What is the meaning of Dada

There was the Oberdada Johannes Baader, the original Dada Hans Arp, the Dadazar Tristan Tzara and the magical Dada bishop Hugo Ball. Then there were the Dadamax Max Ernst, the Propagandadada George Grosz and the Dadasoph Raoul Hausmann, not to forget the Dadafee Emmy Hennings, the Dada drummer Richard Huelsenbeck and the Dadabaron Walter Serner. And of course they were all Da-dandies. But where did the word "Dada" come from? The Dadaists competed among themselves for the namesake of the movement.

Hugo Ball declared in the Dadaist Manifesto on July 14, 1916: "Dada comes from the lexicon. It is terribly simple. In French it means hobbyhorse. In German: Addio, please get down on my back, goodbye another time! In Romanian : 'Yes, truly, you are right, that's how it is. Yes, really. Let's do it.' And so on. " The Zurich-based toilet articles company Bergmann & Co. Dada had previously registered as a brand name. This inspired Hugo Ball to say: "Dada is the world soul. Dada is the highlight, Dada is the best lily milk soap in the world."

On June 12, 1916, the word Dada first appeared in his diary. His partner Emmy Hennings later recalled a standing phrase between them. Whenever Ball wanted to go for a walk with her, she replied: "All the children say 'Dada'." Klabund and the singer Marietta di Monaco had already written in 1914: O Eduard put your sword in your pocket, / What are you thinking of doing there? / At half past four in the morning? / He didn't say anything about it. "

Hans Arp, on the other hand, claimed in a "declaration" of August 6, 1921: "I declare that the word DADA occurred to Tristan Tzara on February 8, 1916 at 6 o'clock in the evening; I was there with my 12 children as Tzara for the first time pronounced this word, which aroused a justified enthusiasm in us. It happened in the Café Terrasse zu Zürich, and I was wearing a brioche in my left nostril. I am convinced that this word is completely insignificant and that only imbecile and Spanish professors for We are interested in the Dadaist mindset, and we were all dada before there was dada. "

Richard Huelsenbeck expressed himself in a similar way: "You cannot understand Dada, you have to experience Dada." And: "Dada is a state of mind that affects the personality itself without rape." Or: "We found Dada, we are Dada, and we have Dada. Dada was found in an encyclopedia, it means nothing. This is the significant nothingness that has nothing to do with it." However, Tristan Tzara is said to have once said to his friend Friedrich Glauser: "Dadaism sounds much better than futurism. And the audience is so stupid."

Before Dada became an art, it was a name for hair tonic and lily milk soap

Glauser reports how Tzara played the madman in front of the draft authority in Bern to be declared unfit for war. He only replied with "Ha" and "Ho", but turned around again as he left and said loudly and clearly: "Merde" and, as if to confirm, "Dada". "This word should not only symbolize the child's stammering," says Glauser, "it is also a double affirmation: 'Yes, yes' it means, at least in the Slavic languages, and I think also in the Romanian. This Dada that had slipped so unconsciously from his lips, Tzara occupied the following days pretty deeply. "

James Joyce was also suspected of having created the word Dada, but stubbornly denied it. In any case, Johannes Baader should be right with his dictum: "Not even the Dadaists know what Dada is, only the Upper Dada - and he doesn't tell anyone!"