Sunday, April 5, 2009

1916: "Karawane" by Hugo Ball

jolifanto bambla o falli bambla
großiga m'pfa habla horem
egiga goramen
higo bloiko russula huju
hollaka hollala
anlogo bung
blago bung blago bung
bosso fataka
ü üü ü
schampa wulla wussa olobo
hej tatta gorem
eschige zunbada
wulubu ssubudu uluwu ssubudu
tumba ba-umf
kusa gauma
ba – umf

The Author:
Hugo Ball
Born in Pirmasens, Germany in 1886, Ball attended university in Munich and Heidelberg. In 1910, he moved to Berlin, where he worked for several theatre companies. After World War I began, he moved to Zurich, in neutral Switzerland, where he founded the Cabaret Voltaire in 1916.

It was at the Cabaret Voltaire that he began performing nonsense sound poems like “Karawane,” [German for “Caravan”] which Ball performed in the costume seen above. These sound poems were intended as attacks on “the rationalized language of modernity that for him represented all that had led to the ‘agony and death throes of this age.’” (“NGA-DADA”) Click here to hear Marie Osmond read "Karawane".

In 1917, Ball helped Tristan Tzara organize Galerie Dada, an exhibition space dedicated to the Dada art. After a dispute with Tzara about the direction of the movement (Tzara wanted it to become more systematic), Ball left Zurich and the Dada movement behind in 1917. He died in 1927.

Here's a contemporary reading of the poem:

"Karawane ." 29 Mar. 2009 .
"NGA-DADA - Artists-Ball." National Gallery of Art. 29 Mar. 2009

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