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Janez Janša Il porto dell’amore


Il porto dell’amore / The Seaport of Love www.reakt.org/fiume

The project Author: Janez Janša Architect: Bor Pungerčič Voice: Hana Batistič / Ed Rossi Sound: Janez Janša Scale model: RPS d.o.o. Executive producer: Marcela Okretič texts by Domenico Quaranta Produced by Aksioma - Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, 2008-2009 www.aksioma.org Co-produced by Drugo More, Rijeka Supported by the European Cultural Foundation the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia the Municipality of Ljubljana the Municipality of Rijeka Project produced in the frame of the platform RE:akt! www.reakt.org

The Research* edited by Janez Janša texts by various writers* published by Aksioma - Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, May 2009 translation Anna Carruthers proofreading Jana Wilcoxen / Anna Carruthers designed by Janez Janša printed by Tisk Petlaj * This document reports research results compiled to conceptually support the artistic project Il porto dell’amore. The research has been done merely for scholarly and artistic purposes with no commercial aim and puts together several copyrighted materials. All copyrights are retained by the original authors and publisher of such materials.


Janez Janša Il porto dell’amore Text by Domenico Quaranta

QUIS CONTRA NOS? 1919 - 2019

“Everything in life depends upon the eternally new. Man must either renew himself or die.” (Gabriele D’Annunzio)

1919. At the end of the First World War, a large part of Italian society perceived the victory as “mutilated”. Emblematic of this dissatisfaction was the situation of the town of Fiume in Istria, with a mainly Italian population1, which had requested to be annexed to Italy in 1918. This sense of frustration later found an outlet in Fascism’s promise of glory. In September 1919, Gabriele D’Annunzio - poet, intellectual and charismatic man of action - led a handful of deserters to seize the city on 12 September. They held it for almost 16 months, until the Italian government, after having attempted to solve the issue with mediation and by siege, opted for the military solution. Between 24 and 31 December 1920, the Italian army attacked Fiume, taking it from the legionnaires despite their strenuous resistance, not surrendering to an inevitable defeat. D’Annunzio christened these events Bloody Christmas. The Fiume episode, however, has long been blighted by the shadow of Fascism: D’Annunzio was considered to be a forerunner to the Fascist movement, and there are some elements of effective linguistic, rhetorical and cultural continuity between Fiume and Fascism (from “Me ne frego!” to Giovinezza, to the spectacularization of politics, to the corporative structure of society), and lastly the fact that many exponents of the Fiume movement later joined Fascism (the Futurists in particular). This shadow has never entirely faded, despite the work of numerous intellectuals and historians who have attempted, documents in hand, to re-interpret the episode in its own right. This is an operation that starts from a distant perspective. As Lenin declared, “There is only one man in Italy capable of starting a revolution. D’Annunzio.” And it was no coincidence that The Soviet Union was the only state that recognized the existence of Fiume. Institutional acknowledgement aside, the support for Fiume from the Dada Club in Berlin is also striking. The day after D’Annunzio captured the city, the club sent a telegram to the Corriere della Sera: “Conquest a great Dadaist action, and will employ all means to ensure its recognition. The Dadaist world atlas Dadaco already recognizes Fiume as an Italian city.” But if we exclude these surprising reactions, we can see that it is above all in recent years that Fiume has begun to be treated with an attitude that differs from “irreverent underestimation” or “acritical apologia”2. Renzo De Felice led the way (1978), underlining the prevailing role played by the “firebrands” in the Fiume episode, the connection between revolution and celebration, and the predominance of a global driving force over purely local questions3. Other historians, from Nino Valeri (1967) to Michael Arthur Leeden (1975), from Mario Isneghi (1994) to Günter Berghaus (1995), have variously underlined the radical, libertine nature of the revolt, which was a melting pot of different ideologies, with a powerful vein of creativity and imagination, and characterized by a strong desire to intervene on all aspects of life4. Berghaus writes: “Between December 1919 and December 1920, Fiume became a little world of its own, a microcosm where radical dreams and aspirations were given an unprecedented chance to be lived out and experimented with... Groups of revolutionary intellectuals managed to assume control over the city and created a political culture, where spontaneous expression of beliefs replaced the tedious procedures of parliamentary democracy. Artistic fantasy and energy gave birth to a new ‘aesthetics’ of communal life, where the fusion of political and artistic avant-garde became a reality. A festive lifestyle replaced  conventional social behaviour.”5 1. According to a 1910 census, in Fiume there were 24,000 Italians, 15,000 Croats and 10,000 inhabitants Fiume also attracted the attention of the anarchist thinker Hakim Bey, who in his legendary essay T.A.Z. (1985), on temporary autonomous zones, describes Fiume as “the last of the pirate utopias (or the only modern example)” and “the first modern TAZ.”

of other nationalities. 2. I have taken these expressions from the introduction to Claudia Salaris’ book, to which I also owe many references that follow: see Claudia Salaris, Alla festa della rivoluzione. Artisti e libertari con D’Annunzio a Fiume, Il Mulino, Bologna 2002. 3. See Renzo De Felice, D’Annunzio politico 1918-1938, Roma-Bari, Laterza 1978. 4. Nino Valeri, Da Giolitti a Mussolini. Momenti della crisi del liberalismo, Milan, Il Saggiatore 1967; Michael Arthur Leeden, D’Annunzio a Fiume, Roma-Bari, Laterza 1975; Mario Isneghi, “La nuova Agorà. Fiume”, in Isneghi, L’Italia in piazza. I luoghi della vita pubblica dal 1848 ai giorni nostri, Milan, Mondadori 1994. Works quoted in Salaris 2002, quoted. 5. Günter Berghaus, Futurism and Politics: Between Anarchist Rebellion and Fascist Reaction, 1909-1944, Oxford, Berghahn Books, 1995; p. 139.

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore

Starting from this cluster of ideas, and a detailed examination of all the literary material produced by the protagonists in the Fiume undertaking, the Italian academic Claudia Salaris wrote her book Alla festa della rivoluzione (2002), which describes the Republic of Carnaro as a libertarian, aesthetic adventure. It was reading this book, and other first hand material, from the Charter of Carnaro to the text by Comisso, the title of which he then borrowed6, that led Janez Janša to start on the long process which generated Il porto dell’amore. The connection between historiography and reconstruction of history should not come as a surprise: at times history, in order to be staged once more, must first be rewritten. At other times it is the reconstruction that rewrites history.

Janez Janša Il porto dell’amore MNAC - National Museum of Contemporary Art Bucharest, 2009 Installation (detail) Photo: George Vasilache Courtesy: MNAC

In actual fact, terms like “reconstruction” and “re-enactment” only partially describe Il porto dell’amore, which is a stratified, modular work based around a re-branding of the city of Fiume, including initiatives like the construction of a monumental interactive lighthouse in the port. And from the port area, the project spreads out through the narrow streets, winding up the hill, intersecting various references to the lost history of Fiume. Streets and squares are renamed and new features appear on the map of the city, such as the “Sacrarium of the Constitution”, which holds a copy of a 1920 paperback edition of the Charter of Carnaro, the constitution of the liberated city. The new elements are laid out in the pattern of the Orsa Maggiore constellation, which is the emblem of the city in the coat of arms of the Italian Regency of Carnaro, designed by Adolfo De Carolis from a sketch by D’Annunzio. This all seems to point to an act of historic revisionism in dubious taste, but there are a few details which indicate a rather different hypothesis. The monumental lighthouse is a mobile, fragmented, joyful structure, well removed from the impenetrable monuments of Fascist architecture. It is a kind of architecture to be lived, that offers itself up to the variegated multitude of creative activities that



6. Giovanni Comisso, Il porto dell’amore, Treviso, Vianello, 1924.

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore

went on in D’Annunzio’s Fiume. Lastly, it is a construction that, like a minaret, is designed to convey a voice, broadcasting its message over the city and the sea every time a ship draws near. The voice recites articles from the Charter of Carnaro, the extraordinary constitution presented on 8 September 1920 when the Italian Regency of Carnaro was founded. Drawn up by the trade unionist Alceste De Ambris, the constitution was completed by D’Annunzio, who reinforced its utopian, and fundamentally literary nature, introducing the reference to music as a “religious and social institution”, and adding the extraordinary tenth corporation among those of other professions and walks of life present in the constitution: one that was to be reserved for “the mysterious force represented by the people at work and directed to higher things.” The planned Sacrarium of the Constitution pays tribute to this bizarre document, which mingles proto-Fascist components with undisputedly modern elements, libertarian, anarchist and democratic ideals, and a rare acknowledgement of the key role played by artists in society. By the same token, changing street names not only means paying homage to the city’s glorious past: by having the names in Italian, Croatian and English, Janez Janša (and the architect Bor Pungerčič) highlight the openness and cultural pluralism of a state whose armed forces enjoyed decorating their uniforms with different symbols and multinational insignia (as the surrealist legend Jacques Vaché did); and which set up the League of Fiume to oppose the League of Nations, in defence of the weakest: oppressed races and peoples (including Native Americans and Afro-Americans), colonies and former colonies, and countries impacted by the Treaty of Versailles. But more than a tribute to a historic moment that deser ves to be recovered, or at least restored to authenticity, Il porto dell’amore actually feels like an act of love towards a place, that, at a cer tain point in its history, was hit by a wave of energy and poetry that no other place can lay claim to, and that its current guise of provincial town in a former Socialist country would never lead you to imagine. Fiume: Por t of Love, City of Life, Universal Meeting Place, Great Oppor tunity, Fifth Season of the World, Rainbow City, Holocaust City, Quarnaro «Future Sea »!, “Fiume: Symbol, Hub, Pole, Rainbow! What other city in the world has ever merited such an avalanche of epithets? Il porto dell’amore does not re-enact the events, or celebrate them; it attempts to reproduce an atmosphere, a sensation, a dream of liber ty that lies at an immeasurable distance from the present day world, just as it lay at an immeasurable distance from the world that surrounded it in 1919. Originally published as “Il porto dell’amore”, in Antonio Caronia, Janez Janša, Domenico Quaranta (eds), RE:akt! - Reconstruction, Re-enactment, Re-reporting, FPetitions, Brescia 2009, pp. 129 – 134.

