Anemic Cinema: A Night of Dadaist & Experimental Films
A night of essential dadaist & experimental cinema. Doors at 7PM. Screenings begin at 8PM.
Iconoclastic art movements need manifestos—to explain themselves, perhaps, to announce themselves, surely, but also, perhaps, to soften the blow of the work that is to come. In the case of Dadaism, the manifesto issued by Tristan Tzara in 1918 presents us with a curious paradox. Tzara expounds at length in several thousand words on the idea that “DADA DOES NOT MEAN ANYTHING.” In so doing, he tells us quite a bit about what Dada is, and what it is not. It is decidedly not, he writes, unified by any formal theory: “We have enough cubist and futurist academies: laboratories of formal ideas.” It is no friend to the artistic establishment: “Is the aim of art to make money and cajole the nice nice bourgeois?” It is certainly not “art for art’s sake”: “A work of art should not be beauty in itself, for beauty is dead.”
So what is this anti art about then? “Spontaneity,” “Active simplicity,” “Disgust,” “to lick the penumbra and float in the big mouth filled with honey and excrement.” And many more such provocations and images. No manifesto is any substitute for the work itself, but if any comes close to replicating its subject, it is Tzara’s. Immerse yourself in it, and you may be better prepared for Dada artists like Hans Richter, Man Ray, and Marcel Duchamp. All three represent Dadaism—whatever it is—in at least two ways: 1. Each rejected “nice nice bourgeois” cultural conventions, opposing them forcefully, and playfully, in ways both political and aesthetic. 2. Neither confined himself to any one medium or school—experimenting freely with painting, sculpture, photography, performance and conceptual art, and—for our purposes today—with film. – openculture.com
- 6/7 | 8:00PM