The term Dada was first coined by Tristan Tzara on Sunday, February 6, 1916, at 6pm in the Cafe de la Terrasse in Zurich, Switzerland. Hugo Ball, one of the founding members of Dada, felt compelled to record this historic fact in his Dada au grand air (translated to Dada in the great outdoors) which was published in 1921.
For these foundational artists, Dada was a new reality. A new reality that came into being out of the emerging degradation of life that was WWI. These Dada artists heard the sounds and noises of life being ripped from a state of ‘normalcy’ into a simultaneous muddle of screams, machine-made sounds of destructive rhythms, and modified fevers of death. This re-shaping of the cloth of life through the insanity of mechanized warfare welled up in the eyes of Tristan Tzara, Hugo Ball, Hans Arp, Richard Huelsenbeck, Marcel Janco, and other Dada practitioners which quickly turned into rage, grief, agony, and disdain for the leaders who took the Western World into a global conflict. Dada was not a game! Dada was a nonsensical expression in a non-sensical world but it was SERIOUS! It was Serious Art!
Hugo Ball published the following statement in Dadaland, 1948:
“Revolted by the butchery of the 1914 World War, we in Zurich devoted ourselves to the arts…We were seeking an art based on fundamentals, to cure the madness of the age, and a new order of things that would restore the balance between heaven and hell.”
Working our way through Covid-19 today, do you see life returning at some point to the “normalcy” of 2019, or will this pandemic global experience cause us to determine another “new” reality of life in order to restore faith and belief again? Your thoughts?