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Janez Janša Il porto dell’amore galerija Škuc, 2009 Installation (detail) Photo: Miha Fras Courtesy: Aksioma

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Janez JanĹĄa Il porto dell'amore

Research* * This document reports research results compiled to conceptually support the artistic project Il porto dell’amore.The research has been done merely for scholarly and artistic purposes with no commercial aim and puts together several copyrighted materials. All copyrights are retained by the original authors and publisher of such materials.

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | Introduction

Introduction On 11 September 1919, the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio left Ronchi at the head of a handful of firebrands with the intention of occupying Fiume and annexing it to the Kingdom of Italy. D’Annunzio’s surprise operation was of great media effect, and for 16 months in the occupied city a spectacular “revolution party” was staged.1

The New York Times New York, 15 September 1919

The New York Times New York, 16 September 1919

Gabriele D’Annunzio enters Fiume, 12 September 1919.

The New York Times New York, 17 September 1919

The New York Times New York, 1 October 1919

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1. Carla Pagliero, “Ma D’Annunzio era no-global?”, A – rivista anarchica, year 33 no. 288, March 2003. Source: http://www.anarca-bolo.ch/a-rivista/288/38.htm

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | Introduction

Gabriele D’Annunzio (1863 – 1938) Gabriele D’Annunzio was an Italian poet, journalist, novelist, dramatist military hero, and political leader, the leading writer of Italy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. D’Annunzio’s literary works are marked by their egocentric perspective, their fluent and melodious style, and an overriding emphasis on the gratification of the senses, whether through the love of women or of nature. After the start of World War I, D’Annunzio made public speeches in favour of Italy’s entry on the side of the Allies. After Italy declared war Gabriele D’Annunzio. he plunged into the fighting himself. D’Annunzio was fond of bold, individual military actions. Two of his best known came in 1918: his flight over Vienna (volo suVienna), where he dropped thousands of propaganda leaflets over the city, and his prank at Buccari Bay (beffa di Buccari), a daring surprise attack on the Austrian fleet with power boats. On 12 September 1919, he led the seizure of Fiume, forcing the withdrawal of the inter-Allied occupying forces. The plotters sought to have Italy annex Fiume, but were denied. Instead, Italy initiated a blockade of Fiume while demanding D’Annunzio in Fiume, September 1919. that the plotters surrender. D’Annunzio then declared Fiume an independent state, the Italian Regency of Carnaro with himself as “il D’Annunzio on the day of the flight over Vienna, Comandante” and coauthored a constitution with syndicalist Alceste De Ambris, 9 August 1918. the Charter of Carnaro. D’Annunzio ignored the Treaty of Rapallo and declared war on Italy itself, only finally surrendering the city in December 1920 after a bombardment by the Italian navy (Bloody Christmas).2 The New York Times New York, 28 September 1919



2. Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriele_D%27Annunzio | http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/151126/Gabriele-DAnnunzio

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | The Seaport of Love

The SEAPort of Love “The city of Fiume was unsettled and altered between 12 September 1919 and the so-called ‘Bloody Christmas’ of 1920. It was governed by a poet, for the first time in the world, and his army comprised insubordinates of all ranks and forces from the Italian army. The people of the city lived for over a year on meagre provisions, but with celebrations and shows, and beautiful words spoken and printed almost daily by Gabriele D’Annunzio, who for that short period was known to all simply as ‘il Comandante’”. Holocaust, City of Life, Port of Love. The city had a constitution that challenged the concept of property, and army regulations which basically revolved around achieving a greater degree of aesthetic beauty than the Theban Legion. It attracted all the independentists and anti-capitalists in the world, from Egypt to Bolshevik Russia. It was a den of pirates who made a living by rustling horses, capturing ships and undertaking impossible flights. It was a place for experimenting with alternative lifestyles: nudism, naturism, vegetarianism, futurism, homosexuality, free love, drug use. “After the modus vivendi initially proposed by the Italian government failed, D’Annunzio’s politics leaned increasingly towards a revolutionary perspective. In this new context a particular psychological climate arose, which made Fiume, to quote D’Annunzio, the ‘City of Life’: a sort of tiny experimental ‘counter-society’ with ideas and values not strictly in line with contemporary morals, open to breaching social norms, and with a mass engagement in rebellion”.1 Fiume was [...] an experience that foreshadowed a new socio-political order, a “bubbling magma of moods, conceptions of life, aspirations towards renewal, between idealism, utopia, anarchy and festive vitalism, a response to the apprehensions and malaise of a generation that had experienced war and considered themselves to be different from their fathers’ generation in terms of how they conceived of life, human and social relations, and the organization of power”. [...] In this experience pleasure underwent a kind of democratization, becoming the prerogative of all those who had come to the “City of Life”, to the “revolution party”; a confused, chaotic celebration which under many aspects clearly contradicted any realistic intentions of consolidation and triumph of the revolution itself.2

“I am for Communism without dictatorship [...] my whole culture is anarchist [...] it is my intention to make this city into a spiritual island which will send out a predominantly Communist action towards all oppressed nations”. (Randolfo Vella, Fiume correspondent for the anarchist newspaper Umanità Nova. Interview with D’Annunzio.) Source: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Impresa_di_Fiume#cite_note-18

Fiume: Symbol, Hub, Pole, Rainbow! [...] A little of everything has come to you, divine Fiume: purity, ardour, courage, vanity, cocaine, faith, hypocrisy, false currency, voracity, sacrifice. [...] But the heart and soul of the legionnaires’ mission lay only in those few, neither too close to nor too far from D’Annunzio, who brought a new awareness, new forms and patterns of life to Fiume [...]. They intended Fiume to lead all the peoples of the earth towards the future; an island of wonders that was to travel the oceans, taking its shining light to the continents drowning in the darkness of brutal capitalist speculation. In the City of Carnaro this group of enlightened men, fanatics, mystic forerunners, managed to conjure up that atmosphere of passion for the future and poetic rebellion against the old faiths and ancient formulas, that has been given the name of “Fiumanism”.3



1. Claudia Salaris, Alla festa della rivoluzione. Artisti e libertari con D’Annunzio a Fiume, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2002, p. 12. 2. Giovanni Savegnago, critical review of the book by Claudia Salaris Alla festa della rivoluzione. Artisti e libertari con D’Annunzio a Fiume, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2002. Source: http://www.pavonerisorse.to.it/storia900/libri/fiume.rtf 3. Mario Carli, Trillirì, Piacenza, Edizioni Futuriste di Poesia della Società Tipografica Editoriale Porta, 1922, pp. 165-167. Source: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utente:Justinianus_da_Perugia/Storia_dell’Italia_antica

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | The Seaport of Love

You should know that you have come to a city which is dangerous for your tender years. Here everyone does exactly what they want without reserve. The lowest and most elevated forms of life alternate, not unlike light and shade.4

[...] Fiume became a little world of its own, a microcosm where radical dreams and aspirations were given an unprecedented chance to be lived out and experimented with. The Bolsheviks tried to establish “soldiers’ soviets” as in Russia: syndicalists and anarchists organized producers’ networks following Proudhon’s example; Utopian life-models were practiced in an atmosphere of free-wheeling individualism and extravagant self-expression. The Futurist idea of Life as Art and Art as Life never found a more concrete realization: “Today reigns Poetry”, found Mario Carli, and “the old antithesis of Life and Dreams has finally been overcome”. Umberto Carpi has described Fiume in 1920 as a “place where the highest concentration of a specifically bourgeois and intellectual subversiveness” could be found and “transgression of norms and mass practice of rebellion” was an organized everyday occurrence.

In Fiume D’Annunzio achieved what Marinetti merely hypothesized: artists in power.

Under the exceptional circumstances of the City State under siege, the common constrains of civil law were suspended. Groups of revolutionary intellectuals managed to assume control over the city and created a political culture, where spontaneous expression of beliefs replaced the tedious procedures of parliamentary democracy. Artistic fantasy and energy gave birth to a new “aesthetics” of communal life, where the fusion of political and artistic avant-garde became a reality. A festive lifestyle replaced conventional social behaviour. The transgression of moral and sexual conventions was widely accepted (including nudism, homosexuality and liberation of women from the shackles of marriage and family life). New and picturesque dress codes were invented. And then there was the neverending cycle of dances, concerts, banquets, theatre performances, games, torchlight processions, cortèges, etc. There reigned, as one participant wrote in his memoirs, “an atmosphere of a perpetual quatorze juillet”.5 [Fiume] was in some ways the last of the pirate utopias (or the only modern example) – in other ways, perhaps, it was very nearly the first modern TAZ [Temporary Autonomous Zone]. I believe that if we compare Fiume with the Paris uprising of 1968 (also the Italian urban insurrections of the early seventies), as well as with the American countercultural communes and their anarcho-New Left influences, we should notice certain similarities, such as: – the importance of aesthetic theory (cf. the Situationists) – also, what might be called “pirate economics”, living high off the surplus of social overproduction – even the popularity of colourful military uniforms – and the concept of music as revolutionary social change – and finally their shared air of impermanence, of being ready to move on, shape-shift, re-locate to other universities, mountaintops, ghettos, factories, safe houses, abandoned farms – or even other planes of reality. No one was trying to impose yet another Revolutionary Dictatorship, either at Fiume, Paris, or Millbrook. Either the world would change, or it wouldn’t. Meanwhile keep on the move and live intensely.6



4. Giovanni Comisso, Il porto dell’amore, Treviso, Vianello, 1924, p. 12. Source: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utente:Justinianus_da_Perugia/Storia_dell’Italia_antica 5. Günter Berghaus, Futurism and Politics: Between Anarchist Rebellion and Fascist Reaction, 1909-1944, Oxford, Berghahn Books, 1995, p. 139. 6. Hakim Bey, T.A.Z.:The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism, New York, Autonomedia, 2003, p. 125.

