07 August 2009

Quote of the day

Today, with art being practically driven out by machinelike competence and gimmicks, with the course of the world no longer influenced by humanitarian ideas derived from art, , with art and artists limited to a small professional in-group, with art being judged quantitatively and pluralistically (namely, according to mass success), people may understand what we were saying.


In an age in which base jokesters are the idols of the nation and earn millions of dollars, the cultural worker should devote himself to laziness, indifference, or some sort of practical work. Since 'intellectuality' is not only not appreciated but totally misunderstood, one has to be careful not to let one's artistic work play into those whose guilt feelings make them look for aesthetic decorations. Art is not meant for people who believe that manufacturing shoes is more important than writing good books or painting.

- Richard Huelsenbeck, Memoirs of a Dada drummer

This is a somewhat depressing book. It was written in America during the McCarthy era, and Huelsenbeck goes to considerable pains to distance himself from any association with communism, despite such Berlin Dada slogans as 'Dada is on the side of the revolutionary proletariat!' and Huelsenbeck's statement in the Dada Almanach of 1920 that 'Dada is German Bolshevism'. However, despite the revisionism, it's still well worth the read.

Oh, and I chose laziness and indifference long ago. Bollocks to practical work.

Here's another quote from the Dada Almanach:

One must be enough of a dadaist to be able to take a dadaist attitude to one's own dadaism ... Dada is the great parallel to the relativist philosophies of this era; dada is a state of mind independent of schools and theories, involving the personality without raping it. You cannot pinpoint the principles of dada. The question: 'What is dada?' is undadaistic and sophomoric in the same sense as it would be in regard to a work of art or a phenomenon of life. You cannot comprehend dada, you have to experience it. Dada is immediate and self-evident. A person is a dadaist simply by living ... Anyone living for this day lives forever. This means that anyone who has lived the best of his time has lived for all time. Take, and give yourself over. Live and die.


Sheridan Fairfield-Wills Dickson said...

i feel the need to come ram-raid your bookshelves.

the second quotation is rather eloquent

David Cauchi said...

Yeah, go on, though I need to keep a few of them on hand at the moment.

visitors since 29 March 2004.