Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (Italian, 1876–1944). "The Carso = A Rat’s Nest: A Night in a Sinkhole + Mice in Love," ca. 1917. The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, 870379.
This composition equates the squalid conditions of an Italian army camp with a mouse-infested sinkhole. The Carso, a plateau on the eastern sector of the Italian front, represented territory contested between Austria and Italy from May 1916 to October 1917. Marinetti mocks the bearded Captain Doctor Finizia as a southerner who emits smoke (“his Vesuvius”) from his pipe and inserts double consonants into his threats (“we slapppped”). In the camp, mice create explosions in the latrine and gnaw (“cru cru”) on cheese in the kitchen. Despite the nearby enemy shelling (“tuum tuuum”), Marinetti chooses a comic, if sardonic, tone.
Performed and recorded by Luciano Chessa
Produced and animated by Jen Sachs
© J. Paul Getty Trust 2014
Learn more about the exhibition, "World War I: War of Images, Images of War," at the Getty Research Institute's website: http://www.getty.edu/wwi