|DigitalDadaDigidol||celebrates the influence of the DADA art movement on artists today.|
|DigitalDadaDigidol||explores four aspects of DADA practice:|
|DigitalDadaDigidol||presents contemporary artists who work in these mediums.|
|DigitalDadaDigidol||acknowledges that DADA artists wrongly fetishised African cultures.|
|DigitalDadaDigidol||acknowledges that the women of DADA have been excluded from histories.|
|DigitalDadaDigidol||responds to this by aiming to be as diverse as possible in the presentation of our commissioned and included artists.|
|DigitalDadaDigidol||invites everyone to actively engage in art making. Read about the techniques. Make your own work. Submit them to be included on the site.|
|DigitalDadaDigidol||is a collaboration between Welsh organisations newCELF and Cardiff MADE.|
|DigitalDadaDigidol||is a way to create art in challenging times.|
Dada is: 1916
Two German artists taking refuge from the first world war in Switzerland were flicking through a French to German dictionary one evening, searching for a name befitting of an art movement. They especially enjoyed funny, babyish words – ones that had no immediate agenda attached to them, those that were at the fringes of gobbledegook. They struck upon Dada. Here they found the Romanian for “Yes, Yes!”, the French for “rocking horse” and an innocent flavour of naivety touched by a hint of “Father” and therefore sex. Perfect.
They adopted the term immediately and opened it’s umbrella over a new anarchic philosophy.
The two artists were Richard Hueselnbeck and Hugo Ball who together with Emmy Hennings, Tristan Tzara and a cadre of fellow disenfranchised anti-war artists began presenting Dada at Zurich’s wildest nightspot, the Cabaret Voltaire.
Key to Dada’s methodology was the composition and recitation of complex manifestos which outlined – in often incomprehensible terms – the ever shifting and twisting tenets of the Dadaist ideal. They spoke of a collapse in confidence regarding the culture, rhetoric and media of Europe during the devastation of war. They accused all language of being propagandised and becoming ever more untrustworthy and persuasive. They proclaimed that the horror and chaos of the battle-bloodied world was a direct symptom of logic and rationality – an inevitable end – and that the pandemonium could only be placated by chaos of another kind. In a world of confusion, they demanded, one should embrace confusion.
To debase, parody and stir up the poisonous bourgeois of the status quo, the Dadaists of Cabaret Voltaire made performance and art in line with these manifestos. They wrote and performed “sound poems” free from the shackles of conventional language and pure in their grasp of nonsense, they made outlandish collages from cut-up newspapers, they took impossible photographs, donned abstractly mutilated face masks and caused as much rowdy trouble as they could, always prioritising chance over technique. Total bedlam, total accessibility, total art.
It was satire, sure, but more than that it was freedom.
Dada didn’t just dwell in wartime Zurich however. The idea of farcical, meaningless and yet political art (where man was no longer a machine) had a wide appeal and soon there were Dadaists in Berlin and in New York also.
Most famous of these outer Dadas is probably Marcel Duchamp, who the reader will most likely know for his sculpture “Fountain” – a urinal signed R.Mutt. The shock and outrage this work created rivalled even the ribald protests of Zurich Dada exhibitions and as it catapulted Duchamp from out of the art establishment so did it catapult him into infamy.
Over a hundred years later we once again find a world steeped in confusion. Propaganda is more prevalent and powerful than ever, senseless suffering spikes up unchecked, uncertainty glowers over everybody’s vision of the future and the arts are on the very rockiest of grounds. This is the soil from which Dada blooms.
Dada is not just 1916. Dada is NOW.
newCELF is a Welsh artist-led interdisciplinary arts company run by Daniel-Wyn Jones and Richard McReynolds. We organise multi-disciplinary art events that pair modern classics with new commissions from Welsh artists. We include a variety of art forms in order to show the connectivity of all arts and that creativity is not limited by genre or classification. This approach allows a cross-pollination of ideas between the practitioners involved in our events which has led to greater works and new collaborations. Through educational talks, participatory workshops and exhibiting performance materials we allow the audience to fully engage with the creative process behind great art. At the heart of our practice is inclusivity, transparency of process and accessibility.
About Cardiff MADE
Cardiff MADE is an artist led social enterprise, which has been facilitating opportunities for emerging and established artists since 2013. At its core, it seeks to operate a nurturing role within its locality and beyond; supporting and connecting artists to one another, extending the boundaries of their creative practice. MADE aims to highlight creative avenues which educate audiences through accessible and imaginative means whilst providing the opportunity for artists to develop collaborative projects and new audiences.
Alastair Gray, Alys Morgan Pearce, Bibiana Padilla Maltos, Carys Volpe, Dan Gregory, David Jones, Emily Spruce, Ethan Davies, Helen Jones, Iona Hannagan Lewis, Kate Willetts, Lizzie Cox, Marega Palser, Mererid Watson, Osian Grifford, Pali Singh, Rachel Helena Walsh, Rowan Campbell, Sara Treble-Parry Sarah Vaughan Jones, Simeon Davies, TactileBOSCH, WhereI’mComingFrom.
Thank you to the above and many more whose hard work and support make projects like this possible, especially in these particularly difficult times. We are truly grateful.
Special thanks to Will Salter who has acted as consultant, creator and author of the histories throughout this project. Without his efforts this project would not be half as good as it has become.
Finally thanks to Bobby Vaughan-Jones who took our bad ideas and made an excellent website.
This project was commissioned by Cardiff MADE and gratefully funded by Arts Council Wales & Ty Cerdd.