[thought in progress – not yet complete…]
I know my tendency to make it long. and I knew that this would prove challenging when writing my manifesto because how would I ever find an end when surely there are endlessly many truth that deserve to be included? one evolving from another like an echo bouncing off long, narrow walls, always creating new and slightly different sounds. or the view on top of a mountain where yet another mountain range unfolds and behind that another one and another one and another one infinitely into the distance somewhere reaching the end of the Earth.
where to draw the line and feel it’s finished enough even if it’s not complete?
I thought I better decide beforehand on a set number of points to be included. for some unexplainable reason my mind immediately came up with the figure 11. sure, it’s an odd number, a prime number and looks a bit like a pair of twins. also there’s something proud about 1 being the first number and then there’s the shape: how tall it stands right there at the beginning of the line. needless to say that ‘1’ would be too few truths and ‘111’ far too many whereas ’11’ seemed a realistic number – albeit a challenge. 22 would be much easier for me.
but having read somewhere that the key to a manifesto lies in its brevity (and 22 doesn’t sound very brief at all) and its purpose to challenge: a manifesto must provoke and cause objection so why not make this principle a part of its conception and provoke myself to a short, brave and brief piece.
however, I’ve now stumbled across a confusing piece of information in my Penguin Classic. in reference to the ‘Manifesto of the Futurist Painters‘ from 1910 Alex Danchev mentions that when it was first published in Italy it was backdated to 11 February. Only that in my text it’s written as II February. This is followed by the observation that ‘Futurist manifestos are always dated II; Marinetti [the ‘Urvater’ of the artist manifesto, PH] had a superstitious regard for that number‘. Now, presumably Danchev does not refer to the Latin ‘II’ meaning ‘2’ but the Arabic II meaning 11 and thereby indicating that my gut instinct was fully in tune with the prime artist manifesto by F.T. Marinetti, ‘The Foundation and Manifesto of Futurism‘ from 1909 which is in fact built around a list of 11 points.
I’m a bit disappointed. I wanted to be original and authentic: 11 seemed so right to me. how could I ever have guessed that it seemed equally right to the pope of artist manifestos 106 years ago? so what to do now? rebelling 11? because it’s someone else’s truth and I don’t want to be a mere copier of truths? and because I don’t want to take up someone else’s space when it seems that they’re already comfortably settled in it? but if it’s about challenge then maybe here’s a perfect opportunity to provoke me out of my deep-seated habit of always thinking I’m in somebody’s way and trying not to be (sometimes literally: not to be)? so sticking with my truth? accepting that whatever I come up with on my manifesto mission will anyway have been shaped unconsciously and sometimes very consciously by philosophical and aesthetic ideas that have been floating around for generations. that the idea of finding some pristinely undiscovered truths is possibly a bit delusional, maybe slightly megalomaniac and or even conceited? dare to stand tall in my truth, and not give a damn that it might be inconvenient for others or that it might also be somebody else’s truth: truths are spacious and have benches in them to sit down on for a jolly little chinwag.