Dadá or Dadaísm, movement that embraces all the artistic goods and it is the expression of a nihilistic protest against the entirety of the aspects of the western culture, especially against the existent militarism during the World I War and immediately later. It is said that the given term (French word that means toy hobbyhorse) it was chosen by the editor, essayist and Rumanian poet Tristan Tzara, when opening a dictionary at random in one of the meetings that the group took place in the cabaret Voltaire of Zurich. The movement Dadá was founded in 1916 by Tzara, the German writer Hugo Ball, the artist alsaciano Jean Arp and other intellectuals that lived in Zurich (Switzerland), at the same time that a revolution took place in New York against the art conventional liderada for Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp and Francis Picabia. In Paris it would inspire the surrealismo later. After the World I Guerra the movement extended toward Germany and many of the members of the group of Zurich united to the French dadaístas of Paris. In 1922 the group of Paris disintegrated.
With the purpose of expressing the rejection of all the social and aesthetic values of the moment, and all code type, the dadaístas frequently appealed to the use of deliberately incomprehensible artistic and literary methods that you/they leaned on in the absurd and irrational. Their theatrical representations and their manifestos looked for to impact or to leave perplexed to the public with the objective that this reconsidered the established aesthetic values. For they used it new materials, as those of waste found in the street, and new methods, as the inclusion of the chance to determine the elements of the works. The painter and German writer Kurt Schwitters highlighted for his collages carried out with used paper and other similar materials. The French artist Marcel Duchamp exposed as works of art average commercial products drying —un of bottles and an urinal—to those that you/he/she denominated ready-mades. Although the dadaístas used revolutionary techniques, their ideas against the norms were based on a deep belief, derived of the romantic tradition, in the humanity's intrinsic kindness when it has not been corrupted by the society.
As movement, the Dadá decayed in the decade of 1920 and some of
its members became outstanding figures of other modern artistic movements,
especially of the surrealism. To half of the decade of 1950 certain interest
arose in New York for the Dadá among the composers, writers and
artists that produced works of characteristic again similar.
Hugo Ball, 'Dada Manifesto'
(read at the first public Dada soiree, Zurich, July 14th 1916)
Dada is a new tendency in art. One can tell this from the fact that until
now nobody knew anything about it, and tomorrow everyone in Zurich will
be talking about it. Dada comes from the dictionary. It is terribly simple.
In French it means "hobby horse". In German it means "good-bye", "Get off
my back", "Be seeing you sometime". In Romanian: "Yes, indeed, you are
right, that's it. But of course, yes, definitely, right". And so forth.
An International word. Just a word, and the word a movement. Very easy to understand. Quite terribly simple. To make of it an artistic tendency must mean that one is anticipating complications. Dada psychology, dada Germany cum indigestion and fog paroxysm, dada literature, dada bourgeoisie, and yourselves, honoured poets, who are always writing with words but never writing the word itself, who are always writing around the actual point. Dada world war without end, dada revolution without beginning, dada, you friends and also-poets, esteemed sirs, manufacturers, and evangelists. Dada Tzara, dada Huelsenbeck, dada m'dada, dada m'dada dada mhm, dada dera dada, dada Hue, dada Tza.
How does one achieve eternal bliss? By saying dada. How does one become famous? By saying dada. With a noble gesture and delicate propriety. Till one goes crazy. Till one loses consciousness. How can one get rid of everything that smacks of journalism, worms, everything nice and right, blinkered, moralistic, europeanised, enervated? By saying dada. Dada is the world soul, dada is the pawnshop. Dada is the world's best lily-milk soap. Dada Mr Rubiner, dada Mr Korrodi. Dada Mr Anastasius Lilienstein.
In plain language: the hospitality of the Swiss is something to be profoundly appreciated. And in questions of aesthetics the key is quality.
I shall be reading poems that are meant to dispense with conventional language, no less, and to have done with it. Dada Johann Fuchsgang Goethe. Dada Stendhal. Dada Dalai Lama, Buddha, Bible, and Nietzsche. Dada m'dada. Dada mhm dada da. It's a question of connections, and of loosening them up a bit to start with. I don't want words that other people have invented. All the words are other people's inventions. I want my own stuff, my own rhythm, and vowels and consonants too, matching the rhythm and all my own. If this pulsation is seven yards long, I want words for it that are seven yards long. Mr Schulz's words are only two and a half centimetres long.
