Out of his nine openings framed in curls, man exhales blue vapor, gray fog, black smoke. Sometimes he tries like a fly to walk on the ceiling, but he always fails and falls with a crash on the table covered with the best crockery.
“It was the distinction of Jean Arp to have at a certain moment discovered the true problem in the craft itself. This allowed him to feed it with a new, spiritual imagination. He was no longer interested in improving, formulation, specifying an aesthetic system. He wanted immediate and direct production, like a stone breaking away from a cliff, a bud bursting, an animal reproducing. He wanted objects impregnated with imagination and not museum pieces, he wanted animalesque objects with wild intensities and colors, he wanted a new body among us which would suffice onto itself, an object which would be just as well of squatting on the corners of tables as nestling in the depths of the garden or staring at us from the wall…To him the frame and later the pedestal seemed to be useless crutches…”
Ballet Mécanique is a Dadaist post-Cubist art film conceived, written, and co-directed by the artist Fernand Léger in collaboration with the filmmaker Dudley Murphy.
Notes from screening at Anthology Film Archives:
beautiful entrancing rhythms camera work - jump cuts - pull you in and repel you simultaneously magnetic pulls great cubist rendering of the body - lips, eyes, framed in sections against post industrial machine movement organic - in-organic in sync and out of sync barrage of imagery landscape overlays lost in time and space images of mind, memory floating, transposed - creating pattern revealing pattern - commonality of gestures double meanings collage - simultaneity - variety (variety of Keaton, vaudeville) beautiful collage rendering of paper Chaplin puppet at end - eccentric dance via animation cut and paste puppetry language of symbols, images slapstick of camera and movement
Inspired by the Dadaists irreverence for belonging to an intellectual, artistic class - I found this recent quote from a “Pamphlet rebutting Weimar’s point of view,” published in Der Einzige 1919 in Berlin from Raoul Hausmann:
“Club Dada represented the world’s international, it is an international and anti-bourgeois movement…Club Dada is a revolt against the intellectual worker”.
And this statement from Duchamp: “scientific attempts to define and categorize them [ready-mades] prove to be difficult. How to integrate into a system the manifestations of a spirit for whom seriousness is the enemy?….The fact that they have been considered with the same reverence as objects of art probably means that I’ve failed to resolve the problem of the attempt to entirely get out of art.”
The ready-made doesn’t call out for contemplation. These DIY impulses for resisting the institutions of art are powerful. I am moved by the sheer humor in resisting the academic consumption of an art experience.
“It doesn’t need to be deeply studied. It’s simply there. The eyes notice that it exists… simply take note…”. - Duchamp
Take a newspaper. Take some scissors. Choose from this paper an article the length you want to make your poem. Cut out the article. Next carefully cut out each of the words that make up this article and put them all in a bag. Shake gently. Next take out each cutting one after the other. Copy conscientiously in the order in which they left the bag. The poem will resemble you. And there you are—an infinitely original author of charming sensibility, even though unappreciated by the vulgar herd. - Tristan Tzara