Giuseppe Mazzini and the Globalization of Democratic Nationalism, 1830-1920, published for the British Academy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008)



Christine Poggi earned her degrees from the University of Chicago (M.A., 1979) and Yale University (Ph.D.,1988) and has been teaching modern and contemporary art history at Penn since 1987.  She has also served on the Modern and Contemporary Committee at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, has collaborated on various programs sponsored by the Institute of Contemporary Art, and serves on the board of Women's Studies and Italian Studies at Penn. Professor Poggi's research has centered on the work of Picasso, Cubism, Futurism, the rise of abstraction, art made under fascist Italy, the art of the sixties and seventies, and performance art.  She is the author of In Defiance of Painting: Cubism, Futurism, and the Invention of Collage (Yale University Press, 1992), and numerous articles on modern European and American art. Professor Poggi has received fellowship support from the Fulbright Commission, the Association of University Women, the NEH, the Dedalus Foundation, the Salvatori Fund, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and other institutions.  Current projects include a series of articles on the image of crowds and masses in modern art, and on the contemporary public monument.  She is also completing a book titled: Modernity as Trauma: The Cultural Politics of Italian Futurism.



Stefania Benini is Assistant Professor of Romance Languages and Undergraduate Chair of Italian at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her Italian Laurea from the University La Sapienza in Rome and her Ph.D. from Stanford University. Her research focus in Italian literature involves Medievalism, from literature to cinema and theatre. Other topics of interests include Dante, Italian women’s poetry, and literary translation. She has published essays on Dante and Tommaso Landolfi, and is currently working on articles on Amelia Rosselli, Pier Paolo Pasolini and cinematic adaptation, together with a volume on a "medievalist" reading of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s works. She has edited an anthology on cyberpunk writers and translated in Italian works of Bruce Sterling, William Gibson, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Jack Kerouac.



Maria Elena Versari is Assistant Professor of 19th and 20th-Century Art at the University of Messina, Italy. Her doctoral dissertation, Futurism 1916-1922. Identity, misconceptions, strategies. The international relations and the evolution of Futurism’s identity (Scuola Normale Superiore, 2006) is a historical reconstruction of the strategies of confrontation outlined by Italian Futurism within the context of the European avant-garde. She is author of monographic studies on Constantin Brancusi and on Wassily Kandisnky and she has written several articles devoted to Italian Futurism, Cubism, Fascist aesthetics and architecture. Currently, she is preparing a book on avant-garde internationalism in the 1920s and she is editing a collection of essays on the politics of iconoclasm and conservation in relation totalitarian architecture in the 20th-Century.


A literary critic, poet and narrator, Paolo Valesio was born in Bologna, studied at that university, then moved to the United States where he continued his studies and research at Harvard University, New York University, and Yale University. He taught at the latter institution for a quarter-century, and recently moved to Columbia University where he is currently the Giuseppe Ungaretti Professor in Italian Literature, and Chair of the Department of Italian. Paolo Valesio's areas of teaching and research include Italian literature from the 19th to the 21st century in a comparative context, rhetoric in its connection with literary analysis and with spirituality, and the theory and practice of writing. He founded and directed the journal Yale Italian Poetry (YIP) which is now published at Columbia University by the Department of Italian and the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America with the new title of Italian Poetry Review. The author of numerous critical essays and articles, Valesio has also published five books of criticism, fifteen collections of poetry, two novels, one collection of short stories, and a novella. His drama in verse, Son of Man at Corcovado, has been staged in Italy.



Fabio Finotti is Mariano DiVito Professor of Italian Studies, Graduate Chair of Italian and Director of the Center for Italian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. His research explores the relationships among different national traditions, codes, media, genres, and social structures. He is the author of several books, including Sistema letterario e diffusione del decadentismo (1988); Critica letteraria e linguaggio religioso (1989); Una ferita non chiusa. Misticismo, filosofia, letteratura in Prezzolini e nel primo Novecento (1992); Retorica della diffrazione. Bembo, Aretino, Giulio Romano e Tasso: letteratura e scena cortigiana (2004), as well as many articles on literary theory and on Italian literature, from Dante to the XXth century. He published editions of Fogazzaro, Prezzolini, D'Annunzio, Prati, Aleardi, Grossi, Carducci. He is currently working on the rhetorical metamorphosis and multiplications of the 'self' in Italian literature, from the medieval stage to the contemporary writers. A member of the Advisory Board of Lettere Italiane, Prof. Finotti is Presidente Vicario of the AISLLI (Associazione Internazionale per gli Studi di Lingua e Letteratura Italiana).



