BMW i8 Futurism Edition Celebrates Italian Art and Technology

The modern-day “Street Light”?

Custom shop Garage Italia, honoring 50 years of the BMW brand in Italy, has unveiled a colorful and dramatic take on the brand's traditions of technological innovation and collaboration with artists. Wearing a color-splashed wrap inspired by Italian painter Giacomo Balla's 1909 work titled "Street Light," the BMW i8 Futurism is both a nod to visionary art of the past and a vision of a dynamic technological future, as well as a signpost for what's to come in the future of mobility.

You may have heard some bespectacled socialite introduce herself to you at a recent cocktail party as a futurist. But in 1910, long before modern social scientists co-opted the term for their predictions about the future, Italian artists were inspired by the poet Filippo Marinetti to put together a technical manifesto of how to embrace on the painter's canvas the budding ideals of science, industry, and technology. Balla was a co-signer to the manifesto, and his work "Street Light," with its dizzying visuals and dynamic interplay of natural moonlight and artificial light, says a lot about how the world was changing in the early 20th century.

In more than 100 years, a lot has changed, but we're still pursuing a better future informed by the development of technology. The BMW i8 is maybe the best example of imagination and design coming into contact with cutting-edge futuristic technology, so it's a natural fit for the Futurism treatment. The BMW i8 is exotic, forward-thinking, and most of all, exciting. Carbon fiber tub, electric motors, butterfly doors, that faint dwooo when it starts up--all this makes us eager, not fearful, for the future of the sports car.

The BMW i8 Futurism Edition, perhaps not entirely by accident, has a passing resemblance to the BMW M3 GT2 art car created by Jeff Koons. Two artists, Cao Fei and John Baldessari, will spearhead the next pair of BMW M6 GT3 art cars, slated for 2017, so there are more hot, fast, and artistic rolling sculptures to await.

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