The subject matter of Dada Divas offers rich educational opportunities and encourages creative outgrowths. In 2015-2016 Jacqueline Bobak taught a year-long course at CalArts modeled on research and performance from the Dada Divas project. Students explored early 20th-century artistic movements and studied 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. The course culminated in an entirely student-generated performance—titled Rubbish—that celebrated 100 years of Dada and illuminated the neglected but brilliant and bizarre women of the Dada movement through a modern lens.
Almost all aspects of Rubbish were based on these women’s works, lives and ideas, as well as on events that took place at the birthplace of Dada, the Cabaret Voltaire in Zürich. 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 out of found objects or discards. Found objects and “rubbish”were prevalent throughout this deliberately low-budget, do-it-yourself production, similar to what the artists at the Cabaret Voltaire created night after night. The venue itself was a sort of "found" space, a well-worn lounge in a campus dorm. Costumes were assembled out of scraps from the CalArts costume shop, items from Goodwill, duct tape, and “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 was constructed primarily from garbage found in a municipal dump, assembled to create a living room. Costumes, make-up, music, and staging nodded to Dada's historical era while adding a modern flair. The photos below document some of this truly collaborative effort that created new art out of intensive study of the past.
Photos by Anaïs.