Dada was a movement that wanted to be free, real, outrageous and idiotic. The tendency of the day was bourgeois and entrenched, and to achieve their goals in this stifling milieu the group of artists and reactionaries determined to oppose a wide range of things including: rationality, banality, armies and militarism, nationalism, brokers, personal identification and nostalgia.
I think we are in a similar place – bourgeois and entrenched – and that the dadist prescriptions from almost a hundred years ago are appropriate again for our time.
Following are some of the precepts of dada direct from the mouths of group members:
Intelligent man is now a standard type, but the thing we are short of is the idiotic. Dada is using all its strength to establish the idiotic everywhere.
Tristan Tzara, 1915
We wanted to bring forward a new kind of human being, free from the tyranny of rationality, of banality, of generals, fatherlands, nations, art dealers, microbes, residence permits and the past. To outrage public opinion was our basic principle.
Hans Richter, Dadaist painter
People think they can explain rationally, by means of thought, what they write. But it’s very relative. Thought is a fine thing for philosophy, but it’s relative. Psychoanalysis is a dangerous disease, it deadens man’s anti-real inclinations and systemizes the bourgeoisie.
Tristan Tzara’s Dada Manifesto
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