Cover

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Blurbs, Title Page, Copyright

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Introduction

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pp. 1-16

This is a guide for instructing posthumans in living a Dada life. It is not advisable, nor was it ever, to lead a Dada life. It is and it was always foolish and self-destructive to lead a Dada life because a Dada life will include by definition...

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1915, winter, Zurich

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pp. 16-27

Jan Ephraim, the Dutch ex-sailor who rented Hugo Ball the Meierei restaurant for a cabaret, asked him the following questions: 1. are you going to make me money? 2. are you going to draw...

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1915, opening night, february 5

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pp. 27-54

The Meierei restaurant became a Kunstlerkneipe (cabaret). Hugo Ball hung a few paintings and drawings that the Romanian painter Arthur Segal (Aron Sigalu from Botoşani, Romania) lent him, etchings by Pablo...

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assumed name, pseudonym, penname

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pp. 54-62

Today, the “world” is a pseudonym that stands, maybe, for the world. “Reality” is doubtlessly a pseudonym for reality. All words are in fact pseudonyms of themselves, and if they are sufficiently pseudonymous, they...

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americanization

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pp. 62-71

Richard Huelsenbeck, Dada drummer, became Charles R. Hulbeck, New York psychoanalyst. Marcel Duchamp, a.k.a. Rrose Selavie, shocked and delighted tout New York by exhibiting “ready-mades,” including the famous...

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american woman (the)

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pp. 71-75

Peggy Guggenheim, Nancy Cunard, Gertrude Stein, Mina Loy. European dadas admired the American Woman, that new, fiercely independent (often rich) figure who ranged atop a horse with a gun in the West (Annie...

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andré, breton (1896–1966)

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pp. 75-90

Breton so looked forward to Tristan Tzara’s arrival in Paris, he could barely contain himself. They had been corresponding since January 1919, with Breton insisting more and more urgently that Tzara come to Paris, but months passed...

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armand, inessa (1874–1920)

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p. 90

“daughter of French actors and the wife of a well-to-do Russian, broke with her husband and joined the Bolsheviks. She met Lenin in Paris in 1910 and soon became, under Krupskaia’s tolerant eye, both his mistress and his faithful...

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audience

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pp. 90-96

that which one provokes either to participation or to self-destruction. Dada realized the former, Lenin the latter. What to do with the audience would preoccupy every member of the Zurich art and ideology squad for the rest of the...

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baroness elsa, von freytagloringhoven (1874–1927)

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pp. 96-99

Celebrated in Berlin and Munich in her youth, the baroness bridges the fin de siècle decadence of Stefan George’s circle, German Expressionism, and New York Dada. She is also one of the few european artists who went beyond New York...

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boxing

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pp. 99-102

Arthur Cravan, French dadaist and amateur boxer, astonished his comrades when his challenge to the American Jack Johnson was accepted. Johnson was the European boxing champion and made his living...

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cafés

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pp. 102-107

Refuges from cramped quarters, nosy landladies, and dreadful toilets. Also, the European living rooms where strangers are (mostly) welcome. Birthplaces of conspiracies, publications, and bohemian artistic-political...

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chess

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pp. 107-115

Chess is inhumane. It also mirrors civilization; that is to say, it mirrors our perceptions of time. It also combines gambling, which is a kind of hostile attention to fate, with calculation. It fosters the illusion of learning...

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collage

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pp. 115-119

the pre-eminent expression of the 20th century. Picasso and Braque introduced newspapers into their paintings of random objects whose forms were more important than their “objective” models. A whole universe...

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communist bestiary (the birth of)

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pp. 119-121

Playing chess with Tristan Tzara in Café de La Terrasse in Zurich, Lenin almost touches one of his pawns, then his hand retreats to stroke his bald pate. It is October 1916. So many ideas boil in there! His brain is a basin full of...

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creativity

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pp. 121-123

“Dada is the creative activity par excellence.” Dada Almanach, 1920. Therefore all writing referencing Dada must also be creative, or else. Without any knowledge of Huelsenbeck’s radical statement in 1920, the education...

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dada, bucharest

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pp. 123-142

All nations were created by writing, but most of them were created by very few founding documents, usually only two, a declaration of independence and a constitution. Romania is the only country I know that was founded...

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dada, the word

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pp. 142-146

the success of Dada, the “virgin microbe” and stem cell of 20th-century art, resides in the word “Dada,” a four-letter word that has the same number of letters and no less significance for dadaists than the four letters...

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e-body

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pp. 146-147

A person has a number of bodies. Persons of importance have a “body-double,” but persons like us, who cannot afford them, create new bodies in the form of puppets and avatars. Having a “self-puppet” made of your own...

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emmy, hennings

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pp. 147-149

the proto-hippie; the exalting, ritualistic, ethereal Pan-Catholic wife of Hugo Ball, credited with turning him into a religious philosopher and wrenching him from the smoky den of Cabaret Voltaire that she cofounded with...

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eros (women)

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pp. 149-153

The Surrealists, André Breton in particular, did not like women in any form, French or American, except as muses and objects of erotic amusement. André Breton made eroticism (a sexually ambiguous quality) a major...

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foreboding

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p. 154

In 1916 when Dada was born, there was no MOMA. Had Dada’s “virgin microbe” mission succeeded completely, there would have been no MOMA. The destruction of jails for art was a chief mission of Dada, and its utter failure...

