In February 2016, we rememorated the 100 years of Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, the birth of DADA. Founded by immigrant artists and writers Hugo Ball, Emmy Hennings, Tristan Tzara, Marcel Janco, Richard Huelsenbeck, Sophie Taeuber-Arp and Hans Arp, the first event took place on February 5th, 1916, at the now legendary house of the Holländische Meierei at Spiegelgasse 1. Those were times of war, of anti-dystopian writing and art, in a cabaret, in neutral Switzerland, by immigrants. Our narrative of the historical avantgardes often forget this: the work of DADA was not simply for the sake of experimentation, simply originality for originality’s sake: their work was political, ethical. There were no clear boundaries for them between ethics and esthetics.
“Ethics and esthetics are one and the same.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus logico-philosophicus 6.422
We live in times of war, times in which we once again feel the need for an anti-dystopian writing and art, in this anything but neutral Europe, by immigrants and all. For the celebration of the 100 years of Cabaret Voltaire, Cabaret Wittgenstein wishes to bring together a series of writers and artists whose work show the survival of this DADA-Wittgenstein proposition: that ethics and esthetics are one and the same. We are interested in artists and writers who believe in participation through their work in the debates of their communities, in matters which are social, political and esthetic at the same time. Dialogue seems to become more and more difficult between warring factions within our Republics, with different views of what is best for the community.
And in the name of this community, demagogues rise. We would like to congregate writers and artists from within several national borders, natives and immigrants of several Western and Estern countries, in an attempt to counter the racist, militaristic and divisise discourses of our times, in a sense of a shared language, of several shared languages. Against war. Against division. Against demagoguery. In the spirit of DADA, of anti-dystopia, of anti-bellicism.