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While the First World War is often overlooked as an ideological conflict, one of many fronts of ideological combat during the Great War was Dadaism, a counter-culture art movement with roots in Zürich. The origins of “Dada” are disputed; Tristan Tzara, one founder and leader of the movement, explains in the Dada Manifesto of 1918 that the word has meanings in other languages which vary from sacred cow tails to cubes, and it ultimately signifies nothing. In the same manifesto, Tzara recalls Nietzschean influences by declaring that “beauty is dead.” Right off the bat, Dada was characterized by internationalism, irreverence, juxtaposition of disparate concepts, a mockery of materialism and a consciously anti-aesthetic design, all in response to perceived bourgeois decadence during the Great War. Presented in conjunction with the City of San Antonio’s Arts and Culture Department’s exhibition “MetaDada: High Art for the Populace,” Wednesday’s “MetaDada” Poetry Reading will be emceed by Anthony “The Poet” Flores, a slam poet who’s so San Anto that the subjects of his poetry include tacos and Kawhi Leonard. Flores also enjoys allusions, often outright but sometimes hardly noticeable, to prominent writers as distant as William Blake and Chinua Achebe. The self-described “lyrical pyromanic” finds parallels in Dadaism, such as critiques of materialism, childlike distance from societal mores and habits, and not-so-subtle jabs at nationalism.


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