Is Tumblr the inheritor of the Dada movement?


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This is a brilliant take on the situation. What it’s saying, and the way so many of us feel, summed up in one meme best of all: I can’t even.


Is Tumblr the inheritor of the Dada movement?



Is Tumblr, like most contemporary media, indebted to the innovators of the Dada movement?

Yeah, but it’s certainly not unique in that respect.


Great post. It took the election for me to finally get Dada and appreciate the level of contempt that it’s trying to express. Dada is for when you’re beyond arguing particular issues; it’s rejecting the entire frame of discussion, the culture’s basic value system. It wants to tear apart the very threads of meaning that hold society together. I feel like I’ve reached a point where I can’t even have a discussion with most Americans on most issues because to do so requires that I accept a series of underlying assumptions which are, themselves, a basic part of the problem.


DADA among other things was supposed to announce the end of Art with a capital “A”. In a way it did, for many artists it helped release them from the formal constraints of Art, empowered them to be creative in any way they wished, and severed (or at least mocked) the artist/viewer relationship. It also informed 2-3 generations of artists following, legitimizing visually questionable creative practices like (some) performance art, etc. Tumblr (and Instagram more so) has, in it’s way, brought an end to Photography with a capital “P”. Just like in the 80’s/90’s anyone with a page layout program considered themselves a graphic designer, today many with Tumblr/Instagram accounts consider themselves Photographers. Your viewing milage may vary. To me Tumblr is more about curation than creation.

But DADA was about creating even as it tore down, and produced fantastic work from artists like my fav Hanna Hoch. While admiring here excellent work “Da-Dandy” one day I realized the word DADA could have been an inside joke - when the band is done playing, there is that double musical crash of instruments “Da-Da”! It’s over!



I inherited a Y chromosome from Dada!


No. The idea that tumblr jokes are actually brilliant absurdist dada has been around for a while, but interestingly it’s not the people writing the jokes that claim this high artistic position, it’s the consumers of the jokes.

Which makes sense when you think about it, why would the creators need a status boost, they’re getting the likes and reblogs, it’s the audience who needs to feel good about themselves. They have decided to see themselves as intellectual luminaries because they like their friends’ memes. Actually that is kind of a trope on tumblr, lots of posts are about explaining how clever children’s TV or films are, a whole range of apologia for the stuff people were already viewing.




Perhaps the thing to take away is that Dada wasn’t brilliant absurdist dada, either. And yet here we are.


While we’re on the subject, could someone recommend a good aggregator for Tumblr text posts, i.e. one that isn’t stuffed full of ads or links to ad-stuffed content farms? I rather like , but it falls squarely in the former category, even though the ads are at least tasteful.


It’s more fun to insult pretentious teens

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