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Brutalism is a literary movement formed in 2006 by three writers from the north of England (Tony O’Neill, Adelle Stripe and Ben Myers), and may have been the first literary movement to be launched via the social networking site Myspace where it announced itself with the following manifesto:
“Brutalism calls for writing that touches upon levels of raw honesty that is a lacking from most mainstream fiction. We cannot simply sit around waiting to be discovered — we would rather do it ourselves. Total control, total creativity. The Brutalists see ourselves as a band who have put down their instruments and picked up their pens and scalpels instead. The only maxim we adhere to is an old punk belief, which we have bastardized for our own means: Here’s a laptop. Here’s a spell-check. Now write a book..”
Brutalist works include Digging the Vein, Down and Out on Murder Mile, Seizure Wet Dreams, and Songs from the Shooting Gallery by Tony O’Neill, Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid and Cigarettes in Bed by Adelle Stripe, and The Book of Fuck, Richard: A Novel and Pig Iron by Ben Myers.
Their debut publication Nowhere Fast was released as a chapbook on Captains of Industry Press in 2007.
The Brutalists are affiliated with the Offbeat generation, a loose association of like-minded writers working across different styles but united by their opposition to a mainstream publishing industry driven by marketing departments.
Brutalism 2 Cheap Thrills was released in summer 2009 as part of Mineshaft Magazine, where a new collection of Brutalist poems featured alongside unpublished work by Robert Crumb and Charles Bukowski.
This largely gave way to structural expressionism as steel structures became more advanced and viable. Wood-imprinted concrete is still very popular in landscaping especially in some of the western European countries.
Exposed concrete surfaces can be varied with different formwork shetting (e.g. board shuttering, smooth formwork, form liner, form moulds, filter fleeces) or with surface processing techniques (e.g. washed concrete surfaces, photo concrete, acidified surfaces). Particularly high quality poured concrete, achieved by leaving enough room between the formwork and the reinforcing bars for the concrete to flow freely, is called Sichtbeton in German, cemento a vista in Italian. This translates roughly into “concrete for viewing.”
Brutalism as an architectural philosophy was often also associated with a socialist utopian ideology, which tended to be supported by its designers, especially Alison and Peter Smithson, near the height of the style. This style had a strong position in the architecture of European communist countries from the mid-1960s to the late 1980s (Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, GDR, USSR, Yugoslavia). In Czechoslovakia brutalism was presented as an attempt to create a “national” but also “modern socialist” architectural style.