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As an adjunct to the Hannah Höch exhibition at Whitechapel Art Gallery, this symposium gathers together artists, writers and critics to consider the impact of Dada and its continuing legacy. Born out of a rage at the consumerist conformity of the early 20th century, is Dada’s unruly, contrarian spirit as powerful (and as sorely needed) one hundred years on? Do the sharp wit and the pointed polemics of Dada’s cut-and-paste aesthetic still cut to the quick, or has over-familiarity (and co-option by the mainstream) blunted their critical edge? Does digital technology offer new avenues for (and new definitions of) creative collage, and new opportunities to disrupt and destabilise, or will the rise of Big Data crowd out, and snuff out, the maverick impulse toward provocation and spontaneity?
Writer and historian Esther Leslie, cultural critic Paul Morley, and artists George Barber, Thomson & Craighead and Nick Crowe & Ian Rawlinson add to these speculations, and showcase examples of recent work, while artist and researcher Kay Tabernacle locates some of these questions in Hannah Höch’s practice, and its own shifts and transformations through the years.
Curated by Film and Video Umbrella in partnership with Whitechapel Gallery. Supported by Slade School of Fine Art, UCL.