File spoon-archives/avant-garde.archive/avant-garde_1998/avant-garde.9806, message 114

Date: Tue, 30 Jun 1998 09:06:21 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: the H&H manifesto

George wrote:

> If I am not mistaken (and I very well may be) the intent 
> (consious or not) of this manifesto is to distinguish German Dada, ie H 
> &H, from their colleagues, whom they condemn as being merely "art for 
> arts sake." In other words, they play at making a political gesture in 
> order to distinguish themselves artistically.

If you mean that the H&H manifesto was merely a move in an internal Dada game 
of mutual repudiation or posturing or artistic one-upmanship, then I don't 
think there is any basis for saying this.  If you mean that it was an act of 
self-definition or self-announcement, then this is of course true -- isn't
every manifesto such an act?  So then the question is: what is the purpose,
role, significance of such statements of self-definition, such announcements 
of intent?  Especially when, as in the case of the H&H manifesto or the
Futurist Manifesto, they proclaim an allegiance to a realm of "direct living"
as opposed to the realm of so-called "culture" -- but the manifestos themselves
inescapably belong to the latter (a contradiction whose thematization is, 
I think, one of the intents of those manifestos).  This is the very thing
which you say below opens "an interesting kettle of fish".

> On the other hand, it is possible that this could be viewed as a 
> certain intervention into politics, though it is written first and 
> foremost for a literary/artistic milieu. ....that opens an interesting 
> kettle of fish... it seems to me to be ultimately nihilist, but I guess 
> that goes without saying?

Hee hee, I don't know if it goes without saying.  What do you mean by
"nihilist"?  It is not a word distinguished by univocality of meaning. 


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