Is DADA relevant or is it a dead revolution?
"Its [the DADAist movement] aim was to free art from its role as the stupefying veneer on a society whose values no longer could be sustained, and whose collapse had shown that it was obsolete." - From DADA: The Revolt of Art by Marc Dachy
As I watched the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car?, I was struck by an awful thought: perhaps those who use terrorist destruction have it right. As I looked at the video of a barely literate George W. Bush touting the amazing breakthrough of the hydrogen fuel cell technology surrounded by the smug faces of the CEOs of GM, Texaco, Shell, and Mobil, it occurred to me that perhaps the only way to beat these Goliaths of industry, to prevent the massive corporations that have a death grip on every aspect of every life on the planet, was violence and destruction. Perhaps an eco-friendly Jack Bauer is the only way.
Then the premise behind Terry Gilliam's Brazil popped into my head. Gilliam proposes that "The System" isn't an organized conspiracy set out to control all of us, but a conspiracy of compliance - go along to get along, and when enough people are convinced to go along in a specific manner, "The System" is born. For one man to remove himself from the system, he must lose his mind (or least be seen by the sheep to have lost his mind).
Those who benefit the most from the conspiracy of compliance will fight the hardest to preserve it and will use any means to crush insurrection. To bring actual violence to the status quo is, ultimately, fruitless in an effort to change "The System" because it isn't the institutions or even the corporations that create it; it is our daily compliance with it that proliferates the injustice, hypocrisy, and dishonest manipulation inherent in our social construct.
DADA was born out of a violent rage to destroy art and with it the use of art to represent a way of life that those angry, young men and women saw as obsolete. Surrounded (literally) by the sounds of death and destruction, via the brilliantly meaningless dance that was then labeled The Great War, the early DADAists used poetry and stationary art to declare war on society. On July 14, 1916, DADA's mother, Hugo Ball, declared, "Dada comes from the dictionary. It's really that simple.