[Marxism] Fwd: These Must-Reads Explore Dada, Futurism, Surrealism, and the Art of Opposition | Village Voice
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Jan 11 10:13:06 MST 2017
Well, it's 2017, a century-plus since Zurich's Cabaret Voltaire first
raised the flag of Dada derision above the senseless carnage of World
War I. The founding group of Dada expats soon attracted many other
bohemian rebels seeking freedom from existing social, aesthetic, and
governmental norms. Of course, as Bruce Sterling's new novella, Pirate
Utopia, points out, the pro-war, pro-nationalist Italian Futurist
movement was winning followers at the same time, and their manifestos
ultimately supported the rise of Italy's Fascist Party.
Dada believed it could subvert authoritarianism with ridicule alone, but
Dada was wrong. That's why, after only eight years, the international
Dada underground was rather abruptly supplanted by André Breton's more
strategically organized Surrealist project. Surrealism prospered — as
documented in M.E. Warlick's Max Ernst bio, as well as by China
Miéville's The Last Days of New Paris — and former Dada loyalists
switched allegiance in droves.
The lesson here is that art and liberation movements that aspire to
effective forms of dissent need to do their homework and store lots of
different tools in their activist toolbox. While it may seem unlikely
that two science fiction novels, plus one comprehensive artist
biography, could mentally prepare creative communities for drastic
social change, never underestimate the value of a broad historical
Miéville, a left-leaning British fantasist with a Ph.D. in international
relations, is also a celebrated practitioner of "New Weird" fiction.
Sterling is a science fiction writer from Texas, long famous (along with
William Gibson) for spearheading the Cyberpunk and Steampunk movements.
Both typically write genre fiction with a view toward helping readers
grapple with some of our era's thornier socioeconomic problems.
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