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | The Seaport of Love

Naturism – nudism – vegetarianism Many of the scholarly legionnaires engaged in getting back to nature, by leaving the city, sleeping in the open air, begging for a bite to eat from the monks in monasteries or living off berries in the woods or sea urchins, in the attempt to rediscover the primitive dimension of life which had been eliminated by social progress. Theirs was a quest – by means of a Pan-like fusion with nature – to renew a heavenly happiness which had been lost for ever. This dreamy sensitivity to nature also lay behind the nudism, vegetarianism and aversion to artificial shelter.7

The “performer” Guido Keller, follower of the health/naturist movement, posing as Neptune, the Roman god of the sea and earthquakes.



7. Giovanni Savegnago, critical review of the book by Claudia Salaris Alla festa della rivoluzione. Artisti e libertari con D’Annunzio a Fiume, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2002. Source: http://www.pavonerisorse.to.it/storia900/libri/fiume.rtf

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | the “Celebration City”

the “Celebration City” “A festive atmosphere usually accompanies the initial stages of a revolution, the destabilizing, spontaneous part, before the start of the process of normalization that tends to channel the revolutionary impetus in order to make it last over time. This festive lifestyle is a typical feature of transitory revolutions, not born to last, but to make a mark, to show a way forward: comets that are fleeting yet destined to remain in the collective memory and have an impact even after their trajectory has terminated”.1 At the hub of the new moral order theorized and practised in Fiume was a festive vein – “the legendary initial and final state of humanity”, consisting in breaking the rules, and suspending the normal progression of time in favour of “a sort of eternal present without past or future”.2 [...] Every third day there is a parade, a celebration of flowers and imaginative words, which tell of a new life and the marvels of the human soul, after which everyone goes to eat, flushed with new enthusiasm and renewed Fiume spirit. [...] The rallies and processions of Fiume form instantaneously, at lightning speed: at the sound of a siren or fanfare, a demonstration comes to life, and spreads throughout the city. [...] One day of celebrations spent here is enough to get an idea of the truly futuristic aspect of these crowd phenomena. The fact that at least half of those involved are women makes them feel fresher and more poetic.3



1. Giovanni Savegnago, critical review of the book by Claudia Salaris Alla festa della rivoluzione. Artisti e libertari con D’Annunzio a Fiume, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2002. Source: http://www.pavonerisorse.to.it/storia900/libri/fiume.rtf 2. Ibid. 3. Mario Carli, Con D’Annunzio a Fiume, Milano, Facchi Editore, 1920, pp. 137-138, p. 143. Source: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utente:Justinianus_da_Perugia/Storia_dell’Italia_antica

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | the “Celebration City”

[...] A torrential flood of people, holding each other close, stretching from one side of the street to the other, in compact groups surging forwards like waves of a fiendish sea. Songs and voices which sparkle with passion, and shouts of love and fresh laughter and imperious declarations. Men and women mingling freely without a care, without needing to know one another, elbow to elbow, almost as if they were magnetically communicating an implacable feeling overflowing from the people in the grip of a frenzy.4

“Marches and torch-lit processions, fanfares and songs, dances, rockets, celebratory fireworks, speeches, eloquence, eloquence, eloquence ... [...] I will never forget the celebrations for San Vito, the patron saint of Fiume, on 15 June 1920: the square all lit up, the flags, the huge banners, the boats with their flowery paper lanterns, and the dancing ...: people were dancing everywhere – in the squares, at the crossroads, on the harbour, by day, by night, always dancing and singing [...]. To the rhythm of martial fanfares one saw soldiers, sailors, women and citizens whirling in wild embraces, recapturing the triple diversity of the primitive couples hailed by Aristophanes. One’s gaze, wherever it settled, saw a dance; of lanterns, of torches, of stars; hungry, in ruins, in anguish, perhaps about to die in a fire or under the hail of grenades, Fiume, brandishing a torch, danced before the sea”.5 Léon Kochnitzky



4. Mario Carli, Trillirì, Piacenza, Edizioni Futuriste di Poesia della Società Tipografica Editoriale Porta, 1922, pp. 206-207. Source: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utente:Justinianus_da_Perugia/Storia_dell’Italia_antica 5. Source: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leone_Kochnitzky

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | Free Love and Artificial Paradises

Free Love and Artificial Paradises In Fiume, with its atmosphere of “time suspended” and total subversion of social mores, not only the soldiers, but also the women, engaged in behaviour marked by sexual freedom. “It was a flourishing period for rapid, impromptu, casual sexual relations between the soldiers and uninhibited girls or the prostitutes that filled the I never saw officers whiling the numerous brothels”. According to records and the memories of those present, night away playing cards – all the Fiume episode was “a period of delirium and revelry [...]. Everyone the recreation was aimed at the enjoys themselves here, making love to the girls of Fiume, who have a immediate gratification of reputation for being beautiful and permissive”. The reports of the Dionysian the senses.2 atmosphere that held sway in the city did not fail to elicit outrage amongst the more conventional, including among the left-wing. [...] Alongside the widespread practice of heterosexual sex (including group sex) [...] there were homosexual relations, which came out freely in the general climate of subversion of traditional morality. [...] Cross-dressing and role reversal between men and women were also not uncommon.1 And, in a city which appears to have chosen systematic transgression and libertarian vitalism as its pole star, narcotics were naturally in regular use, cocaine in particular: “There was a basement, all decorated with polar bear skins; at the back, among incense smoke, unmentionable orgies went on, alternating with Satanic libations: and neither were artificial paradises out of the picture. Cocaine by the barrel-load snowed down on these encounters, and steaming blood was sipped from human skulls ...”3 --- Léon Kochnitzky “Although her physique seemed overly robust, her mouth was extraordinarily beautiful, and she was immediately, spontaneously kissed. She looked trapped in her clothes, didn’t speak and made hand gestures first rejecting me then beckoning me. When I removed her scarf I recognized ‘her’ as one of the soldiers who came to pass the evenings with us, and who promptly ran off towards the woods”. “[…] Enrico, wearing Grethe’s dress, appeared, making a number of nimble dance moves, like a more beautiful, more brazen version of Grethe. His bare arms, decorated with long ribbons, accompanied the movements of his legs. My friend jumped up onto the sofa to chase him, like a faun chasing a nymph, but the agile Enrico got away, still dancing. Then out of the same door came Grethe dressed as a soldier”.4 --- Giovanni Comisso

“Poor Nitti is beside himself over the shameful goings on in Fiume [...]. Not only have they proclaimed the Republic of Fiume, but they are now preparing a landing at Ancona, two air raids over Italy and other such delights. Fiume has become a brothel, a hideout for the underworld and prostitutes of all kinds. He [Nitti] told me about a certain Marquise Incisa, who goes around dressed like a soldier, complete with dagger. Unfortunately he cannot say all of these things in Parliament, for the honour of Italy”.5 Filippo Turati.



1. Giovanni Savegnago, critical review of the book by Claudia Salaris Alla festa della rivoluzione. Artisti e libertari con D’Annunzio a Fiume, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2002. Source: http://www.pavonerisorse.to.it/storia900/libri/fiume.rtf 2. Giovanni Comisso, Le mie stagioni, Edizioni di Treviso – Libreria Canova, 1951, pp. 73-75. Source: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utente:Justinianus_da_Perugia/Storia_dell’Italia_antica 3. Giovanni Savegnago, critical review of the book by Claudia Salaris Alla festa della rivoluzione. Artisti e libertari con D’Annunzio a Fiume, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2002. 4. Source: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utente:Lupo_rosso/Sandbox/consultazione/personaggi_impresa_fiumana 5. Letter from Filippo Turati to his partner Anna Kuliscioff. Source: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impresa_di_Fiume#cite_note-15

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | The “Desperados”

The “Desperados” “Guido Keller told me that he had just formed a company to guard the Commander, a company that he called ‘La Disperata’. Many soldiers who had come from Italy to volunteer were without papers and had not been accepted by the Command. Instead of leaving they were camped out in the town’s big shipyards. When he went to see what they were doing there, Keller found some of them naked diving from the prows of the moored ships, others attempting to manoeuvre the old locomotives that used to run between Fiume and Budapest, and others perched up on cranes, singing. He found them to be high-spirited and jolly, and he gathered them for inspection: they were all proud, handsome men, and he declared that they were the finest soldiers in Fiume. He mustered these soldiers, known to all as the ‘desperados’ in view of their situation, and offered them to the Commander as personal guards. This move scandalized superior officials, but the Commander accepted the offer. With the creation of this company, Keller began to put his ideas for a new military order into practice. These new soldiers spent most of the day swimming or rowing, or singing and marching through the city, bare-chested and dressed in shorts. They were not obliged to stay in the barracks, [...] and in the evening they frequented a deserted area called La torretta, where they split into two groups and did battle with real hand grenades, often leading to injury. [...] The presence of a number of morally dubious elements did not sully the company’s reputation, but rather gave it the crepuscular flavour of a group despised by the wise and the mediocre, and this was its greatest source of pride”.1

“One day a journalist from the Morning Post wrote about how scandalized an English colonel, as stiff as a dummy, would be to see a regiment of legionnaires on parade; to which the caustic Kochnitzky replied: ‘Fortunately Gabriele D’Annunzio is not an English colonel’. Yet Kochnitzky himself wore an impeccable black jacket, which jarred among the garish, variously coloured uniforms in circulation, many of them an earthy khaki hue, having been fashioned from thousands of English curtain lengths found in the city. Some wore wide patterned ties, others a crew neck. Some went about wearing the Arditi fez, while others preferred long flowing hair which they brushed back”.2

“One day [Gabriele D’Annunzio] saw the Arditi setting off for the hills, two by two, hand in hand, and he pointed them out saying: ‘Look at my soldiers, heading off in pairs like Pericles’s men’. [...] In the spring every day he went for a walk with a different unit, and would come back singing with the soldiers, who had sprigs of flowers stuck in the barrels of their muskets ...”3

The New York Times New York, 29 November 1920.



