I didn't know much about Dada until I attended part of a Dada celebration - it's been 100 years since the movement first began.
When my friend Jenny mentioned she was reading poetry for the local celebrations of this event, I had to rack my brains as to what knowledge I had of this movement.
The image that immediately came to mind was of a melting watch or a clock, but that turned out to be Dali I was thinking of and his painting, 'The Persistence Of Memory' (aptly enough as it turned out, considering I was searching my own memory).
I now know a little more, so here are my random thoughts in no particular order (which is possibly very Dada).
Dada is French for hobby horse; or maybe means rocking horse.
The movement (Dadaism) itself started in Switzerland during the First World War.
It is against war and anything that smacks of dictatorship or sense of entitlement.
It is an avant garde movement associated with radical leftist thinkers.
It is associated with Cubism and surrealism.
Dada intersects with art / literary, politics and culture.
There are no rules in the Dada movement; rules and reason are anathema to the Dada movement.
The Dada centenary exhibition and performance space was held in a cool (literally and figuratively) underground building that stretches underneath part of the Octagon in Dunedin.
New Zealand poet, Jenny Powell
Down in the depths of the underground space, we couldn't hear the skirl of pipes from the Octagon, so it was fittingly surreal to come up into the sunshine and be greeted with another world within worlds.
After my short exposure to a little Dadaism, I sat in the Octagon with a handle of Pilsner and chatted with friends about how frustrating life can be for some people, and how underground movements, like Dadaism, are a good antidote to the confident heavies weighing in and causing wars (which can come in many forms; large and small) and generally raining on your parade. (The Lucys v the Charlie Browns).
Movements such as Dada are the quiet revolutions.
For me, this attitude is partly reflected in what (the rather stern, despite his curly hair) Schopenhauer says on the subject of reading: 'A pre-condition for reading good books is not reading bad ones, for life is too short'.
In his writings Schopenhauer also mentions the Latin saying: 'Dies diem docet'; 'One day teaches another day'.
I like that.
I don't know that I would like Schopenhauer if I met him in person, but he does make you think. I'll give him that.