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Hugo Ball (1886 - 1927)

Related: Cabaret Voltaire - dada - poetry - modern art

Bibliography: Lipstick Traces, a Secret History of 20th Century (1989)

Hugo Ball, 1916, performing Karawane


Hugo Ball (February 22, 1886 - September 14, 1927) was a German author and poet.

Hugo Ball was born in Pirmasens, Germany. He was one of the leading artists in the Dadaism movement, or Dada. Some of his best known works are the poem "Karawane," a collection of poems 7 schizophrene Sonette, the drama Die Nase des Michelangelo, a memoir of the Zürich period Flight Out of Time: A Dada Diary, and a biography of Hermann Hesse.

As co-founder of the Cabaret Voltaire in Zürich he led the Dada Zürich movement and coined the word "Dada", which he allegedly took from a dictionary. He was married to Emmy Hennings, another member of Dada Zürich.

He died in Sant’Abbondio, Switzerland.

His poem "Gadji beri bimba" was later adapted to song on the Talking Heads album "Fear of Music" as "I Zimbra". --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugo_Ball [Apr 2005]

see also: cabaret - dada - 1916


In search of anti-art.

Hugo Ball (1886-1926) invented a form of anti-poetry in 1916:

"I have invented a new genre of poems, Verse ohne Worte, (poems without words) or Lautgedichte (sound poems), in which the balance of the vowels is weighed and distributed solely according to the values of the beginning sequence. I gave a reading of the first one of these poems this evening. I had made myself a special costume for it. My legs were in a cylinder of shiny blue cardboard, which came up to my hips so that I looked like an obelisk... I also wore a high, blue-and-white-striped witch doctor's hat."

--Hugo Ball, Flight Out of Time, edited by John Elderfield, translated by Ann Raimes (New York: The Viking Press, The Documents of the 20th Century Art, 1974 [1924]), p. 70.

via http://cotati.sjsu.edu/spoetry/folder6/ng65.html [Jul 2006]

See also: anti-art - poetry - sound art - Hugo Ball

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