100 years of Dada is actually no reason to celebrate, if you consider the history of how this most radical of all art movements was appropriated and neutralized. Nevertheless, Robert Cambrinus´ agile homage A DAD today honors the impulse behind the movement´s founding in 1916 at the Zurich Cabaret Voltaire. The alphabetic reversal of the film´s title signals its agenda to highlight the methodical know-how Dada gave the world, as forerunner of more recent applications such as the cut-up, re-mix or mash-up.
And this is precisely what Cambrinus´ film impressively demonstrates, revealing the collage mode underlying techniques of processing contemporary media phenomena: Hilariously cut-up introductory speeches are offered by the likes of Obama and Putin; predecessors of today´s digipoetry are honored through the citation of historical texts ranging from Christian Morgenstern to Ernst Jandl; spectacular images of current culture (from pornography to IS) are deservedly demystified under such headlines as "i-collage", and "Schwitters twitters". That every contemporary impulse of freedom or resistance is overshadowed by powerful information or intelligence giants (Facebook, Apple, NSA) also rubs off on ideological blocs of the past (Communism, National Socialism, the "free" West): "The present leaves traces in the past", reads a beautifully laid out blackmail letter. Staged scenes stand in refreshing contrast to the sampled footage, such as when master and dog turn reality upside down. And this perfectly exemplifies how "That Da Da Strain" cannot be removed from our world, as heard on the accompanying soundtrack in a song most eloquently delivered by the jazz singer Ethel Waters. (Christian Höller)
11 min 21 sec