Igor Terentiev (1892-1937)




Sound poem from Zdanevich's book anthology To Sofia Georgievna Melnikova: The Fantastic Tavern [Sofii Georgievne Melnikovoi. Fantasticheskii Kabachek], 1919, 0'30"
Voice – Ernest Peshkov
Recorded By, Engineer [Postproduction] – Miguel Molina
Production Date – 2007

Igor Gerasimovich Terent'ev or Terentiev (b. 1892 - d. 1937) was a poet and theatre director who founded the theatre group Radix and, with Alexei Kruchenykh and Ilia Zdanevich, the avant-garde group 41 Degrees. This group was called 41 Degrees because of its ambiguous character; it had many meanings - it was the geographic position of the parallel of Tiflis and the percentage of alcohol in vodka though, possibly, it was just a trans-rational word that signified "no meaning at all". This group had a futurist tendency but placed more emphasis on typographic innovations and trans-sense/non-sense language. As a manifesto by the group stated in 1919: 41 Degrees unifies left-wing futurism and affirms trans-reason as the mandatory form for the embodiment of art: "In particular, Terentiev insisted on these aspects, exclaiming, "there is no futurism ... without zaum!" and, "similar sound means similar meaning" - also claiming that everything was plagiarism, that "trans-reason was anal" and that zaum was a tangible basis for the foundation of Marxism. 41 Degrees' activities began in 1917 in the city of Tiflis (Georgia) and in particular in an avant-garde cabaret called The Fantastic Tavern or The Fantastic Little Inn [Fantastichesky kabachok] where in February 1918 they organized a kind of Future-University [Futurvseuchbishche] with various poetry readings and futurist theatre. The poem by Terentiev included in this recording is from one of those readings in The Fantastic Tavern and consists, as its name indicates, of an "Endless toast in honour of Sofia Georgievna" represented by a linking of zaum words, "word distortions" or "verbal associations" , with no pause between them, starting and ending with suspension points. The tribute in the poem is for Sofia Georgievna Melnikova, an actress in the Theatre of Miniatures who was a regular there and who took part in the recitations. They admired her, especially Ilia Zdanevich, who was in love with her. For that reason, a year later in 1919, he dedicated to her the anthological publication that included all of those who took part in the readings. Terenfev's buffoonish, parodying nature led him to write works such as Treatise on Total Indecency (1920) and others in his Laboratory of the New Theatre. He was arrested in 1931 and taken to a work camp on the White Sea-Baltic Sea Canal, though this didn't prevent him setting up a theatre company on the canal with thieves and prostitutes. The 41 Degrees group, although attached to futurism, is also considered to be a group with a Russian Dadaist orientation because of its random , provocative creation of non-sense. One of its contemporaries and .competitors, the poet T'itsian T'abidze (leader of the Blue Horn group, which the members of the 41st called the Blue Eggs) said that in 1918 "Dadaism was already a re
ality in Georgia".


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