1. Giovanni Comisso, Le mie stagioni, Milano, Longanesi, 1963. Source: http://www.oblique.it/manifesto_keller.html 2. Federico Augusto Perini-Bembo, D’Annunzio e Fiume per l’ordine nuovo. Prodromi momenti e conseguenze nazionali ed internazionali della “marcia di Ronchi”, Firenze, Carlo Cya, 1944, pp. 126-127. 3. Giovanni Comisso, Le mie stagioni, Edizioni di Treviso – Libreria Canova, 1951, pp. 77-78. Source: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utente:Justinianus_da_Perugia/Storia_dell’Italia_antica

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | International acknowledgement of Fiume

International acknowledgement of Fiume During the months that the Fiume experiment lasted, almost all leftwing leaders (socialists, trade unionists, anarchists) in Italy and internationally drew comparisons with it, and the stances and opinions expressed often revealed openness rather than condemnation. Appreciation for the openings present in the Charter of Carnaro were expressed, for example, by the Hungarian Communist Miklós Sisa, the former people’s commissary in the government of Béla Kun.1

The Dada-Telegram “Please phone the Club Dada, Berlin, if the allies protest. Conquest a great Dadaist action, and will employ all means to ensure its recognition. The Dadaist world atlas Dadaco already recognizes Fiume as an Italian city.”2 Huelsenbeck. Baader. Grosz.

Russia was the only state that recognized the existence of Fiume. Indeed some of the (military) organs of the government looked more like soviet councils than the Italian constitutional monarchy. As Lenin said to the European Communist emissaries in Moscow: “There is only one man in Italy capable of starting a revolution. D’Annunzio”.3

“The D’Annunzian movement is perfectly and profoundly revolutionary, because D’Annunzio is a revolutionary. Lenin even said so at the Moscow Congress”.4

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.



1. Giovanni Savegnago, critical review of the book by Claudia Salaris Alla festa della rivoluzione. Artisti e libertari con D’Annunzio a Fiume, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2002.) Source: http://www.pavonerisorse.to.it/storia900/libri/fiume.rtf 2. Richard Huelsenbeck, Johannes Baader, George Grosz, “Dada-Telegramm”, Dada Almanach, Ed. Richard Huelsenbeck, Berlin, Erich Reiss Verlag, 1920, pp. 108-109. 3. Source: http://digilander.libero.it/fiammecremisi/dopoguerra1/fiume.htm 4. Nicola Bombacci, La Tribuna, Rome, 30 December 1920. Source: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impresa_di_Fiume#cite_note-15

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | International acknowledgement of Fiume

The New York Times New York, 18 September 1920.

Gabriele D’Annunzio and Guglielmo Marconi sending a wireless plea, Fiume, September 1920.

Ricciotto Canudo (1879 – 1923) The New York Times New York, 27 September 1920.

Ricciotto Canudo portrayed by Picasso, 1919.

Ricciotto Canudo was an Italian film theoretician who lived primarily in France. In his manifesto The Birth of the Sixth Art, published as early as 1911, he argued that the cinema synthesized the spatial arts (architecture, sculpture and painting) with the temporal arts (music and dance). He later added poetry in his 1923 better-known manifesto Reflections on the Seventh Art. He is therefore considered to be the very first theoretician of cinema. He saw cinema as “plastic art in motion”. Canudo came to Fiume in February 1920 as president of the Fédération des Gabriele D’Annunzio and Ricciotto Canudo in volontaires étrangers and on 7 March Fiume, March 1920. he organized a propagandistic flypast, dropping leaflets expressing his committee’s support for the enterprise over the city and towns.5



5. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricciotto_Canudo Claudia Salaris, Alla festa della rivoluzione. Artisti e libertari con D’Annunzio a Fiume, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2002, p. 31.

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | Pirate Economy

Pirate Economy The government of Fiume did not get its revenues from taxes and duties, but from the loot of the Uscocchi and donations from generous supporters, both anonymous and illustrious. Commemorating the feats of the Uscocchi, 16th century pirates of the Balkans, D’Annunzio used the same name for his legionnaires, who were ready for anything and specialized in surprise attacks by sea and land.1 The Persia Affair On October 10, 1919 the Italian cargo ship Persia was commandeered and sailed to Fiume. The Persia was a unique prize, for it had been heavily laden with arms and munitions for the White Army in Russia and was to have sailed to Vladivostok for use in the war against the Bolsheviks. The maritime worker’s union, the Federazione della gente di mare, after vainly attempting to convince the government not to supply the reactionary Russian forces with Italian arms, had its men take command of the ship in the straits of Messina and set a course for D’Annunzio’s Holocaust City. No less than thirteen tons of military supplies thus found their way into the warehouses of the Command, and the city welcomed Captain Giuseppe Giulietti and the crew of the Persia with a celebration on the evening of the fourteenth. Giulietti was the leader of the gente di mare, and he had given the order to the hijacking of the ship to Fiume. For him, the manoeuvre served not only to demonstrate his organization’s opposition to the supplying of the White Army but also to pressure the government into making various concessions to the maritime workers.2

At the time the press reported the dynamics of the action with many inaccuracies, so to shed light on events Captain Giulietti had fliers printed with the following statement: [...] The means that were to be used to strive for the freedom and The New York Times redemption of the Russian people will be used to fight for the freedom New York, 12 October 1919 and redemption of the people of Fiume. [...] We are not working for any particular man in government, but for an idea of human justice that makes us love our neighbours as we love ourselves, without distinctions of nationality and class. To the revolutionaries in name only, to sectarians on all sides, and to those sad individuals who have been stupidly attacking our action in newspapers of a different bias, we show the steamship Persia moored in the port of Fiume, flying the maritime federal flag. In time, when the censorship ceases, we will provide a full account of events, indicating for the admiration of the proletariat the names of the brave companions who wrote a triumphant page of maritime history on board the Persia.3 Giuseppe Giulietti



1. Lorenza Gasparoli, “Alla festa della rivoluzione”, critical review of the book by Claudia Salaris, Alla festa della rivoluzione. Artisti e libertari con D’Annunzio a Fiume, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2002. Source: http://www.questotrentino.it/2002/22/festa_rivoluzione.htm 2. Michael Arthur Ledeen, D’Annunzio:The First Duce, Piscataway, NJ, Transaction Publishers, 2002, p. 116. 3. Ferdinando Gerra, L’impresa di Fiume, Milano, Longanesi, 1974, pp. 151-153.

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | Pirate Economy

Giuseppe Giulietti (1879 – 1953) Giuseppe Giulietti, born into the trade, devoted his life to seafaring. He joined the socialist party and wrote for the publication Lavoratore del mare and for the weekly anti-military publication La Pace. Captain and president of the Associazione Lavoratori del Mare (Association of Sea Workers), he was in contact with D’Annunzio during the Fiume episode. He was famous for having boarded the merchant ship Persia as it was taking arms to the White Army of counter-revolutionaries in Russia. During the Fiume episode he sought contacts for the march on Rome, to take power with opposite aims to those of Mussolini.4 Giuseppe Giulietti.

TARANTO

The New York Times New York, 29 January 1920.

The New York Times New York, 7 February 1920.



4. Sources: http://digilander.libero.it/monari/spec/giulietti.714.html http://www.webalice.it/antoniomontanari1/arch.2004/arch2/ilrimino/ilrimino84.706.html#giulietti http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impresa_di_Fiume#cite_note-17

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ORSINI

Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | Pirate Economy

RACCHIA

BARO FEJERVARY

The New York Times New York, 9 May 1920.

COGNE

The New York Times New York, 4 February 1920 The New York Times New York, 8 February 1920

The New York Times New York, 13 September 1920.

FINANCIAL AID

The New York Times New York, 24 September 1920.

The New York Times New York, 10 October 1920.

The New York Times New York, 4 October 1919.

The New York Times New York, 29 October 1920.

The New York Times New York, 9 November 1920.

The New York Times New York, 25 October 1920.

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | Pirate Economy

Fiume lived entirely thanks to its port. The blockade paralyzed the city, and death by anaemia is a slow one. Warehouses without goods in transit, dealers without work, sailors without ships, ship-owners bankrupted: everywhere work ground to a halt, and there were shortages. Hunger and ill health visited the poor, and the rich represented a temptation. The situation opened the way to shady dealings and inadmissible markets: speculation, deception, barter and swindling were rife. People had to try and make a living some way, by trading, or rather profiteering.5

The New York Times New York, 18 September 1919.

BLOCKADE

The New York Times New York, 4 October 1919.

The New York Times New York, 14 November 1919.

The New York Times New York, 1 March 1920.

The Office of Surprise Attacks and the Office of Fakes The situation of the soldiers in Fiume was by no means ideal. They were still wearing their summer uniforms, and the summary provisions that the army of legionnaires received came from the raids adroitly performed in the surrounding areas, by land and sea. [...] There was an atmosphere of such recklessness, and such a love for anything adventurous, that a playful proposal from the Commander led to the creation of a particular Office, immediately dubbed the UCM – Ufficio Colpi di Mano (Office of Surprise Attacks). Alongside this another office was rapidly established. This was the UF, standing for Ufficio Falsi – Office of Forgeries – which, with the help of associated typesetters and consenting stamp manufacturers, managed to produce all kinds of forged papers, even passports, which were such perfect copies that they convinced even the shrewdest of inspectors. In charge of the UCM was the aviator Guido Keller, the Commander’s histrionic, brilliant and loyal collaborator.6 

5. Léon Kochnitzky, La Quinta Stagione o I Centauri di Fiume, Bologna, Zanichelli, 1922, p. 35. 6. Excerpted from Mussolini e D’Annunzio. Il fotomontaggio sulla lettera di insulti del poeta Source: http://www.ilpalo.com/storia/inviate-a-mailing-list-nuova-storia/mussolini-d-annunzio-fotomontaggio-lettera-insulti-poeta.htm

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www.reakt.org/fiume

Luigi Rizzo (1887 – 1951) Luigi Rizzo was an Italian admiral. In February 1918, together with Gabriele D’Annunzio and Costanzo Ciano, he took part in the “Beffa di Buccari”, obtaining the fourth Silver Medal of Military Valour. On 10 June 1918, off the coast of Premuda, he attacked and sank the battleship Szent Istvan. For this mission he was decorated with the Cross of Knight of the Military Order. In 1919 he voluntarily joined the “Fiume cause”. His personal prestige enabled him to do a great deal of propaganda within the navy and merchant navy, gave him insight into the moves of the Italian navy and enabled him to guarantee that supplies reached Fiume even when the city was entirely blockaded by land and sea.7

Luigi Rizzo.

