16 July 2009

Tzara vs Serner

Much of Tristan Tzara's fame in Paris was built upon the Dada manifesto he read on 23 July 1918 in the Meise Hall in Zurich ... The Parisian avant-gardists were consequently nervously awaiting his arrival two years later, and were, according to Andre Breton, extremely disappointed at the famous dadaist, while he openly enjoyed himself, made witty remarks, repeated stunts that had worked in the past, and exploited his personal charm as best he could, 'but in an increasingly narrow field'. According to Breton, the manifesto appeared to throw open the doors, but the French group soon discovered that these doors led into a corridor that turned around on itself. Part of the disappointment, according to Malcolm Green, may lie in Christian Schad's assertion that large portions of the manifesto were the work of Walter Serner rather than Tzara[.]

- Tom Sandqvist, Dada East

What is with these avant-garde poets? Both Tzara and Breton were ruthlessly ambitious creeps. Walter Serner, on the other hand, was a stand-up bloke, as this article, badly translated from the Dutch, makes clear:
Serner, dispossessed as he is, sees stronger then most how easy people can be made enthusiastic for a cause and are willing to die for it. The reason for him is clear: boredom. Most people really do not know what they are doing, their lifes are dull, and therefore they are easy victims of ideas like Nationalism and anti-semitism.

Against this alienation Serner puts a radical form of subjectivity. Where the point
is not what you are, but what you want. Because especially if you're not honest with your wishes and desires you'll be an easy target for swindlers. The result is that you'll be continuously hiding for yourself and only can go along with the game of corruption and hypocrisy that the world plays with you. So that you'll become an easy target of that same world. Therefore be always conscious of what you want, and don't let them put an identity on you, stay in motion, and disappear when you come to a point of inertion.

In short play with the world and do not let the world play with you.

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