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RetroDada Manifesto: "There is a lot of negative work to be done"


Next month will mark the centenary of Dada, which by most accounts began in a seedy cabaret in Zürich in 1916. To mark the occasion, the anonymously written “RetroDada Manifesto” has surfaced, and it’s much better than other manifestos that ape Dada’s style without understanding its spirit. McKenzie Wark has posted the text at Public Seminar. An excerpt:

The world is full of mistakes, but the worst is the art that got made. Art gives us Dante’s Inferno as styled by interior decorators. RetroDada aims to please neither at art nor anti-art, as nobody should serve masters. We will put an end to spectacle and replace it with convulsive laughter from continent to continent. It’s shit after all, but from now on we mean to shit in different colors.

Psychoanalysis is itself the disease. It makes the bourgeois self seem interesting. Ethics produces atrophy like every plague produced by intelligence. Theory merely guides us in a round-about way to the prejudice we had in the first place. What we need are works that are tender and precise and forever beyond understanding. There is a lot of negative work to be done.


As a member of the Neo-Gaga Dada movement (no relation) I approve this message.