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"The beginnings of Dada were not the beginnings of an art but of a disgust." - Tristan Tzara
last updated June 10th, 2004 and is permanently morphing...
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Dada or dada (dä´dä)
A European artistic and literary movement (1916-1923) that flouted conventional aesthetic and cultural values by producing works marked by nonsense, travesty, and incongruity.
[French dada, hobbyhorse,
Dada, of baby-talk origin.]
- Da´daism noun
- Da´daist adjective & noun
- Da´dais´tic adjective
Dada, artistic and literary movement reflecting a protest against all aspects of Western culture. The term dada, French for "hobbyhorse," is said to have been selected randomly as the name of the movement. Romanian-born writer Tristan Tzara, German writer Hugo Ball, Alsatian-born artist Jean Arp, and other intellectuals living in Zürich, Switzerland, originated dada in 1916.
In expressing the negation of all contemporary
aesthetic and social values, dadaists frequently used artistic and literary
methods that were deliberately incomprehensible. These were often designed
to shock or bewilder, in order to provoke a reconsideration of accepted
aesthetic values. Dadaists used novel materials, including discarded objects
found in the streets, and new methods, such as allowing chance to determine
the elements of their works. Notable dadaists also include American artist Man
Ray, French artists Marcel
Duchamp and Francis Picabia, and German artist Kurt Schwitters.DadaDADA
doubts everything. Dada is an armadillo.
Everything is Dada, too. Beware of Dada. Anti-dadaism is a disease: selfkleptomania,
man's normal condition, is DADA. But the real dadas are against DADA.
Tristan Tzara (1896-1963), Rumanian-born French Dadaist. "Dada Manifesto on Feeble Love and Bitter Love," sct. 7 (first published in La Vie des Lettres, no. 4, Paris, 1921; repr. in The Dada Painters and Poets, ed. by Robert Motherwell, 1951).
Dada hurts. Dada does not jest, for the reason
that it was experienced by revolutionary men and not by philistines who
demand that art be a decoration for the mendacity of their own emotions.
. . . I am firmly convinced that all art will become dadaistic in the course
because from Dada proceeds the perpetual urge for its renovation.
Richard Huelsenbeck (1892-1974), German poet, psychoanalyst. "Dada Lives," in Transition, no. 25 (Autumn 1936; tr. in The Dada Painters and Poets: An Anthology, ed. by Robert Motherwell, 1951).
. . .a Dada exhibition. Another one! What's the
matter with everyone wanting to make a museum piece out of Dada? Dada was
a bomb . . . can you imagine anyone, around half a century after a bomb
explodes, wanting to collect the pieces, sticking it together and displaying
Max Ernst (1891-1976), German painter, poet. Quoted in: C. W. E. Bigsby, Dada and Surrealism, ch. 1 (1972).
No more painters, no more scribblers, no more musicians,
no more sculptors, no more religions, no more royalists, no more radicals,
no more imperialists, no more anarchists, no more socialists, no more communists,
no more proletariat, no more democrats, no more republicans, no more bourgeois,
no more aristocrats, no more arms, no more police, no more nations, an
end at last to all this stupidity, nothing left, nothing at all, nothing,
Louis Aragon (1897-1982), French poet. "Manifesto of the Dada Movement," paper, read at the second Dada event, 5 Feb. 1920, Salon des Indépendents, Paris (first published in Littérature, Paris, May 1920; repr. in Maurice Nadeau, The History of Surrealism, ch. 3, 1964).
When Data Became Dada
If information was no longer the known statistics of dead data but fresh experience -- spontaneous, unknown and alive -- then twentieth century culture began with its creative assimilation. What the scientist finds out through thinking, the artist discovers through new ways of perceiving, hearing and feeling. While Einstein made scientific history with his theory of relativity and Heisenberg with his uncertainty principle, the Surrealist "dada" revolution (Dali, Cocteau, Satie, etc.), James Joyce's omnicultural _Finnegan's Wake_, and the music of Jazz brought the living experience to the people. Both scientists and artists recognized this dynamic shift from a "reality" that was once "predictable, solid and set" to one that seemed wilder, more plural, malleable and unfathomable. To those minds awakening from the slumber of nineteenth century "certainty" trance, our so-called "reality" entered the realm of immeasurable possibilities with countless interpretations. Any culture failing to assimilate this transformation in perception, never enters the twentieth century let alone, the twenty-first.
Alli - _Occulture: The Secret Marriage of Art and Magick_
book _Dada 1916-1966 - Documents of the International Dada Movement_ selected and commented by Hans Richter
Hugo Ball, poet, writer, philosopher, theatre director, together with Emmy Hennings, who later became his wife, founded the Cabaret Voltaire at Spiegelgasse No.1, Zurich, on 5th February 1916. This was the birthplace of Dada. Across the street in Spiegelgasse No. 12, lived Vladimir Llych Lenin. At first the Cabaret Voltaire was a literary demonstration. Emmy Hennings sang and Ball accompanied her on the piano. He advertised in the press, inviting the young artists of Zurich. They came. Among them were Tristan Tzara, Marcel Duchamp and Georges Janco from Bucarest.
Tzara was a fiery young poet, who recited his own and others' poems which, as Ball remarked "he rather endearingly fished out of the various pockets of his coat."
Although Marcel Janco was not a literary man, he took an active part in all performances. Together with Marcel Slodki, he supplied the posters for the Cabaret and with Max Oppenheimer he produced the decorations and particularly the masks for the Dada dances, which were a wild yet enigmatic addition to the performances.
It is remarkable that to this very day it cannot be determined what the name of this movement signifies nor who invented it. Some assert that the word was discovered by blindly opening a dictionary, while Hugo Ball himself leaves the question open. It means hobby-horse or rocking horse in French; for Germans it smacks of silly naivete. According to the newspapers, the tail of a holy cow is called "Dada" by the Kru Africans; and in a certain part of Italy, dice and mothers are called Dada.
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