10 November 2006

Post-Modern Politics

The dada movement in the 1920’s was perhaps the most fascinating example of artists taking license to use consumers of art as the medium for art. Dada was a term intentionally chosen because it was meaningless. Yet it was an exercise in social manipulation that one has to think helped inspired modern politics.

Tristan Tzara, founder of the dada movement, advertised an event starring the popular Charlie Chaplin. Hordes showed up to see him. When they learned that not only was Chaplin not there but that they’d been lied to, they rioted – not realizing that they were Tzara’s medium and the riot was his art.

Today, dada has transformed into blah – blah, as TV and talk show hosts like Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Al Franken, and Olbermann work in the medium of public outrage. Outrage is the medium and elections are the pieces of art.

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