The New York Times New York, 31 January 1920.

The New York Times New York, 13 February 1920.

The New York Times New York, 6 October 1919. 

7. Sources: http://www.marina.difesa.it/storia/movm/parte04/movm418.asp http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luigi_Rizzo http://www.giuseppemarchese.it/articoli/art_144/art144.html

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | Publishing

Publishing After Marinetti’s and Vecchi’s departure, Mario Carli and Mino Somenzi took over the leadership of the Futurist flock in Fiume. Keller, whom Marinetti had praised in his diary as a true Futurista, became a close friend and collaborator. This Fascio Futurista Fiumanese founded the newspaper, La testa di ferro, edited by Mario Carli, whose first number appeared on 1 February 1920. Keller called into existence a group called Yoga, which ran a regular column in La testa di ferro and for a short period also published their own journal: Yoga: Unione di spiriti liberi tendenti alla perfezione (November to December 1920). Both groups opened their doors to a wide spectrum of political forces on the Left: anarchists, syndicalists, communists, Bolsheviks, republicans etc. Many Arditi joined their ranks, but these were not to be confounded with the Ardito-Fascists who followed Mussolini’s move to the Right. They supported Carli’s revolutionary line, which was presented in his newspaper under the headings “Our Bolshevism” (15 February 1920) and “The Little Bolshevik Father” (7 March 1920). F.T. Marinetti (right) and F. Vecchi in Fiume, Here he described Moscow and Fiume as the centres of a world revolution and October 1919. Lenin as the genial leader of the Russian working class. He distinguished his notion of Bolshevism from the politics of the Italian “official” Socialist Party and proposed to form Soviets all over Italy, where artists and the proletariat could join hands and establish a new political system along the communist model. The leadership of the Arditi, who had stayed behind in Italy with Mussolini, took offence at Carli’s Bolshevik propaganda. Pietro Bolzon, who ran the by now Right-wing L’ardito, started a series of attacks on the Arditi Fiumanesi, who in response rallied around Carli and D’Annunzio and defended their independent outlook on the Italian Revolution.1

F.T. Marinetti (1876 – 1944) On 16 September 1919, Marinetti made his way to Fiume, dressed in the uniform of a Volunteer. He was warmly greeted by D’Annunzio and fêted in the streets by legionnaires. Together with Vecchi and Carli they organized some Futurist events; but Marinetti was equally active in political rallies and gained access to the top brass in the military command of the city. His judgment on the officers who surrounded D’Annunzio was not exactly complimentary: “They are nearly all monarchists and passéists, who do not want to understand or admit that their gesture has been a revolutionary one. They declare that they are not involved in politics! Some probably have regrets and want everything to find a quick and good ending, so that it will not inconvenience their career and they will get His Majesty’s approval!!!” Marinetti established close contacts with Guido Keller, who explained to him his ‘task of overseeing what happens around D’Annunzio’.2 F.T. Marinetti.



1. Günter Berghaus, Futurism and Politics: Between Anarchist Rebellion and Fascist Reaction, 1909-1944, Oxford, Berghahn Books, 1995, pp. 137-138. 2. Ibid, pp. 135-136.

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | Publishing

La Testa di Ferro La testa di ferro was considered the unofficial organ of the Command of Fiume. The opinions expressed by Carli in this newspaper were so radical and unorthodox that in the end the Command asked him to move the publication to Milan, despite praise from D’Annunzio himself.

“Fiumanism = the Italian city of Fiume – city of new life – liberation of all the oppressed (peoples, classes, individuals) – discipline of the spirit against formal discipline – destruction of all hegemonies, dogmas, conservatisms and parasitisms – crucible for new energies – few words, much substance”.3

Mario Carli (1888 – 1935)

Mario Carli.

Mario Carli was an Italian poet, novelist, essayist, diplomat, and journalist. During the Fiume episode he founded the newspaper La testa di ferro, in which he dialogued with the leading anarchists of the day, and more than anyone else fought for the Fiume undertaking to become an outpost for world revolution. His extremism meant that he was eventually forced to leave Fiume, in June 1920: at D’Annunzio’s “suggestion” he moved the office of La testa di ferro to Milan.

Gerardo Dottori, Un ritratto di Mussolini. Ritratto aereo di Mario Carli, 1931. Collezione Wolfson.

In La testa di ferro, the legionnaire Alessandro Forti gave a clear description of the new task facing intellectuals: “[…] if the intellectual proletariat manages to understand the times and support the manual proletariat in its struggle for emancipation […] it will no longer find itself in the dangerous and humiliating position of buffer between capitalism and labour”.4



3. This is a phrase that often appeared in the publication La testa di ferro. 4. Giovanni Savegnago, critical review of the book by Claudia Salaris Alla festa della rivoluzione. Artisti e libertari con D’Annunzio a Fiume, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2002. Source: http://www.pavonerisorse.to.it/storia900/libri/fiume.rtf

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | Publishing

Yoga: Unione di spiriti liberi tendenti alla perfezione

The UnioneYoga entertained relations with Futurists all over Italy, the Futurist-Communist circle in Turin, with the Dadaists in Germany, the Bolsheviks in Russia and Hungary. They included artists from many Europeans countries and even the United States, who had come to Fiume to participate in the “great experiment” that was taking place there. Through their leader, Guido Keller, they had direct influence on the command of the city, and direct links with other officers meant that they managed to give many political statements of the city government a much more radical drive than they would otherwise have had. [...] They organized a “People’s Academy” with regular public debates on topics as wide-ranging as free love, abolition of money, destruction of prisons, beautification of the city, and so on. The Foundation Manifesto of Yoga and the articles in their paper Yoga bear many resemblances to Futurist proclamations. [...] But what distinguishes them from Marinetti’s anarchical Futurism is their Dionysian individualism. Issue number 4 of Yoga contained a long critique of Marinetti’s a-human technology cult that takes out of art

F.T. Marinetti (center) with G. Keller (left) and F. Vecchi (right) in Fiume, October 1919.

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what is most precious about it: to give expression to the originality and individuality of the artist. It would be therefore wrong to describe Yoga as a Futurist circle. [...] [Yoga] members were communists and anarchists, Bolsheviks and William Morris-like socialists, bohemians and nihilists, Nietzscheans and Rosenkreutzers, Rousseauist dreamers and Utopian Proudhonists.Yoga was not a Party with a fixed doctrine, but rather, as Carpi put it, “an open meeting ground for all rebellious spirits [...]. They tried to attract people not on the basis of a homogeneous political programme, but rather by their principle of diversity and vitalistic spontaneity”. What brought these rebellious characters and “free spirits”, as they called themselves, together was their rebellious attitude against the established political and cultural system. They fest a broad consensus of “us against them”, and their adversaries were not only the political cliques in parliament and the social orders who sustained them in power, but also the value system they promoted and upon which their ethics were based (bourgeois morality, rationality of thinking, discipline, work ethics, materialism, greed, etc.). However, there was also a political side to Yoga. It involved subversive tactics through which they sought to overturn the political system that had evolved during the industrial age. Their aim was to replace the “democracy of numbers” with a communist reign of liberty based on syndical organization of producers.

Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | Publishing

Guido Keller (1892 – 1929) Guido Keller, aviator, aesthete and man of action, instigator of lightning strikes, piratical feats and sensational japes, and follower of the health/naturist movement, as well as disdainer of uniforms and bourgeois clothes, was the only one of the young legionnaires present in Fiume allowed to use the familiar “tu” form of address with Guido Keller. D’Annunzio. [In Fiume] he established the Yoga, a group of the most daring, intelligent and modernist men in the “Holocaust city”. This association planned and carried out bold feats, and pledged support for the Irish revolution and the nationalist movements in India, Turkey, Egypt, and Montenegro.5 On 14 November 1920 on board a single-seater SVA, he flew over Rome to drop three “messages” to the Vatican, the Quirinal and Montecitorio respectively, with the aim of furthering the Fiume cause. “Having reached my destination I offered red roses to Frate Francesco at the Vatican, over the Quirinal I dropped more red roses Guido Keller (second from left) on his airplane. for the Queen and the People, as a love token. On Montecitorio I threw an enamelled iron utensil attached to a strip of red cloth, with some turnips tied to the handle and a message: Guido Keller – Action in Splendour Wing – gives to Parliament and the Government that has been ruling on lies and fear for some time, a tangible allegory of their worth. Rome, 14th of the third month of the Regency”. The tangible allegory naturally referred to the “enamelled iron utensil” an object for intimate use which is no longer in fashion today.6



5. Source: http://www.avia-it.com/act/cera_una_volta/memorie_e_ricordi/CUV_memorie_maggio_2008/11_L_asso_di_cuori.pdf 6. Igino Mencarelli, Guido Keller, Ufficio storico dell’Aeronautica, 1970. Source: http://www.oblique.it/manifesto_keller.html

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A social revolution was to go handin-hand with the political revolution and to produce a new concept of identity and individuality. One section of Yoga, the “Brown Lotuses”, promoted the idea of an agrarian democracy of small producers. Amongst them, a raceearth-nature ideology was widely diffused, and they had strong anticapitalist, anti-industrial and anti-city feelings. Strong doses of mysticism, spiritualism and Eastern mythology gave them an extremely Utopian character, not dissimilar to that to be found in other artists’ communities such as L’Abbaye de Créteil, Monte Verità or Worpwede. However, other members, who formed the “Red Lotuses”, had their feet much more firmly on the ground. They utilized the many international connections of the group to promote their ideas of “Moving. Living. Destroying. Creating”.

Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | Publishing

Keller prepared for and animated the Fiume undertaking with his genial enthusiasm for hatching plans. With his acute, penetrating, witty, pensive spirit, he possessed the Futurist talent for demolition and mockery. He knew the frenzy of action and the superior calm of the purely cerebral. As an imaginative, bantering character, he loved life, and took pleasure from playing with things and people, and inventing paradoxical entertainments. [...] He was known for carrying out reconnaissance missions in his fighter plane, Guido Keller. dressed in his pyjamas. Bruno recalls sees him on a few occasions, after a risky flight, lying under a tree completely naked, engrossed in a newspaper or book. On board his plane there were always a little tea set, and flowers, cigarettes and tins of biscuits: it was a genuine flying drawing room.7

Giovanni Comisso (1895 – 1969) Giovanni Comisso, Italian journalist and novelist. He published his first poems – influenced strongly by Baudelaire, Rimbaud, and Nietzsche – in pamphlet form in 1916. In September 1919 he decided to participate in the occupation of Fiume, where together with Guido Keller he edited the magazine Yoga, advocating activism and libertarian ferment, anti-capitalism and antiparliamentarianism, and expressing contempt for the bourgeoisie, and the need for freedom from material impulses. Commisso’s experience in Fiume provided the inspiration for his first novel, Il porto dell’amore, written in 1921 and published Giovanni Comisso in Fiume 1920. privately in 1924.8



7. Mario Carli, Trillirì, Piacenza, Edizioni Futuriste di Poesia della Società Tipografica Editoriale Porta, 1922, pp. 153-154. Source: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utente:Justinianus_da_Perugia/Storia_dell%27Italia_antica 8. Who’s who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History: FromWorldWar II to the Present Day, Eds. Robert Aldrich, Garry Wotherspoon, Routledge, 2001, p. 89. Source: http://www.premioalfiomenegazzo.it/Articoli/2005/art_14_02.htm

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | Publishing

They were also extremely active in the running of the city of Fiume and the organization of the many festivals and artistic events there. Despite their patriotism they were anti-Fascist and opposed to any narrow nationalism. Their aim of “developing and exalting the meaning of race” was not to be confounded with Fascist racialism, because it went hand-in-hand with their “international conception that promotes the Dionysian race and the race of the spirit by the practical means of Love”.9 Il ballo di San Vito. Primo quaderno della Yoga. Collezione diretta da Mino Somenzi. Cittá di Vita, Giugno 1920 On the occasion of the “Festival of St Vito” Mino Somenzi published one of the most memorable Futurist documents to be distributed in the streets of Fiume. It was called Il ballo di San Vito. Primo quaderno della Yoga. Collezione diretta da Mino Somenzi. Cittá di Vita, Giugno 1920 and contained an “Appeal to the Population of Fiume”, where the citizens were exhorted to join the youthful and vitalistic Ardito-Futurists in their endeavour to demolish the bourgeois establishment, to “smash to pieces all altars and pedestals” and to destroy the power of “banks, beards, and prejudices”. The futurist mottos of “destroy and create” and “disseminate, overthrow, set to fire” would inspire the world to make an end to the accepted order and to replace it with a system “where everything is possible in an atmosphere of geniality and incandescent madness”. The “festival as an institution” was seen as an expression of this ludic principle, and to “remove the hundred deliberating sages from their seats of power” was therefore going to be an “intoxicating and tumultuous ball”. Preceding the Appeal is another proclamation, directed to the female section of the population. They are exhorted to become “the mother of the modern woman”, to make use of “the hour of your awakening and not to fear hypocrisy masquerading as morals”, “not to fear the modern ideas that are exploding in the volcanic brains of Mino Somenzi (1899 – 1948) the ‘forgers’, who have made Fiume the centre of innovation”. Until Mino Somenzi was a Jew, Futurist now, “women have only been the and former member of the radical fountain of carnal pleasures; in the Left in the Fasci di Combattimento. future they will also be a spiritual Together with Mario Carli, took and heroic stimulant of modern over the leadership of the Futurist mankind.” As a step in that direction flock in Fiume after Marinetti’s and they are called upon to discard Vecchi’s departure (October 1919). with the romantic notion of On the occasion of the “Festival of St woman as a passive creature on Vito” he published one of the most whom everything can be imposed. memorable Futurist documents Instead they are asked “to have the Tato, Aeroritratto fantastico del poeta Mino to be distributed in the streets of courage to stand to their femininity Somenzi, 1934. Fiume: Il ballo di SanVito. Primo and their own desires”. They have quaderno dellaYoga. Collezione diretta da Mino Somenzi. Cittá diVita, Giugno 1920. their mission just like man; but to Somenzi was appointed by the Commander to erect an anchor monument in a achieve this aim they have to liberate square in Fiume. themselves from old prejudices and “putrid morality”.10 

9. Günter Berghaus, Futurism and Politics: Between Anarchist Rebellion and Fascist Reaction, 1909-1944, Oxford, Berghahn Books, 1995, pp. 141-143. 10. Ibid, pp. 140-141.

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | The Charter of Carnaro

The Charter of Carnaro The Charter of Carnaro was the constitution of the Italian Regency of Carnaro. It was co-authored by syndicalist Alceste De Ambris and poet Gabriele D’Annunzio. The ideal of greater social equality was inspired by De Ambris. D’Annunzio contributed to it clauses guaranteeing a beautiful life, and the free development of spiritual man as a gift to a world of brothers. His was also the idea of a tenth corporation among those of other professions and walks of life present in the constitution: one that was to be reserved for “the mysterious force represented by the people at work and directed to higher things.” The charter is notorious for designating “music” to be the fundamental principle of the state. The Charter of Carnaro recognizes “the sovereignty of all citizens regardless of gender, race, language, class or religion” and contains many undoubtedly modern elements – with regards to the concept of property (“no property can be the reserve of one person as if a part of that person; […] The only unique claim on any means of production or exchange is work”); work (elevation of the masses from physical labour towards a dimension of freedom and spirituality, that transcends “toil”); the status of women (the right to equal pay and freedom from “husbandly” authority); public education (free and with a multi-ethnic approach: all the languages spoken in the Regency were to be taught in schools, and all religious denominations were welcome); basic freedoms (those of the press, meeting and association); political rights (universal suffrage for men and women); civil rights (recognition of divorce); social rights (the right to assistance and welfare); the organization of the armed forces (abolition of the army in peace time and obligatory military service for both sexes in war time), and administrative decentralization.

Alceste De Ambris (1874 – 1934)

Alceste De Ambris.

Alceste De Ambris was an Italian syndicalist. He was head of the cabinet of the Regency of Carnaro from January 1920. It was De Ambris who gave the government of Fiume a strong revolutionary slant, both in terms of internal policy and planning, and with regard to political action aimed at forging links with exponents of Italian revolutionary forces, from the syndicalist Giuseppe Giulietti and the anarchist Errico Malatesta, to the members of the maximalist wing of the Socialist party. With Gabriele D’Annunzio, he co-authored the Charter of Carnaro (1920), a constitution for Fiume. De Ambris provided the legal and political framework for the document while D’Annunzio used his skills as a poet to make the document more impressive; he was also the leader of a group of Italian seamen who had mutinied and then given their vessel to the service of D’Annunzio.1

The Charter of Carnaro presents undoubtedly modern characteristics, and democratic and libertarian aspects. As for its utopian vein, it may look like a “book of dreams”, but “for sure the atmosphere you experience among the preachers of New Worlds in the squares of the free city of Fiume is immeasurably more thrilling and intense than the dusty old Albertine Statute”.2



1. Giovanni Savegnago, critical review of the book by Claudia Salaris Alla festa della rivoluzione. Artisti e libertari con D’Annunzio a Fiume, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2002. Source: http://www.pavonerisorse.to.it/storia900/libri/fiume.rtf Wikipedia. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alceste_de_Ambris 2. Mario Isnenghi, L’Italia in piazza. I luoghi della vita pubblica dal 1848 ai giorni nostri, Milano, Mondadori, 1994, p. 235.

