Dada Divas Presents: RUBBISH is a celebration of 100 years of Dada, bringing to light the neglected but brilliant and bizarre women of the Dada movement through the lens of the modern woman.
RUBBISH was created through a year-long course offered this year at CalArts, which is itself modeled on Jacqueline Bobak’s Dada Divas research and performance project. Students conducted background research and study of early 20th-century artistic movements, including Expressionism, Futurism and Dada, as well as intensive study of the creative works, ideas, and lives of important female artists who were among the originators of the Dada movement: Emmy Hennings, Mina Loy, Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, and others. In all class sessions, comparisons were drawn between the Dada era and the relevancy of its concerns and issues, 100 years later.
Almost all aspects of tonight’s show are based on these women’s works, lives and ideas, as well as on original Dada events that took place at the birthplace of Dada—the Cabaret Voltaire in Zürich—100 years ago. One of Dada’s major contributions to the modern art world, and a method utilized by the original Dada Divas, was the creation of art (collage, visual art, poetry, etc.) out of found objects or discards. Found objects and “rubbish” are especially prevalent in tonight’s show—a very low-budget, DYI production, similar to what the Cabaret Voltaire artists created night after night. Costumes are assembled out of scraps from the CalArts costume shop, items from Goodwill, duct tape, “surprise bags” of left-overs and unsold merchandise at local craft stores, all put together with the liberal use of a glue gun and tape. The set is constructed primarily from garbage found in a municipal dump, assembled to create a living room. Costumes, make-up, music, staging—all aspects of the show—nod to the original historical era and divas while adding a modern flair. Nearly all aspects of the production have been designed and carried out by the students—from the selection of texts to the writing of music, to staging, producing, building lights and costumes, arranging publicity, managing the production, etc. It has been a whirlwind, truly collaborative effort—one that creates new art out of intensive study of the past, seen through the modern lens of today’s young artists and women.