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It was World War One, and it was ninety years ago. A high-tech weapon, the machine gun, was mowing down young men like hay. An art movement called Dada, which rejected the apparent lifelessness of the academic art tradition, coalesced around young artists who resisted the obscenity of a mass war created by diplomats and their treaties. Though the Dada movement was rapidly replaced by Surrealism, Constructivism, Futurism, and decades later, by Beat Poetry, Funk Art, and Pop, the heart of the artistic avant-garde has always belonged to Dada.
Though each of these movements was co-opted in its turn by by the academic art establishment, each began, lived, and died outside of the art schools and museums, though populated by a mixture of art students, ex-art students, and non-students. And where can that perpetual avant-garde be found today? I can think of no better example than Laughing Squid, a virtual Cabaret Voltaire, masterminded by Scott Beale, the web host with the most. And what is the name of this new incarnation of Dada? Why, Geek Art, of course. At least that's what I call it.
The avant-garde of the 20th Century was built around social networking, performances, venues, and trying to have a good time in times of bad times. Now nukes make the machine gun seem puny. As each avant-garde movement passed into history, all that remained were the static artifacts, the drawings, paintings, sculptures, assemblages, and printed texts. As one would read in a complete narrative of the avant-garde of yore, Laughing Squid's Squid List is mostly about events, not objects.
Tomorrow I will be attending a special celebration in San Francisco, as Laughing Squid enters its second decade of existence. I am happy to be able to be a part of that historic event. Laughing Squid, by the way, is the web hosting service where Jonathan's Coffeeblog resides. As for me, am I a geek? Am I an artist? It is of no importance.Permanent Link to This Entry | | | Technorati Tag: LaughingSquid
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