Fümms bö wö tää zää Uu
pögiff,
kwii Ee
Oooooooooooooooooooooooo ... ..

No, it's not a typo, and it's not a madman's last rattling sign of life. The words were uttered with great vigor by a middle-aged, tacky-looking man, and are the beginnings of German Dadaist Kurt Schwitters' "Ursonate" from 1932. Should you be curious about the rest, it's available on YouTube – with Schwitters himself and a number of other practitioners venturing out. The Ursonata in full version is a power performance – it takes over half an hour, and requires a lot of both emotional expression and open-mindedness of the audience.

I point this out as an example of how the centenarian dada is still alive, often in the shadow of art prints with new names and labels. If you look closely, you will find clear dada roots in a wealth of expressions – the roots that go back to the wild, rebellious, desperate and noisy gang that started dada in 1916 in Zurich. The background was disgust and shock over the First World War – deserters and war deniers sought refuge in neutral Switzerland, and met frustrated. . .

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