Nothingists [Nichevoki]

Fragments from two manifestos, both 1920, 2'44" and 0'15"
Voice – Galina Peshkova, Ernest Peshkov
Recording and Composition – Miguel Molina
Production Date – 2007

The Nothingists [Nichevoki] was a group created at the end of 1919 in Moscow, developing its activities further in the provincial city of Rostov-on-Don, echoing the internationalization of the Dada movement, although they didn't like using that word because in Russian "da, da" means "yes, yes", contradicting their nihilism. This attitude of denial led them to confront both traditional poetry and the positivism of the other avant-garde movements which , in their first manifesto of 1920 included in this recording (track 27), are all represented in a funeral procession of "dead poetry" (to the death knell of a copper bell) which the "old, grey men, veterans and invalids of poetry" attended, just behind the young "insolents of dead poetry" -" the futurists of all colours, the imaginists, the expressionists, groups, little groups and tiny groups. " This manifesto was signed by Nichevokov's Presidium: M. Agababov, A. Ranov and L. Sukharebsky. The Nothingists denied the materiality of the word, and all kinds of artificial instrumentation that would mask poetry (such as meter and rhyme). In the face of the world crisis caused by the war, it was the pacifists and the nothingists who questioned it, inviting a collective call of "insurrection on behalf of nothing" so that poetry could be realized in life, without falsification. To avoid the possible diffusion of an expired poem or possible falsifications of their proposals, they created a kind of sanctioning revolutionary tribunal in Moscow which they called the "Creative Bureau of Nothingists" (set up by Boris Zemenkov, Riurik Rok and Sergey Sadikov) alongside a publishing house they called The Hobo, but it was in Rostov that they drew up one of their most controversial manifestos, the Decree about the Nothingists of Poetry (August 1920), signed by Suzanne Mar, Elena Nikolaeva, Alexandr Ranov, Riurik Rok and Oleg Erberg. In 6 points they criticised the artifices oftraditional poetry and the world crisis due to the war, announcing that "In poetry there is not hing; only Nothingists" (Decree No. 5) and that it is from that annulment of poetry that "Life goes on to the realization of our slogans" (Decree No. 6), then issuing four calls to noth ing: "Write nothing! Read nothing! Say nothing! Print nothing!" (included in this recording track 28). An attitude that explains the minimal number of publications by this group over their short period of existence. They stopped all activity in 1923.

Decree About The Nothingists Of The Poetry (fragment)

Write nothing!
Read nothing!
Say nothing!
Print nothing!

[English Translation by John E. Bowlt]

Russian Futurists from the GLM Collection (1920-1959)
Sound Experiments in The Russian Avant-Garde (1908-1942)