[artinfo] RETRODADA MANIFESTO - DADA 100 2016

Louise Desrenards louise.desrenards at free.fr
Wed Feb 10 12:17:00 CET 2016


The RetroDada Manifesto was written by McKenzie Wark at the invitation
of Anita Hugi and David Dufresne for an event at Cabaret Voltaire in
Zürich, 4 & 5 March 2016, to celebrate the Dada centenary, in there
place where it all began. For more information on that event, and
related projects see dada-data.net/en/.




RetroDada begins with disgust. Once again the world gets its war on.
While some cities are attacked by bombers, others are strafed by art
fairs. This time there's no Switzerland of neutrality where refugees
might cool their heels, as now the whole globe itself overheats. The
insomnia of reason breeds monsters.

But before we can take two steps forward, let's take one leap back.
Back a whole century. Back to the first of the world wars to be
numbered ; back to the birth of Dada disgust. Back to that great
refusal of what the century was to become. Why shouldn't a .gif run
backwards as well as forwards ? Its RetroDada time ! In principle
RetroDada is against manifestoes, but it is also also against
principles. So here goes nothing.

The world is full of mistakes, but the worst is the art that got made.
Art gives us Dante's Inferno as styled by interior decorators.
RetroDada aims to please neither at art nor anti-art, as nobody should
serve masters. We will put an end to spectacle and replace it with
convulsive laughter from continent to continent. It's shit after all,
but from now on we mean to shit in different colors.

Psychoanalysis is itself the disease. It makes the bourgeois self seem
interesting. Ethics produces atrophy like every plague produced by
intelligence. Theory merely guides us in a round-about way to the
prejudice we had in the first place. What we need are works that are
tender and precise and forever beyond understanding. There is a lot of
negative work to be done.

RetroDada is our intensity. RetroDada is for and against unity.
RetroDada is the abolition of their reasons. RetroDada is the refusal
of an inheritance. RetroDada is a convulsive effusion, like a
cellphone cooked in a microwave. RetroDada is a divinity of the lowest
order. RetroDada has no theory. There is enough of that in art school.
We love the old things for their freshness.

How to make a RetroDada manifesto : Take a Dada manifesto or two. Copy
the good bits. Toss them in a file. Move the bits around. Improve on
them. The manifesto will be like you. As for intelligence, it will be
found in the streets.

RetroDada is working with all its might to introduce the idiot
everywhere. RetroDada is a venture capital form for the exploitation
of other people's ideas. God can afford to be unsuccessful. So can
RetroDada. It is luxury without value or price. RetroDada gives itself
to nothing, neither to work nor play. RetroDada seduces you with your
own idea.

RetroDada is at once stand-up comedy and a requiem mass. RetroDada
trusts only in the sincerity of situations. RetroDada fights against
the thanaticism of the times. RetroDada develops the plasticity of the
digital. We should make all art and literature and cinema free. The
medium is as unimportant as we are. Essential only is the forming.
Take any material at all.

RetroDada is a theoretical virus. RetroDada means letting oneself be
thrown by events. Say yes to a life that strives downward toward
negation. RetroDada refuses to be contemporary to any of this shit.
RetroDada reintroduces art and everyday life so they can have queer
sex in back alleys. RetroDada is the statelessness of the mind.
RetroDada rejects both the stylish order and the stylized disorder of
contemporary aesthetics. We are convinced of the arbitrariness and
falsity of our poor creation, the world. We look unencumbered into the
heights and depths.

Let's only steal from the best, and from their actions, not their
styles. The resonant Sophie Taeuber, the drum-banger Richard
Huelsenbeck, the tubular Hugo Ball, the mystic Emmy Hennings, the
hypeman Tristan Tzara, the ironic Jean Arp, the dadasoph Raoul
Hausmann, the runfast Hannah Höch, the aviarist Baroness Elsa. Let's
take their leavings not their droppings. Music, dances, theories,
manifestos, poems, paintings, costumes, masks. To be begun again, from
the beginning.

So many fates of the west befell Dada. It tried everything already, so
we don't have to. Arthur Cravan became a legend. Mina Loy became a
poet. Marcel Duchamp became the enabler of contemporary art. Hugo Ball
became a devout Catholic. Emmy Hennings became a Protestant mystic.
Hannah Höch wrote a trans-species children's book. Richard Huelsenbeck
became a therapist. Tristan Tzara became a communist. Marcel Janco
returned to the Orient. Baroness Elsa died in poverty and obscurity.
Jacques Vaché killed himself before it even all began.

To be for this manifesto is to be RetroDada ! To be against this
manifesto is to be RetroDada ! To be for and against this manifesto is
to be RetroDada ! To be neither for nor against this manifesto is to
be RetroDada ! There is no escape from the history yet to be unmade !



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