DaDa Design Movement

Dadaism at it's finest. What's the point? No one knows, because there is none.
Dadaism at it's finest. What's the point? No one knows, because there is none. | Source

In the world of Product Design and Art, there have been hundreds of styles and movements which have affected innately how we see things, how we look at art and design (particularly what is good art and design , and even what we consider to be considered design and/or art. Some movements were great, others were not ... some were ahead of their time, while others strove to return design to it's past, and well... a few were just plain odd .

And the king of those oddities would have to be Dada, otherwise known as Dada-ism (Dadaism), or the Dadaism movement.

This wonderful addition to design (which some designers and artists try to pretend didn't happen) gained popularity in the early 1900's as an experimental art form; it's key and most defining characteristic being that it has no defining characteristics.

no defining characteristics, aside from making absolutely no sense.

The Dada Manifesto

Dada is a new tendency in art. One can tell this from the fact that until now nobody knew anything about it, and tomorrow everyone in Zurich will be talking about it. Dada comes from the dictionary. It is terribly simple. In French it means "hobby horse". In German it means "good-bye", "Get off my back", "Be seeing you sometime". In Romanian: "Yes, indeed, you are right, that's it. But of course, yes, definitely, right". And so forth....

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....Each thing has its word, but the word has become a thing by itself. Why shouldn't I find it? Why can't a tree be called Pluplusch, and Pluplubasch when it has been raining? The word, the word, the word outside your domain, your stuffiness, this laughable impotence, your stupendous smugness, outside all the parrotry of your self-evident limitedness. The word, gentlemen, is a public concern of the first importance.

"Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany" - a photomontage and example of Dada; even the Title of the work is clearly a work of Dadaism
"Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany" - a photomontage and example of Dada; even the Title of the work is clearly a work of Dadaism | Source
Source

DaDa origins

There is much argument to be had about where exactly and who exactly began Dada, but most sources seem to agree that Dada began in Zurich, Switzerland (though some historians dispute that it had already began in other parts of eastern Europe) in 1916, with Hugo Ball writing the Dada manifesto - part of which can be read in the box to the right of this text.

This manifesto laid down some of the primary characteristics that would be the literary and art phenomenon that would amaze, surprise, and mostly confuse the world for the following years (and up to this day).

Key Characteristics of Dadaism

  • No formal characteristics
  • Photomontages
  • Bold type and mixed type forms

Soon after it's "birth" in Switzerland, the strange design style made it's way to France and Germany. In early 1918 Berlin, the technique for photomontage, a key characteristic of Dada, was developed. Dada then continued to spread and soon became a worldwide form of art. Many more manifestos were written by various artists from various countries for several years.

DaDa in America

New York city in the early 1900's, right after World War I, was overrun by refugees ... a few being writers and artists - one of them being Marcel Duchamp

Duchamp, a French artist, along with Francis Picabia (a French painter) and an American artist some may have heard of named Man Ray, soon were taking part of the "anti-art" movement going on in the United States at that time.

People believed at the time, World War I, that the world didn't make any sense; there were no rules, there was no real organization in the world, only chaos - and that, that lack of sense, or nonsense, is what they began to depict in their art.

"Fountain," a peculiar so-called "sculpture" by Marchel Duchamp was scorned in the art world at the time; now is by some (the 2004 Turner Prize Committee) considered "the most influential work of modern art."

.... anyway, I still don't get it, but that's just me I guess.

Effects on Design and Art

So, what did Dada do ?

Dada was the first of many new art forms which morphed the way we look at art in a very fundamental way. It opened the door for other movements (such as surrealism) and in a way opened the world's eyes up to a newer, more fun, style of art - where it's okay to be silly and abstract in the art and design world.

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Comments 2 comments

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

I do believe such oddball mixes of forms are making a modern-day comeback, under the new moniker of "Steampunk."

Not something that really appeals to me, but, to each his own.

Voted up and interesting.


Jbern117 profile image

Jbern117 4 years ago from Dunmore, PA Author

Thanks DzyMsLizzy! And yes, Steampunk is definitely a style that would not really exist if it were not for the influence of Dada and surrealism, it's peculiarities would probably not have survived in a traditional western art atmosphere, where the mindset of most respected artists would be to laugh at and ridicule such artwork.

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