May 1, 2000

Post #1111 – 20000501

I wrote to you a while ago about the Dadaist project I was working on.

You asked if I had looked at Dadaist art, or read a book about it. Okay, that requires a medium-size answer. I was into Surrealist art in 9th grade, and my teacher had a book called “Dada and Surrealism.” I would often borrow it and peruse it. When I first read “Young Adult Novel,” I already had a rough idea of what Dadaism was, and I thought, “Hey, I’ve heard of this Dada stuff before!”

Anyway, this book is my main resource for this project. It has many pictures of Dadaist art, as well as an explaination of its philosophy, how it is related to Surrealism, and information on many prominent Dadaists. I am using examples of art from that book in my project, and also as inspirations for my small gallery.

You also asked if I thought the Wild Dada Ducks understood Dadaism. That sounds uncomfortably like the questions my Humanities teacher asks when we discuss what we have been reading. First, I want to apologize if I sound like an evil bloodsucking critic, because I don’t mean to.

I think the Wild Dada Ducks may not take Dadaism as seriously as they think they do, but they seem to understand the philosophy. With the Kevin Shapiro stories, they portray Western society as sick, twisted and evil, just as the Dadaists did through their art. Also, putting a toilet in the trophy case sounds like it was inspired by Marcel duchamp’s “Fountain,” which was simply a urinal turned on its back (Duchamp had a penchant for “readymade” sculptures). The Wild Dada Duck Manifesto is like Tristan Tzara’s Dada Manifesto (was Tzara in inspiration for the Wild Dada Ducks? 🙂 ), because to “normal” people it seems like nonsense. The Wild Dada Ducks’ idea that they must cause the rest of society to ignore and hate them is not exactly a

Dadaist philosophy, but Dadaism was often crafted to shock “right-thinking” individuals. The Dada Ducks may not have understood their art, but they came close.

I know Dadaism was fairly short-lived, but I don’t think it was boring.

Nor do I think it is entirely dead. “Daria” and “The Simpsons” are Dadaist, or at least I think they are. They reflect the sick and twisted elements of American society. And in my search for internet resources I found a site called “Electric Elf Test Kitchen,” a gallery of computer-generated Dadaist art. I am using it as one of my examples.

All hail Kevin Shapiro! 🙂


Daniel replies:

Print out a copy of your post, (above) and staple it to your dada report. Also download one of the scarier pictures of me from this site, and staple that to your copy. Then draw a large ""A+"" in red crayon at the top of the page. This is your grade for the project. If your teacher objects, point out the picture of me, and ask, ""Do you want to get into a dispute with someone this insane-and-dangerous-looking?""

I am happy you drew inspiration from my little work of art.