Witty Writing and the Principles of Dadaism

Dadaism, while an often unheard of movement, has had a huge impact on modern artwork and literature across the globe, especially witty writing. This short-lived movement was born out of the need to rebel against nationalism as European artists were forced from their homes in the early 20th century. The harsh realities of World War I stifled creativity and promoted uniformity, causing many artists to fear for their lives. Congregating in Northern Switzerland, artists of all backgrounds began to challenge the basic principles of art and humanity, using humor and obscenity to break boundaries.

Many artists, such as the founder of Dadaism Hugo Ball, took to performing their art to help spread the word of Dadaism as well as invoke emotions from their audience. Ball was one of the original spoken word poets, using sequences and sounds to convey emotion instead of relying on the words to make the point for him. His influence can be seen in much more subtle ways in performance art pieces throughout the world.

Using the key principles of Dada: humor, whimsy, artistic freedom, emotional reaction, irrationalism and spontaneity, artists changed society’s idea of what it meant to be an artist as well as what type an impact that artists could have on public thought. The bravery
of these artists helped to buck stereotypes and the repressive nature of rationalism, and are consistently drawn upon by modern writers as a source of inspiration.

The elements of Dadaism can be seen in the works of Emmy Hemmings, T.S. Eliot, Francis Picabia and many others who thought outside the box and created masterpieces that have been revered for centuries. The following visual offers related quotes from major artists of the movement as well as writing prompts, allowing budding artists to learn from Dadaism and expand their skill set as they learn to write and create in the same style.

Infographic courtesy of Invaluable

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Emma

More of Emma's writings can be found at Invaluable

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