Friday, April 17, 2009
Krzysztof Ziarek on the connection between Dada and Heidegger.
Calling the alternative to technology poiesis, Heidegger is not at all sure whether this distinction can still be meaningful, whether the poietic can mark a difference from the technological or whether, instead, it explains itself fully within the fold of technology. The avant-garde, in particular Dadaism, seems to be, by contrast, a celebration of precisely that very possibility of art as a different, postaesthetic poiesis. The tenor of avant-garde art, the frenetic pace of its linguistic and artistic innovations, stands in marked contrast to Heidegger's cautious meditative approach. While Heidegger investigates the historical conditions in modernity under which such a transformation into a postaesthetic art could be possible, the avant-garde advertises its works as the very stage where such transformation takes place. It is obvious that Heidegger would have had little patience for the irony with which Dada questions and refashions the links between art and the everyday, for the playful mundaneness of Duchamp’s ready-mades or the clowning meanders of Tzara's manifestoes. And yet, underneath the cautious, almost skeptical look with which Heidegger regards contemporary art and the bravado with which Dada dismisses the past and ridicules the present in its works, a common thread of concern with the event of experience connects these two, so different. approaches. In his insistence that "Dada does not mean anything", Tzara does not simply scandalize the literary public and upset their expectations of meaningfulness and coherence. He also indicates that the level on which Dadaism wants to engage being reaches beyond the play of signification into the event structure of experience which Dada attempts to release from the conventions of everyday being.

Pp. 108-9
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