Conspicuous by its nonsense, the artistic and literary movement of Dada is kind of like The Fight Club. There is only one rule to follow: Never follow any rules.
Does that mean you have to read between the lines of the flights of fancy and philosophy anthologized in Dadaosim, from Chômu Press, which takes us every which way but lucid in the course of 26 novellas, short stories, and poems? Don’t be absurd. Or rather, do.
Whether we’re discussing “Dada psychology, dada Germany cum indigestion and fog paroxysm, dada literature, dada bourgeoisie,” the dictates of the Dada Manifesto of German writer and dada artist Hugo Ball celebrates the provocateurs and poets who are "always writing with words but never writing the word itself, who are always writing around the actual point.”
Or pointlessness, as the case may be, as we take heed of the titular conflation – a portmanteau parallel — that mitigates any capriciousness in dada with the gravitas lent by the Chinese tradition of Daoism in its advocacy of a simplicity and noninterference with the source and essence of all that exists. Moreover, that the character of "The Tao that can be told of / Is not the Absolute Tao" finds an echo in Ball's declaration.
Which is not to say that the pedestalled purposelessness and high-falutin’ head-scratchers constituted in Dadaoism are necessarily to be equated with anything less than mindpower to a max. Citing William Burroughs and Bryan Gysin in their “cut-up” compendium The Third Mind, editors Justin Isis and Quentin S. Crisp sought an outcome produced when “two (or more) minds work together creatively, producing results that neither could produce alone.” The result, greater than the sum of its parts, comprises a “new and distinct entity, which is one avatar of the Dadaosim, a bustling and jostling chaos-butterfly whose dream wings, when they flicker, lenticular, show us a number of different panels in an endless folding screen.”
Indeed, Isis and Crisp, in an aim to attain the “literary and psychic equivalent of a tour around the edges of a dying galaxy in a spectacularly malfunctioning space vehicle,” encouraged contributors to “take your protein pills and put your helmet on,” the results being for the most part an often challenging but ultimately rewarding collection of angst, anxiety, and alienation as conveyed in whimsy, wit, and wordplay.