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | The Charter of Carnaro

[The Charter of Carnaro] must be viewed and studied as a kind of apotheosis (albeit created in the unreal, ardent atmosphere of the microcosm of Fiume, where all states of minds, philosophies, protests, revolutionary ideas and aspirations of the day circulated) of the revolutionary trade unionism which developed in the first two decades of this century in European culture and in a whole series of radical subversive fringes in Italy and abroad.3 “To date no constitution has ever codified human and social rights with broader liberty, with deeper trust in its people, and with a bolder outlook to the future, than the Constitution that Gabriele D’Annunzio drew up for the city of Fiume”.4

But for me, believing fervently in the supreme, victorious role of art in human life, there is no better, more just and more practical part of this Constitution than the section regarding music. Marinetti too, in his manifesto Al di là del Comunismo, attempted to offer a poetic resolution to the tangle of political and social problems by extending art, and above all music, to all human souls. “Music will reign over the world”, wrote Marinetti. [...] And today the legislator of Fiume has solemnly declared: “In the Italian Regency of Carnaro Music is a religious and social institution”.5

The tenth [corporation] has no special trade or register or title. It is reserved for the mysterious forces of progress and adventure. It is a sort of votive offering to the genius of the unknown, to the man of the future, to the hoped-for idealization of daily work, to the liberation of the spirit of man beyond the panting effort and bloody sweat of to-day. It is represented in the civic sanctuary by a kindled lamp bearing an ancient Tuscan inscription of the epoch of the communes, that calls up an ideal vision of human labour: “Fatica senza fatica”.6

In the Italian Regency of Carnaro, music is a social and religious institution. [...] music, the language of ritual, has power, above all else, to exalt the achievement and the life of man. [...] In every commune of the province there will be a choral society and an orchestra subsidized by the State. In the city of Fiume, the College of Aediles will be commissioned to erect a great concert hall, accommodating an audience of at least ten thousand with tiers of seats and ample space for choir and orchestra. The great orchestral and choral celebrations will be entirely free – in the language of the Church – a gift of God.7 There are three articles of belief which take precedence of all others in the Regency and the federated communes: Life is a good thing, it is fit and right that man, reborn to freedom, should lead a life that is noble and serious; a true man is he who, day by day, renews the dedication of his manhood to his fellowmen; labour, however humble and obscure, if well done adds to the beauty of the world.8



3. De Felice, D’Annunzio politico 1918-1938, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 1978, pp. 230, 241. 4. COMITATO NAZIONALE DI AZIONE SINDACALE DANNUNZIANA, La carta di libertà del Carnaro. Analisi sindacalista e testo integrale del “Disegno di un nuovo ordinamento dello Stato libero di Fiume” promulgato da Gabriele D’Annunzio, Milano, 1920, Prima edizione, p. 3. 5. Mario Carli, Con D’Annunzio a Fiume, Milano, Facchi, 1920, pp. 83-84. 6. Gabriele D’Annunzio, Alceste De Ambris, “the Corporations”, La Carta del Carnaro, Article no. 19, Fiume, 1920. 7. Ibid, “the Music”, Article no. 64. 8. Ibid, “the Basis”, Article no. 14.

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | The Labarum

The Labarum The Labarum of the Italian Regency of Carnaro, based on a sketch by Gabriele D’Annunzio, and designed and perfected by Adolfo De Carolis, was exhibited in Fiume on occasion of the presentation of the Charter of Carnaro. The background of the flag is dark red, with the Italian and Fiume tricolour flags in the upper third. The other two thirds are occupied by the emblem: a golden, scale-less snake coiled round and biting its tail. Inside the circle are seven seven-point steel stars representing the Ursa Major constellation. The cartouche bears the words “QUIS CONTRA NOS?”, which is part of the motto: “SI SPIRITUS PRO NOBIS / QUIS CONTRA NOS?”, inspired by a phrase from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans.1

The Ouroboros (Greek Ουροβόρος, from ουροβόρος όφις “tail-devouring snake”) is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon swallowing its own tail and forming a circle. The Ouroboros often represents self-reflexivity or cyclicality, especially in the sense of something constantly re-creating itself, the eternal return, and other things perceived as cycles that begin anew as soon as they end. It can also represent the idea of primordial unity related to something existing in or persisting from the beginning with such force or qualities it cannot be extinguished. The Ouroboros is often associated with Gnosticism, and Hermeticism.2



1. Source: http://guide.supereva.it/astronomia/interventi/2002/01/86621.shtml 2. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouroboros

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | The League of Fiume

The League of Fiume One of the most interesting aspects of Fiume foreign policy is the attempt to set up an Anti-League of Nations, the League of Fiume, which took a stand against the great Imperial powers, in defence of colonized peoples. The project for the creation of a League of Oppressed People had deep roots in D’Annunzio’s thought, for he had conceived of his Fiuman enterprise in “universal” terms almost from the beginning. Il Comandante was not content to see the scope of his action limited to the city of Fiume, and he had established contacts with other foreign movements very early on. [...] The guiding spirit of the Lega di Fiume was Léon Kochnitzky, the Belgian poet who had come to Fiume late in the fall of 1919, left the city during the crisis of December, and then returned in January to become the head of the Ufficio Relazioni Esteriori. This Fiuman “foreign office”, acting with very little money and only a handful of men, attempted to enlist the support of foreign movements – and foreign powers – on behalf of the Fiuman “cause”. At first Kochnitzky (with the assistance of Eugenio Coselschi, Ludovico Toeplitz, Giovanni Bonmartini, Henry Furst, and others) was content to gather statements of support from the representatives of movements sympathetic to D’Annunzio. By early spring there was abundant evidence that an “anti-League of Nations” would be able to count upon a wide range of support, and Kochnitzky decided to request the creation of a formal organization. There was good reason to be optimistic about the league as one learns from a long series of memoranda that Kochnitzky prepared for D’Annunzio during the last week of March and the first half of April, listing the nations and movements that were either already committed to the project or that were expected to join the cause in short order.1 Kochnitzky saw the league as the [the aim of the League is to] vehicle for shattering the old “bring together in a compact order and establishing a world formation the forces of all the governed by the principles expounded oppressed peoples of the earth: in “Italy and Life”. It was, then, part peoples, nations, races, etc, of the sharp turn to the Left that etc, and use this to combat characterized the policies of the and triumph over the The New York Times Command during this period, and New York, 9 October 1919. oppressors and imperialists, Kochnitzky significantly maintained who aim to impose their that it was essential to acquire the financial might on the most support of the Soviet Union sacred sentiments of men: for the Lega. He considered this faith, love for one’s country, inevitable, claiming that Communist and individual and social Russia, “like all spiritually alive dignity” .2 elements of our time,” could not fail to recognize the value of the Léon Kochnitzky new “International”. Further, Kochnitzky urged D’Annunzio to support the Hungarian Communists and to issue an attack against Horthy’s The New York Times New York, 12 December 1919. regime. Such a stance would demonstrate the principles of “Fiumanism” upon which the new league would rest. Similarly indicative of Kochnitzky’s conception of the Lega is a statement in a note to Il Comandante on 29 March: “While the presence of representatives of the Montenegrin Court seems scarcely desirable in Fiume for various reasons, it would instead be useful if one or more leaders of the Montenegrin insurrection against Serbia attended [...]”. 

1. Michael Arthur Ledeen, D’Annunzio:The First Duce, Piscataway, Transaction Publishers, 2002, pp. 177-179. 2. De Felice, D’Annunzio politico 1918-1938, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 1978, p. 73.

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | The League of Fiume

It is crucial to stress that Kochnitzky’s conception of the Lega di Fiume was of a piece with the design for the Republic of the Carnaro. Both I. – Representatives of oppressed peoples: Fiume of Italy, the Islands, committed the Command to an Dalmatia, Albania, German Austria, Montenegro, Croatia, German alliance with radical socialist Irredentists now under Poland, Czecho-Slovakia, France and Italy (with forces, and both demonstrated reservations: autonomy) and the Pseudo-League of Nations, Catalonia, D’Annunzio’s willingness to embrace Malta, Gibraltar, Ireland, the Flemish. the fundamental tenets of the Islam, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, European Left. Consequently, the Mesopotamia, India, Persia, Afghanistan. India, Burma, China, Korea, The plans for the league were subject Philippines, Hawaii, Panama, Cuba, Puerto Rico. to the same pressures as the plans for the Carta del Carnaro: as the Oppressed races: The Chinese in California, the Blacks of America. internal position of the Command was weakened by the attacks of The Israeli problem. the National Council, and when attempts to ally with Socialists failed II. – Representatives of the countries unjustly damaged by the Treaty of (whether within Italy or on EuropeVersailles: Russia, Romania, Belgium, Portugal, Siam, Germany, Bulgaria, wide scale, as in the case of the talks Turkey, The Holy See. with Vodovosoff), the project was threatened. Kochnitzky was aware III. – Delegations of parties and groups sympathizing with “Fiumanism”, of these problems, and explicitly 3 mainly Italian, French, English and American. linked the destiny of the league to the political situation in Fiume: “I know very well,” he told Il Comandante on 29 March, “that we can run into grave difficulties, given the internal situation in Fiume, and the numerous expulsions of the working-class elements ...” With genuinely global aspirations, the League of Fiume aimed to unite all of the following:

Léon Kochnitzky

Léon Kochnitzky.

Léon Kochnitzky was a Belgian musician and man of letters. During the Fiume episode he was appointed to establish contacts with the French press, as head of the URE, the Office for External Relations. He was the guiding spirit of the Lega di Fiume, an “anti-League of Nations” the aim of which was to “bring together in a compact formation the forces of all the oppressed peoples of the earth: peoples, nations, races, etc, etc, and use this to combat and triumph over the oppressors and imperialists, who (like the British Empire, for example) aim to impose their financial might on the most sacred sentiments of men: faith, love for one’s country, and individual and social dignity”. Buoyed up by left wing revolutionary ideas, he supported the Soviet councils and, like Mario Carli, found himself in opposition to the monarchic, nationalist fringe in Fiume. He later became a talented art critic. Like Furst he was possibly excessive in the expression of his revolutionary ideas with D’Annunzio, and this led to various misunderstandings over the Fiume experience.4



3. De Felice, D’Annunzio politico 1918-1938, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 1978, p. 73.) and Wikipedia, http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leone_Kochnitzky 4. Ibid, pp. 73-74.

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www.reakt.org/fiume

Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | The League of Fiume

The league was placed in serious jeopardy by the events of early April, and by Easter, Kochnitzky’s messages to D’Annunzio were tinged with apprehension. On Easter Day he wrote: “I hope the League of Fiume will not give the world the grotesque spectacle of the ‘League of Nations’: impotence-indecision”. But the grandiose plans of the Belgian poet could not survive the shock of the first half of April, and the League of Fiume slowly disappeared, at least in the form Kochnitzky had conceived it.5

 The New York Times, New York, 12 January 1920.

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3. Michael Arthur Ledeen, D’Annunzio:The First Duce, Piscataway,Transaction Publishers, 2002, pp. 177-179.


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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | The League of Fiume

“I made contact with all the discontented in various countries around the world: with Zagloul Pascià in Egypt, not yet Prime Minister but head of the Fellah party; with Kemal Pacha, the powerful head of the Young Turks, who looked set to take power imminently. In Fiume we founded L’Anti-Société des Nations, in opposition to the iniquitous Treaty of Versailles”.6

Henry Furst (1893 – 1967)

LudovicoToeplitz de Grand Ry Henry Furst.

