The Posthuman Dada Guide: Tzara & Lenin Play Chess, by Andrei Codrescu
Having just had the pleasure of reviewing Sakevi Yokoyama’s oeuvre, triggered me to tumble down the rabbit hole of the Dada movement, the spirit of which to this day proves to be a sheer endless source of inspiration.
What makes The Posthuman Dada Guide interesting is that it is based on a thought experiment, i.e. an imagined “chess game” (the “game” being chosen as both protagonists can agree on its framework as the common denominator) between one of the luminaries of the movement, i.e. Tristan Tzara and Vladimir Lenin, both of which were chosen for representing two different schools of thought that on a surface level seem to be in part contradictory: On one hand, the merger of what was to become the hybrid of communist capitalism and on the other the emerging and ever challenging, boundary pushing, cheeky and hedonist Dada movement.
The excellent thought experiment culminates in Lenin winning the game with the result being that we all end up being dehumanized hybrids who capabilities are augmented by technology with Dadaism being the antidote to this soulless existence.
A concise, small, informative, surreal and wonderfully executed book that not only sheds light on the history of Dada, but in the most delicate and subversive way reconnects one with the inner rebellious avant-gardist, accentuates the merits of Dadaism and with its vivid and engaging language raises questions about what we have come to accept as politically and technologically “normal” and the way to be. The fact that it is a lot of fun to read does not hurt either.