Monday, January 16, 2006

on DADA and its history

annotated: 2 articles from DADA

1. Lista, Marcella. ‘Raoul Hausmann’s Optophone” ‘Universal Language’ and the Intermedia’

Lista looks at Hausmann’s interest in creating a machine that would convert sounds into images and images into sound as part of his vision which included a ‘sensory revolution based on a haptic or touch-based perception of the world’ and a new art of light and sound (84). He wanted, through art and the use of electricity to convert light and sound, to form a new understanding of both history and modernity. ‘The Dadasoph’s [Hausmmann’s] appropriation of the raw materials of light and sound places the question of language at the core of physiological experience, understood as a ‘translation’ process carried out by the senses’ (91). As a forward-thinking artist, Hausmann is interested in sensorial effects in both literal and metaphorical ways; the technology of conversion was a means toward perceiving not only light and sound and language, but experience, in new ways.

2. Pierre, Arnauld. ‘The ‘Confrontation of Modern Values’: A Moral History of Dada in Paris’

Pierre here gives a narrative of the momentary coming together and the ultimate splitting of Dada from its contemporary other modernist ‘schools’. The essay begins with the organization of gatherings organized by Breton and others in 1922 intended to bring innovative artists together under an umbrella of common values. Although he notes that this may have been the beginning of the end, he spends time looking at the specific work of the various ‘schools’ and where they intersect with the idea of l’espirit nouveau—a unifying theme coming from Apoollinaire. Tzara though soon claimed Dada distinct from the others though at the time it ‘appeared to be less a movement with a specific identity than a consortium for ‘modern international activity’ (243) and was evident in the various journals and activities in which artists and styles mixed and mingled. Ultimately the rifts between artists and groups grew and Dada particularly refused ‘refused to be labeled ‘modern’’ as a question of survival (250) in part to distance itself from any sense of commercialism or consumerism in the practice of art. Eventually, Breton and others who had worked to unify the arts, decisively broke with Dada, Picabia recognized the loss of spirit and Dada’s move to become a ‘school’ (252), and whether or not aesthetics sometimes gave a common theme to the work, the unifying theme of l’espirit nouveau no longer held these groups together.

No comments: