Sense of Sound: Everybody can Dada

Rowdy, brazen, irreverent, and assaulting. Their sounds were clamorous, their visions were shocking, and their language was explosive. Yet Dada was not aimless anarchy. Rather, the artists were responding to the violence and trauma of World War I—and to the shock of modernity more generally—by developing shock tactics of their own. Here is what they did with sound.

Read. Learn. Enjoy!

“The German artist and poet Hugo Ball’s final performance at the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich marked the beginning of a new genre variously known as sound poems, poems without words, or abstract poems. To construct them language is broken down into its abstract parts (syllables and individual letters) and then reconfigured as meaningless sounds. Simultaneous poems—poems in which multiple languages are read at once rendering each unintelligible—offered an alternative approach to abstract poetry. By destroying everyday language, offered both a metaphor for the destruction caused by war and a commentary on the deceitfulness of language. Wariness of the competing nationalisms that fuelled the war also led dadaists to resist any particular language, a primary indicator of national identity.”

Listen to it here: http://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/2006/dada/techniques/sound.shtm#null

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