"So many people and so many messages," wrote the critic Robert Hughes about Hanover-based Dadaist Kurt Schwitters' 'Merz' works. From Picabia's fascination with machines to Duchamp's cajoling ridicule of art world norms, it's true that many still grapple with the implications of the Dada movement. It has certainly reeked its share of havoc with Post-Art art makers and thinkers, much less the innocents who encounter these works. English professer Jed Rasula's widely celebrated new book is the focus of events tonight at the Flicker Theatre meant to rejoin us with the Cabaret Voltaire a century later:
Flicker Theatre & Bar will be transformed into Cabaret Voltaire 1916 on Thursday, Feb. 11 beginning at 8 p.m. with a presentation by Rasula and a performance by Italian composer and musicologist Luciano Chessa. Rasula became interested in bringing Chessa to Athens after seeing him perform a program of Italian Futurist sound poetry last year at the Guggenheim. Many of the participants at Cabaret Voltaire were aware of Italian Futurists and became heavily influenced by their sound poetry, making Chessa a relevant component to the night’s discourse. David Saltz, executive director of ICE and head of the UGA Theatre and Film Studies Department, will direct students in reenacting a series of Dada performances based on archival research, such as Erik Satie’s “Trois Morceaux en Forme de Poire,” a piano piece for four hands played by Crystal Wu and Emma Lin. The evening will be rounded out with costumes, set design and other surprises directly inspired by those legendary nights of yore.
The celebration, which of course the Dadaists would likely scorn, continues over the next couple of weeks. So get out and be a part of it - or in the Dadaist tradition, reject these commemorations entirely and start your own movement.
Image: Photo of Hugo Ball performing at Cabaret Voltaire in 1916 provides the cover art for Resula's Destruction Was My Beatrice.