Maybe only I appreciated the irony of ordering a pedestrian drink at the bar where the Dada art movement was born. The bartender just looked at me and said no. Instead I found myself with plum wine and prosecco in a champagne flute and my visiting sister got a green absinth specialty of the house.
The Dada art movement began in a second floor bar, Cabaret Voltaire, located on Neiderdorfstrasse in Zurich, Switzerland. The idea of Dadaism as anti-art began as a reaction to the bourgeoisie during World War I. The concept was anti-art. Sculptures were supposed to cause shock and discomfort with the viewer, a giant Mr. Yuck sticker in the mind of the audience. Probably the most famous piece of the Dada art movement is the urinal fountain but the Dada artists did not limit themselves to only visual arts.
Artist Tristan Tzara on using chance to write poetry.
“Take a newspaper.
Take some scissors.
Choose from this paper an article the length you want to make your poem.
Cut out the article.
Next carefully cut out each of the words that make up this article and put them all in a bag.
Next take out each cutting one after the other.
Copy conscientiously in the order in which they left the bag.
The poem will resemble you.
And there you are–an infinitely original author of charming sensibility, even though unappreciated by the vulgar herd.”
The obvious question is, why would pulling words out of a hat make a good poem? I don’t really know. From what I read, Dadaists were interested in what the subconscious pulls out of the poem. It is interesting to see what people read into things given their own biases and experiences. Does this mean online message boards are the ultimate in Dada art?
Go to Cabaret Voltaire for the electric atmosphere and little bit of history. It is worth the visit. Just don’t bother trying to order a Cosmo. 😉