The New York Times New York, 20 April 1920.

Ludovico Toeplitz de Grand Ry.

Ludovico Toeplitz de Grand Ry was an Italian film producer. He attempted, unsuccessfully, to obtain funding for the Fiume undertaking through his father Giuseppe, a Polish Jewish banker and financial officer of the Banca Commerciale Italiana. Another polyglot, Toeplitz was joint head of the URE (Office for External Relations) with Kochnitzky.7

Henry Furst, known as “the Cardinal”, or “the last Don Quixote”, was an American theatre director, writer, literary critic and translator, of German origins. With fluent spoken and written English, Italian, French and German, he was a Minister of the Italian Regency of Carnaro in 1919, when he convinced Gabriele D’Annunzio to recognize the Republic of Ireland before the British King did. Radically left wing, he was convinced that communist society could triumph on a global level, and attempted to influence D’Annunzio’s decisions, with the help of Léon Kochnitzky.8

 The New York Times New York, 29 April 1920.

6. Ludovico Toeplitz, Ciak a chi tocca, Milano, Edizioni Milano Nuova, 1964, p. 49. 7. Source: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impresa_di_Fiume#cite_note-25 8. Source: http://digilander.libero.it/culturaviva/furst.htm

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | The League of Fiume

www.reakt.org/fiume

Whitney Warren (1864 – 1943) The New York Times New York, 9 October 1919.

The New York Times New York, 16 August 1920.

Whitney Warren was an American architect, co-founder – together with Charles D.Wetmore – of Warren and Wetmore, a firm that had one of the most extensive practices of its time and was known for the designing of large hotels. After World War I they were entrusted with the reconstruction of the historic library of the Univ. of Louvain, Belgium, which had been destroyed by the Germans, who again demolished it in 1940. In October 1919 Warren went to Fiume and offered his services to Captain Gabriele D’Annunzio. In Whitney Warren. mid August 1920 D’Annunzio and the National Council of Fiume appointed the eminent architect their representative in America.

Harukichi Shimoi Harukichi Shimoi was a Japanese writer who founded the magazine Sakura (Naples 1920). From 1921 to 1926 he was professor of Japanese at the Istituto Universitario Orientale in Naples. Sakura translated the works of Japanese poets and writers. His diary of the Fiume experience contains photos of events, including one of him in Ardito uniform.9 The New York Times New York, 9 February 1920.

Harukichi Shimoi in Ardito uniform.



9. Source: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impresa_di_Fiume#cite_note-28

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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | Bloody Christmas

www.reakt.org/fiume

Bloody Christmas When Giovanni Giolitti returned to power in 1920, and the Treaty of Rapallo was signed, the legionnaires’ subsequent declaration of war against Italy was answered by a bombardment and troops led by General Enrico Caviglia attacking the city on 24 December. The operation terminated on 31 December with the surrender of the occupants, and the timing of the battle led D’Annunzio to christen the episode “Bloody Christmas”. The conflict caused numerous victims, including 22 legionnaires, 17 Italian soldiers and five civilians. Italian troops entered the city of Fiume in January 1921.1 Summing up the undertaking after the fact in his autobiographic novel Trillirì, Mario Carli wrote: “[…] we realized (but without remorse) that our dream was too great for the scores of mediocre people around us: a feat of energy and imagination that so many followers professing their loyalty had not understood a word of ”.2 The legionnaires were furious with the Italian government, and in their rage they ripped the Italian insignia from their uniforms, putting Fiume stamps in place of their stars. In Italy no-one acted on our behalf, and the parties which had helped us up till then did nothing for us. The whole of Italy was willing to stand by and see us massacred. The troops which attacked on Christmas Eve had been stirred up with alcohol and the promise of rewards. The government in Rome took advantage of the Christmas holiday, when no newspapers would be published, to carry out the operation undisturbed. On our radio the Commander broadcast news of the sacrifice to the entire world, while it was happening.3

“The Honourable Giolitti, in documents issued directly by the state, described the events in Fiume in extremely violent terms on several occasions. The legionnaires were presented as a horde of bandits, good for nothings only interested in gratifying the basest, most bestial of human urges: power, money and possessing many women. D’Annunzio, the head of the legionnaires, was depicted as a madman, a histrionic enemy of the homeland and an instigator of civil war, opposed to all human and civil laws. To further its own ends, the government roused the most intimate and profound sentiments in the collective consciousness: the sanctity of the family violated, fraternal blood coldly spilled, the integrity and liberty of the people left at the mercy of a mob of drunken, lust-crazed soldiers, girlhood contaminated by the most wanton sexual urges. By planting these ideas the government managed to achieve a near perfect consensus: public opinion was manipulated with unprecedented ease”. Antonio Gramsci.



1. Source: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natale_di_Sangue 2. Giovanni Savegnago, critical review of the book by Claudia Salaris Alla festa della rivoluzione. Artisti e libertari con D’Annunzio a Fiume, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2002. Source: http://www.pavonerisorse.to.it/storia900/libri/fiume.rtf 3. Giovanni Comisso, Le mie stagioni, Edizioni di Treviso – Libreria Canova, 1951, p. 111. 4. Antonio Gramsci, “Natale di sangue”, L’Ordine Nuovo, Turin, 6 January 1921. Source: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impresa_di_Fiume

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Janez Janťa - Il porto dell’amore | Bloody Christmas

The New York Times New York, 24 November 1920.

The New York Times New York, 2 December 1920.

The New York Times New York, 8 December 1920.

The New York Times New York, 9 December 1920.

The New York Times New York, 11 December 1920.

The New York Times New York, 3 December 1920.

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The New York Times New York, 10 December 1920.

The New York Times New York, 13 December 1920.


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Janez Janša - Il porto dell’amore | Bloody Christmas

The New York Times New York, 27 December 1920.

Bloody Christmas, Fiume, 24-28 December 1920.

The New York Times New York, 28 December 1920.

Bloody Christmas, Fiume, 24-28 December 1920.

The New York Times New York, 30 December 1920.

Bloody Christmas, Fiume, 24-28 December 1920.

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Janez Janša Il porto dell’amore Galerija Škuc, 2009 Installation (detail) Photo: Miha Fras Courtesy: Aksioma

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Janez Janša is a conceptual artist, performer, and producer who graduated from

the Academy of Fine Arts of Milan, Italy. His work has strong social connotations and is characterized by an intermedia approach. He is co-founder and director of Aksioma, Institute for Contemporary Art in Ljubljana. His first public artistic project was the urban installation I Need Money to Be an Artist, which was presented first in Ljubljana, Slovenia (1996) and then in Venice, Italy (1997). In 2001, he established (with I. Štromajer) Problemarket.com – the Problem Stock Exchange, a virtual platform on which shares of companies dealing with problems are floated. The following year, Janša produced machinaZOIS, an electro-mechanical patron that financially supports contemporary artists and artistic productions. He then started development of DemoKino –Virtual Biopolitical Agora, a virtual parliament that, through topical filmic parables, provides the voters with the opportunity to decide on issues that are becoming the essence of modern politics – the questions of life. In 2005, Janša established the platform RE:akt!, which examines the media's role in manipulating perceptions and creating (post)modern historical myths and contemporary mythology. Parallel to these socio-political projects, Janša investigated the field of virtual reality and neurofeedback technologies, and from 2000 to 2002, he developed and performed (with Darij Kreuh) Brainscore – Incorporeal Communication, a performance for two operators acting in a virtual reality environment through their avatars. Between 2004 and 2007, he lead the project Brainloop, an interactive performance platform that allows the subject to navigate a virtual space merely by imagining specific motor commands. Janez Janša is co-editor with Ivana Ivković of the textual and pictorial reader DemoKino –Virtual Biopolitical Agora (Maska, 2005), with Janez Janša and Janez Janša of the book NAME - Readymade (Moderna galerija Ljubljana, 2008) and with Antonio Caronia and Domenico Quaranta of RE:akt! - Reconstruction, Re-enactment, Re-reporting (FPeditions, 2009). For further information: www.aksioma.org

Domenico Quaranta is a contemporary art critic and curator based in Italy. His research focuses on the impact of the current techno-social developments on the arts, with a specific focus on art in networked spaces, from the Internet to virtual worlds. As an art critic, he is a regular contributor to Flash Art magazine; his essays, reviews and interviews have appeared in many magazines, newspapers and websites. His first book, entitled NET ART 1994-1998: La vicenda di Äda’web was published in 2004; he also co-edited the book GameScenes. Art in the Age ofVideogames (2006) with Matteo Bittanti, and has contributed to a number of books and publications. Since 2008 he has edited a series of books on New Media Art for the Italian publisher FPeditions. He has curated and co-curated a number of exhibitions, including: Connessioni Leggendarie. Net.art 1995-2005 (Milan 2005); GameScenes (Turin 2005); Radical Software (Turin 2006); Holy Fire. Art of the Digital Age (Brussels 2008); For God’s Sake! (Nova Gorica, 2008); RE:akt! | Reconstruction, Re-enactment, Re-reporting (Bucharest – Ljubljana – Rijeka 2009); Expanded Box (ARCO Art Fair, Madrid 2009); Hyperlucid (Prague Biennial, Prague 2009). He lectures internationally and teaches “Net Art” at the Accademia di Brera in Milan. For further information: www.domenicoquaranta.net


In this crazed, despicable world, Fiume is now the symbol of liberty; in this crazed, despicable world, there is one pure thing: Fiume; one truth: Fiume; one love: Fiume! Fiume is like a splendid lighthouse shining in a sea of baseness ... (Gabriele D’Annunzio - 1919)

Il porto dell'amore  

1919. At the end of the First World War, a large part of Italian society perceived the victory as “mutilated”. Emblematic of this dissatisfa...

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