In 1965, the performance artist Yvonne Rainer wrote her No Manifesto. It demanded ‘No to virtuosity’, ‘No to spectacle’ and ‘No’ to many other things. In 2008, Rainer revisited it as part of the Serpentine Gallery’s ‘Manifesto Marathon’, balancing her former demands with provisos of a more realistic nature, such as ‘if at all possible’. This moderation of her radical 1960s document encapsulates the journey manifestos have taken since then.
Over twenty manifestos have been or will be published in 2020 and 2021, many by major publishers. Among others, we have Burn It Down! Feminist Manifestos for the Revolution; Manifesto for a Moral Revolution; Stop Reading the News: A Manifesto for a Happier, Calmer and Wiser Life; Menopause Manifesto; Feminism for the 99%: A Manifesto and The Monocle Manifesto for a Gentler Life.
Manifestos blossom during moments of societal upheaval. At different times, they have been written to challenge and provoke, to shock and confuse, to demand rights and to engender radical change on a local or global scale. The manifesto’s roots are in revolutionary thought, and within the manifesto is the spark