It will serve to show how articulated language comes into being. I let the vowels fool around. I let the vowels quite simply occur, as a cat miaows . . . Words emerge, shoulders of words, legs, arms, hands of words. Au, oi, uh. One shouldn't let too many words out. A line of poetry is a chance to get rid of all the filth that clings to this accursed language, as if put there by stockbrokers' hands, hands worn smooth by coins. I want the word where it ends and begins. Dada is the heart of words.
Each thing has its word, but the word has become a thing by itself. Why shouldn't I find it? Why can't a tree be called Pluplusch, and Pluplubasch when it has been raining? The word, the word, the word outside your domain, your stuffiness, this laughable impotence, your stupendous smugness, outside all the parrotry of your self-evident limitedness. The word, gentlemen, is a public concern of the first importance.
Hugo Ball, from 'Kandinsky' (a lecture given at the Galerie Dada, April 7 1917)
Three things have shaken the
art of our time to its depths, have given it a new face, and have prepared
it for a mighty new upsurge: the disappearance of religion induced by critical
philosophy, the dissolution of the atom in science, and the massive expansion
of population in present-day Europe.
God is dead. A world disintegrated. I am dynamite. World history splits into two parts. There is an epoch before me and an epoch after me. Religion, science, morality—phenomena that originated in the states of dread known to primitive peoples. An epoch disintegrates. A thousand-year-old culture disintegrates. There are no columns and supports, no foundations any more—they have all been blown up. Churches have become castles in the clouds. Convictions have become prejudices. There are no more perspectives in the moral world. Above is below, below is above. The transvaluation of values came to pass. Christianity was struck down. The principles of logic, of centrality, unity and reason were unmasked as postulates of a power-craving theology. The meaning of the world disappeared. The purpose of the world—its reference to a supreme being who keeps the world together—disappeared. Chaos erupted. Tumult erupted. The world showed itself to be a blind juxtapositioning and opposing of uncontrolled forces. Man lost his divine countenance, became matter, chance, an aggregate animal, the lunatic product of thoughts quivering abruptly and ineffectually. Man lost the special position that reason had guaranteed him . . .
The artists of these times have turned inward. Their life is a struggle against madness. They are disrupted, fragmented, dissevered, if they fail to find in their work for a moment equilibrium, balance, necessity, harmony . . . The strongest affinity shown in works of art today is with the dread masks of primitive peoples, and with the plague and terror masks of the Peruvians, Australian aborigines, and Negroes. The artists of this age face the world as ascetics of their own spirituality. They live deeply buried lives. They are forerunners, prophets of a new era. Only they can understand the tonalities of their language. They stand in opposition to society, as did heretics in the Middle Ages. Their works are simultaneously philosophical, political, and prophetic. They are forerunners of an entire epoch, a new total culture. They are hard to understand, and one achieves an understanding of them only if one changes the inner basis—if one is prepared to break with a thousand-year-old tradition. You will not understand them if you believe in God and not in chaos. The artists of this age turn against themselves and against art . . . They seek what is essential and what is spiritual, what has not yet been profaned . . .
TRISTAN TZARA, from 'Dada
Manifesto on Free Love and Bitter Love', (c1920)
It seems that this exists: more logical, very logical, too logical, less logical, not very logical, really logical, fairly logical.
Well then, draw the consequences.
Now think of the creatures you love most.
Tell me the number and I'll tell you the lottery.
TO MAKE A DADAIST POEM
Take a newspaper.
Take some scissors.
Choose from this paper an article of the length you want to make your poem.
Cut out the article.
Next carefully cut out each of the words that makes up this article and put them all in a bag.
Next take out each cutting one after the other.
Copy conscientiously in the order in which they left the bag.
The poem will resemble you.
And there you are—an infinitely original author of charming sensibility, even though unappreciated by the vulgar herd.
TRISTAN TZARA, from 'Monsieur
Antipyrine's Manifesto', 1916
DADA remains within the framework of European weaknesses, it's still shit, but from now on we want to shit in different colours so as to adorn the zoo of art with all the flags of all the consulates. We are circus ringmasters and we can be found whistling amongst the winds of fairgrounds, in conventions, prostitutions, theatres, realities, feelings, restaurants, ohoho, bang bang.