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hugo, ball

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pp. 154-157

Hugo Ball had good reasons for leaving the dangerous militant opposition in Berlin. In Berlin, socialism was threatening to upset the social order, and artists were doing their best to keep up, writing, drawing, and painting to shock...

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human, posthuman, transhuman

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pp. 157-159

“The mind is alive with a new range of possibilities: to centralise them, to collect them under a lens that is neither material nor delimited—what is popularly called: the soul. The ways of expressing them, of transmuting...

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internet(s)

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pp. 159-169

The electronic communication and information networks that call themselves, grandly, the World Wide Web (WWW) are the current winners of a long battle of webs. At a time when there were fewer humans...

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james, joyce

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pp. 169-170

In the café crowd is James Joyce, also a habitué of Café de La Terrasse, who knows both Tzara and Lenin, and will end up knowing them better than he might have actually known them, in Travesties, a 1974 play by Tom...

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jews

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pp. 170-177

“The revolutionary avantgarde of the 20th century was in large measure the work of provincial East-European Jews.” I’m quoting myself here,63 but this radical statement needs another look. The shtetls of the Pale, a vaguely defined...

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kibbitzers

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pp. 177-181

The two protagonists intent on their chess game ignore the crowd of kibbitzers that usually gather around players. The kibbitzers are only half paying attention anyway: they are here to get away from the blustery cold and...

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language crystal

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pp. 181-184

dybbuk = d y book, or the coauthor of this book, Rapper Da Y-Book. Here is a challenge for the reader of this book: The Language Crystal is the title of a self-published book by a dyslexic author who had the uncanny ability...

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lenin

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pp. 184-190

on most book covers of new biographies from “recently opened” Soviet archives, Lenin looks like a bald eagle photographed by Marion Ettlinger, reflected in Monsieur Tzara’s monocle. We derive from this observation, 1. the necessity...

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lenin, philosophical formation

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pp. 190-192

The questions of Russian philosophy and literature (often indistinguishable) have always been “What makes a good man?” “What is the right way to live?” The majority of Russian thinkers resorted to Christianity or German idealism, or...

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masses, the

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p. 192

Keep them busy. When intellectuals get bored, they incite the masses to murder.

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michaux, henri

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pp. 192-195

well-traveled French poet who ingested mescaline in Mexico and wrote and drew the fantastic journey of his mind in Miserable Miracle,73 a harrowing account of a (brilliant) French mind in the Land of Unreason. The...

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money & art

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pp. 195-196

Tzara ominously wrote in the 1918 Dada Manifesto: “We have had enough of Cubist and Futurist academics! Is the goal of art to earn money and to fondle the nice bourgeois? Rhymes jingle the same sound as coins, and inflexions...

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negergedichte (negro chants)

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pp. 196-199

1915 hip-hop poetry revealed unto Richard Huelsenbeck, first performed in a 1915 “Expressionist evening” in the Harmoniumsaal in Berlin. Kandinsky and Paul Klee are the best-known Expressionists of the Blue Rider group...

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new year’s resolutions by my poetry students, 2008

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pp. 199-200

Fuck more strangers because of reading Kathy Acker. Read all ellipses. Shave cat. Write fortune cookies. Birch the willowy. Collaborate with everybody/everything. Do not employ a Life Narrator (Banneker) or a Delivery Room...

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nonsense

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pp. 200-201

what sensical people find unacceptable, illogical, ridiculous, useless; an insult; a creature from the unconscious that surrounds, underlies, and fills all that isn’t commonly understood. Poetry, in its purest form, made out of material obtained...

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professional revolutionary

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pp. 201-206

What is a professional? In 1916, barristers, accountants, government clerks, bank clerks, and many other types of clerks began to form closely knit professional associations, heralding an era of quickly growing worldwide...

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richard, huelsenbeck (a.k.a. Dr. Charles R. Hulbeck, from 1936)

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pp. 206-208

“Dada Drummer,” famous for loud, invented negro chants ending in “Umba! Umba!,” born in 1892 in Frankenau, Germany, son of the town pharmacist; met Hugo Ball in Berlin’s post-Expressionist circles in 1912; followed Ball...

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tristan, tzara (1896–1963) (ab initio, margins of the margin)

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pp. 208-215

Tristan Tzara, born Samuel Rosenstock in Moineşti, Romania, on April 16, 1896, changed his name to Tristan Tzara while still in his teens, and wrote, “life is sad, but it’s a garden still.” Tristan Tzara means...

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waking up

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p. 215

A dadaist does not wake up in herm bed or in herm body. This does not mean that a dadaist wakes up necessarily next to or in someone else. The bed could be any bed that is not herms, and the body can be any number of bodies...

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war

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p. 215

The War is not going well for anybody. There is a stalemate.

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word, the power of

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p. 216

“We killed a quarter of a century, we killed several centuries for the sake of what is to come. You can call it what you like: surgery, kleptomania, calligraphy; for all we can say is: We are, we have worked some—revolution...

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zurich

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pp. 216-220

Zwingli, Luther, and Erasmus, the three musketeers of the Reform, find late medieval Europe and the church as ripe for change as an aged Swiss cheese. The Zurich Reform introduced by Zwingli in 1519 is, in fact, a real...

Notes

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pp. 221-236

Other Works in the Series

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