100 years on from the founding of the Dada movement at the Cabaret Voltaire club, Alexei Sayle explores its anarchic activities and far-reaching cultural influence.
Alexei Sayle explores the cultural impact of the Dada movement, 100 years since it was founded.
On February 5th 1916 a small group of poets, artists and musicians gathered in Zurich at the Cabaret Voltaire nightclub. The gathering would become recognised as the birth of Dada, a nihilistic movement that emerged in response to the trauma of The Great War.
Dada was anti-art, anti-bourgeois, anti-establishment. anti-Dada. From the performance of nonsense poems with a backdrop of gigantic cucumbers, to vitriolic manifestos decrying bourgeois culture, the Dadaists forged a set of anarchic strategies, attitudes and philosophies that would sweep across Europe and America - 'the chaos from which a thousand orders rise', forever changing not only perceptions, but the very definitions of art.
Comedian, writer and one-time art student Alexei Sayle explores the absurdist sounds of a movement that may have been fleeting, but has had a profound impact on the art, music and comedy of the 20th and 21st centuries - from the Goons to Lady Gaga via hay-eating pianos and conceptually rich tunafish sandwiches.
With thanks to:
filmmaker Helmut Herbst for excerpts from his Dada documentary,
Trio EXVOCO for their recording of Karawane by Hugo Ball,
KRAB FM for their interview recording with George Maciunas.
Presenter: Alexei Sayle
Producer: Chris Elcombe
A Somethin' Else production for BBC Radio 4