Ball 1996

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Ball, Hugo. Flight Out of Time: A Dada Diary. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.)

"Adopt symmetries and rhythms instead of principles. Oppose world systems and acts of state by transforming them into a phrase or a brush stroke. The distancing devise is the stuff of life. Let us be thoroughly new and inventive. Let us rewrite life every day. What we are celebrating is both buffoonery and a requiem mass." (56; 12.III)
”Sharpen the mind for the unique specialty of a thing. Avoid subordinate clauses. Always press straight onward.” (59, 6.IV)
”Perfect skepticism makes perfect freedom possible.” (59, 8.IV)
”Our cabaret is a gesture. Every word that is spoken and sung here says at least this one thing: that this humiliating age has not succeeded in winning our respect. What could be respectable and impressive about it? Its cannons? Ourbig drum drowns them. It idealism? That has long been a laughingstock, in its popular and its academic edition. The grandiose slaughters and cannibalistic exploits? Ourspontaneous foolishness and our enthusiasm for illusion will destroy them.” (61, 14.IV)
”An immense amount of intellectual activity is under way now, especially in Switzerland. The bondmots rain down. Headsare in labor and emanate an ethereal glow. There is a party of intellectuals, a politics of the intellect, the maneuvers almost cause traffic jams. ‘We intellectuals’ hasalready become the flourish of colloquial speech and a flowery phrase for traveling salesmen. There are intellectual suspenders, intellectual shirt buttons, the journals are busting with intellect, and the magazines out intellectualizeone another. If things go on like this, the day cannot be far off when the spontaneous ukase of a center for intellectual concentration will announce a general psychostasis and the end of the world.” (63, 21.IV)
”What we call dada is a farce of nothingness in which all higher questions are involved; a gladiator’s gesture, a play with shabby leftovers, the death warrant of posturing morality and abundance. The dadaist loves the extraordinary and the absurd. He knows that life asserts itself in contradiction, and that his age aims at the destruction of generosity as no other age has ever done before. He therefore welcomes any kind of mask. Any game of hide-and-seek, with its inherent power to deceive. In the midst of the enormous unnaturalness, the direct and the primitive seem incredible to him.” (65, 12.VI)
”The dadaistputs more trust in the honesty of events than in the wit of people. He can get people cheaply, himself included. He no longer believes in the comprehension of things from ‘’one’’ point of view, and yet he is still so convinced of the unity of all beings, of the totality of all things, that he suffers from the dissonances to the point of self-disintegration.” (66, 12.VI)
”There is a danger that only our mistakes are new.” (66, 15.VI)
”We have now driven the plasticity of the word to the point where it can scarcely be equaled. We achieved this at the expense of the rational, logically constructed sentence, and also by abandoning documentary work (which is possible only by means of a time-consuming grouping of sentences in logically ordered syntax).” (67, 18.VI)
”We tried to give the isolated vocables the fullness of an oath, the glow of a star. And curiously enough, the magically inspired vocables conceived and gave birth to a ‘’new’’ sentence that was not limited and confined by any conventional meaning. Touching lightly on a hundred ideas at the same time without naming them, this sentence made it possible to hear the innately playful, but hidden, irrational character of the listener; it wakened and strengthened the lowest strata of memory. Our experiments touched on areas of philosophy and of life that our environment —so rational and so precocious —scarcely let us dream of.” (68, 18.VI)
”In these phonetic poems we totally renounce the language that journalism has abused and corrupted. We must return to the innermost alchemy of the word, we must even give up the word too, to keep for poetry its last and holiest refuge.” (71, 24.VI)