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Richard Huelsenbeck, "Dada Manifesto" (1918)

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the STATIC poem

makes words into individuals. [ . . . ] The word Dada instantly signals the internationalism of the movement, which is bound to no frontiers, religions, or professions. Dada is the international expression of the times, the great rebellion of artistic movements, the artistic reflex of all these offensives, peace congresses, riots in the vegetable market, suppers at the Esplanade, etc., etc. Dada champions the use of the

new materials in painting.

Dada is a CLUB, founded in Berlin, which you can join without commitments. In this club every man is chairman and every man can have his say in artistic matters. Dada is not a pretext for the ambition of a few literary men (as our enemies would have you believe), Dada is a state of mind that can be revealed in any conversation whatever, so that you are compelled to say: this man is a DADAIST—that man is not; the Club Dada consequently has members all over the world, in Honolulu as well as New Orleans and Meseritz. Under certain circumstances, to be a Dadaist may mean to be more a businessman, more a political partisan than an artist—to be an artist only by accident—to be a Dadaist means to let oneself be moved by things, to oppose all sedimentation; to sit in a chair for a single moment is to risk one’s life (Mr. Wengs pulled his revolver out of his pants pocket). One feels torn, one says yes to a life that seeks to progress by saying no. Affirmation—negation: powerful hocus-pocus of existence fires the nerve of the true Dadaist—whether he is reclining, hunting, cycling—half Pantagruel, half St. Francis, laughing and laughing. Down with the aesthetic-ethical attitudes! Down with the bloodless abstraction of expressionism! Down with the world-bettering theories of empty-headed literati. Up with Dadaism in word and image, with all the Dada things that happen in the world! To be against this manifesto is to be a Dadaist!

Tristan Tzara. Franz Jung. George Grosz. Marcel Janco. Richard Huelsenbeck. Gerhard Preiß. Raoul Hausmann. Walter Mehring.

O. Lüthy. Fréderic Glauser. Hugo Ball. Pierre Albert-Birot. Maria d’Arezzo. Gino Cantarelli. Prampolini. R. van Rees. Madame van Rees. Hans Arp. G. Thäuber. Andrée Morosini. François Mombello-Pasquati.

Source of English translation: Rose-Carol Washton Long, ed., German Expressionism, Documents from the End of the Wilhelmine Empire to the Rise of National Socialism. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1993, pp. 267-69.

Source of original German text: Richard Huelsenbeck, “Dadaistisches Mainfest" (1918), Dada Almanach, ed. Richard Huelsenbeck. Berlin: Erich Reiss, 1920, pp. 36-41.

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