Kevin M. F. Platt is Associate Professor and Chair of the Slavic Department. He works on representations of Russian history, Russian historiography, and history and memory in Russia. Additionally, he frequently writes on Russian lyric poetry. Platt received his B.A. from Amherst College and his Ph.D. from Stanford University and taught at Pomona College before joining the Penn faculty in 2002. He is the author of History in a Grotesque Key: Russian Literature and the Idea of Revolution (Stanford, 1997; Russian edition 2006), and the co-editor (with David Brandenberger) of Epic Revisionism: Russian History and Literature as Stalinist Propaganda (Wisconsin UP, 2006). Platt has published chapters and articles on Russian history and historiography, film, art and the poetry of Pushkin, Boriatinsky, Pasternak, Zabolotsky, Chukovsky and Kibirov. He also edited and contributed translations to Modernist Archaist: Selected Poems by Osip Mandelstam (Whale and Star, 2008). He is currently putting the final touches on a book entitled Terror and Greatness: Ivan IV and Peter I as Russian Myths (forthcoming from Cornell UP in 2010). His new projects include a study of 20C history and memory among Russian-speaking populations in the Baltic, a book on Russian lyric poetry and history, and a translation project on Marina Tsvetaeva.



Guido Bartorelli was born in Padua (Italy) in 1972. He gained his Ph.D. in Art History at the University of Bologna, with the thesis: L’Internazionale del Numero innamorato. Esperienze artistiche degli anni Venti: Secondo Futurismo, Léger e tre presenze statunitensi. He is currently a Researcher of Contemporary Art History at the University of Padua. In the field of Futurism, he is the author of Numeri Innamorati. Sintesi e dinamiche del Secondo Futurismo (Testo & Immagine, Torino, 2001) and the articles Attualità del pittoresco (in "Op. Cit.", vol. 117, Napoli, 2003); La variante dell’elettromorfismo nell’arte delle avanguardie storiche. Un confronto fra gli scritti di Kandinsky e di Boccioni 1910-1914 (in "Arti e artifici. Annuario della Scuola di Specializzazione in Storia dell’Arte dell’Università di Bologna", Bologna, 2005).His monographic volume Fernand Léger cubista. 1909-1914, will soon be published by the Coop. Libraria Editrice Università di Padova. As well as the historical avant-garde, he is also studying twentieth century art in the Venetia area (Tono 1906-2006. Nel centenario della nascita di Tono Zancanaro, cat., Padova, Biblos, 2006; Ezio Bruno Caraceni 1927-1986, cat., Sacile PN, 2008). He also has a keen interest in the newest tendencies of art (ArtBeat. Arte Narrativa Videoclip, cat. curated with F. Fabbri, Bologna-Milan-Rome, 1999-2000; Chris Gilmour, cat., New York, 2006; The Royal Art Lodge, cat., Burgos, 2008; the annual exhibition Quotidiana, Padua).



Luca Buvoli (born in Italy, 1963, lives in New York) is an artist working with animated film and video, installation, sculpture, drawing, and artist’s books. Luca Buvoli’s solo shows include the ICA in Philadelphia (2007), the M.I.T. List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge (2000), the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2001), the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art (part of Mythopoeia: projects by Matthew Barney, Luca Buvoli, and Matthew Ritchie)(1999), the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC (2003), and the John Weber Gallery, New York (1995-‘97-‘99). Group shows include the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale, South Africa (1997), and Greater New York at PS1, New York (2000). Several new works, part of a large multi-media installation, have recently been shown at the 52nd Venice Biennale, at the entrance of the Arsenale. His animated works have been shown at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2004), the Lincoln Center (1998), the ICA in Boston (1997), the ICA in London (1998), and the British Library (2008) among other places. Articles on his works have appeared in The New York Times, Art on Paper, frieze, Art in America, The New Yorker, Flash Art, and others. Luca Buvoli’s sculptures are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and other museums and institutions around the world.