Blast - A Thought Experiment

Besides The Crisis, Blast has to be one of my favorite magazines that we have read so far this semester because of the fact that it relies just as much on how the information and images are formatted, as what the information and images are discussing. The first piece of text in Blast (number 1) is titled “Long Live the Vortex!” and is made up of individual sentences – some of which are entirely capitalized. It states:

               Long live the great art vortex sprung up in the centre of this town!

               We stand for the Reality of the Present – not for the sentimental Future, or the sacripant Past.

               We want to leave Nature and Men alone.

               We do not want to make people wear Futurist Patches, or fuss men to take to pink and sky-blue trousers.

               We are not their wives or tailors.

               The only way Humanity can help artists is to remain independent and work unconsciously.

               WE NEED THE UNCONSCIOUSNESS OF HUMANITY – their stupidity, animalism and dreams. (Blast, number 1)

Not only is the text telling the readers what the purpose of the magazine is (showing just what makes an artist, and how to keep them relevant), but it also places an importance on what will be discussed within the magazine – the Reality of the Present over the sentimental Future or sacripant Past; the relationship between Nature and Men; Humanity and how it relates to art and artists. Mark Morrison points out in ”Blast: An Introduction” that “Blast was a manifesto … intended to promote a nascent avant-garde group comprising of painters, writers, and a sculptor.” This is not only seen in “Long Live the Vortex!” but also in the way that the other texts within the magazine were organized. They are not in a steady font or size, they do not follow the rules that have been established for any type of literature (magazine, novel, etc.), nor do they always cover the entire page of the magazine that they reside on. Instead, readers are shown where to focus first through the size of the font and the use of negative space on the pages. Readers are forced to think about why these decisions were made and what that means in relation to the information presented.



I agree! I also appreciated my read of Blast for some of the reasons that you mentioned. The use of space on the page was particularly interesting, as it seems to both create the  hint of images in some cases or emulate the formatting of things like print ads in other cases. The journal becomes more of an experience and less of a purely intellectual endeavor. I paired my reading of Blast with Avril Lavine's new album (on repeat as I read). Usually, I can't have something with words when I read, but Blast felt like it invited something like this, practically begging for a punchy background song to bolster the loud font and message.