The Beauty of Speed
May 2005

Poster for AM 11

AM ('Akademische Mitteilungen') is a magazine published in Stuttgart (Germany), and for their 11th issue the editors asked four design groups (including us) to design a poster (60 x 92 cm), to be enclosed with the magazine as a four-piece poster-edition.
The theme of this particular issue of AM revolved around the idea of speed, and in the mail the editors sent us, they quoted extensively from F.T. Marinetti's 'The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism' (also known as 'The Joy of Mechanical Force'), written in 1909:

"We declare (affirm) that the splendour (wonder) of the world has been enriched by a new (fresh) beauty: the beauty of speed..." (Whether it's 'splendour of the world' or 'wonder of the world' depends on the translation you prefer).

Of course, this historical manifesto is a text we are quite interested in ourselves. As some of you might know, we have referred to it quite often in our work, most explicitly in the poster series we designed recently as a public art installation in NYC (see Terminal Five).
Thinking about what to do with the poster, and rereading Marinetti's manifesto, it suddenly dawned on us how similar the sentence "the splendour of the world has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed" was to another famous line, the first sentence of the Communist Manifesto (1848), written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels:

"A spectre (ghost) is haunting Europe: the spectre of Communism"...

For the poster, we decided to fold these two famous proto-modernist quotes into one sentence: "A spectre is haunting Europe: the beauty of speed". In a way, a very direct and literal attempt to create the ultimate 'first sentence'. It's quite interesting to see how well the two sentences fit to each other, even though there are six decades between them.

Related link: AM 11


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