Émile Zola

This French Naturalist and I may not seem to have a lot in common, but his works had a very early and formative influence on me. It's like this crazy mind meld, because he had all these Futurist ideas before Futurism even existed, so it's like he was a Futurist in the past.

Anyway, Zola loved the idea of the mechanized human—a personal favorite idea of mine. Imagine if people were like cars and weren't all messed up with icky human emotion! Wouldn't that be great?

Zola's La Bête Humaine (The Beast Within) is all about people and machines getting all mixed up—like Freaky Friday, but with a train or something. People become things, and objects have human emotion. Why didn't I think of that?

Abbaye de Créteil

This wacky group of Utopianists all lived together in what I guess they considered, well, a utopia. It only lasted about two years, but I visited them a few times and was really into their ideas about freedom and friendship. It was just a jolly brotherhood of young painters, poets, and musicians (no one over 25, please).

These peeps were idealists who hated money and just wanted to create and live away from the greed and fast pace of the city. It may seem crazy that I would be into any group that rejected fast stuff or anything associated with the urban, but these artists were just so cool and all about creating wild art.

Plus, they liked typography.

Marconi's Wireless

Not exactly a book or an author, but bear with me, people.

I am so into technology, I would have been one of the ten people who love Google Glass. But I came a little early for that—my big thrill was the work of Italian inventor named Guglielmo Marconi, whose wireless telegraphy allowed radio waves to travel long distances. Did someone say modern? This invention represented some serious human evolution.

Anything that brings humans and machines together and makes things move faster is great, I say. I actually saw my art as an aesthetic version of this kind of high-tech innovation. How, exactly, I'm not sure, and most critics don't buy it, but both wireless technology and my work functioned by means of sound. That's a connection, right?

Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

I just love Jules Verne. He was so modern—I mean how about Captain Nemo's state-of-the-art submarine? I have one word for you: speed. That thing covered some leagues—twenty thousand, in fact.

All of Jules's mechanized gizmos really inspired me. And the idea of man as an unstoppable conqueror? Love it! If I were a submarine captain, I would be just like Nemo—embracing the modern, full-speed ahead.

Paul Adam's La Morale de Sports

I give credit where credit is due, and this guy came up with a positively inspiring book about some of the fundamental principles of technology. In short, he loved cars. He would have made wicked car commercials because had a pretty convincing idea that the car drives the man, and not the other way around. Like me, he found the whole mechanistic modernity thing totally mind-scrambling and totally awesome.

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