Language of Art as Language of Utopia

art, literature, digital culture studies

This essay for the inaugural issue of Technology and Language looks at language and technology coming together in avant-garde art, Russian futurism and constructivism. When words become a visual elements in the composition of new worlds, the creation of words can be seen as a way of breaking with the thinking of the past, but it can also be viewed as a social technology for the construction of a new life. Artists and poets experimented with graphic and phonetic images of the words. Though constructive principles and laboratory methods of creation were thought to be universal, the ideas of effectiveness and economy were not accepted unanimously. Viktor Shklovsky, founder of the formal school of philology, did not consider poetic language subject to regulation by principles of economy. Still, the creation of a new language united all the schools of the avant-garde and builders of proletarian culture, which found expression in sound poetry, zaum, novoyaz. Conceived between 1910 and 1920, they were a tool for utopian projects and creative development.