Incomprehensible and Primitive

Dada has a lot going on, to say the least. But in the issue I chose (291 Vol. 12), the works within it directly references several of the ideas within the Dadaist manifesto. Firstly, there is a poem by Katharine N. Rhoades that takes to heart the assertion that a poem that is intelligible is the “wretched lining of a coat for public use; tatters covering brutality, piss contributing to the warmth of an animal brooding vile instincts. Flabby, insipid flesh reproducing with the help of typographical microbes.” The poem is extremely fragmented and aimless. It depicts pointless and incessant motion. Eliot’s utilization of imagism is an adherence to the injunction to be purposefully abstruse. He also uses similar experimentation in form as Rhoades.

The Manifesto also includes the Modernist obsession with “primitive” arts, mentioning the origin of the word dada as originating from “the Kru Negroes” that “call the tail of a holy cow Dada” and how the critics attack them “as a relapse into a dry and noisy, noisy and monotonous primitivism.” In this issue, the cover is a photograph of an African mask. Zayas asserts that “Negro art has re-awakened in us a sensibility obliterated by an education, which makes us always connect what we see with what we know…” In essence, looking at primitive art helps western art release its preconceived notions of representation and reality.  The fifth part of The Waste Land has a similar emphasis on the embrace of primitive cultures.




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