- Mission Statement
- “Anti-Art: In search of Dada reality”
- What is Anti-Art?
- Why does Anti-Art exist?
- How does Anti-Art propose to promote its message?
Anti-Art exists to be a universal multi-sensorial human
language, open for all humans, giving us the freedom to
penetrate and destroy habitual patterns and perceptions taught
and used in modern society; a bridging of the gap between our
inherited tribal element and the cerebral cyber element by
utilizing the rhythms of the body, machine, information flow and
recognizing the past as a means to devise tools for the present
which enables us to project forward into the future.
Western society today is becoming more and more obsessed with
simulations of different kinds. Some people refer to this as
“hyperreality”. We watch television, listen to the radio, sit
in front of computers, communicate via the Internet and talk on
cellular phones. All these activities are played in a field
which is not real, but we accept it without much questioning.
For example, talking on a cellular phone seems very real, but it
is really the sampling and filtering of your speech, sending the
data packets, then reconstructing and refiltering this data, so
that it again appears real, but in actuality, it’s not your real
voice. What if somebody would intercept and change these
packets? Would the listener notice?
Our world has become very fragmented, specialized and
superficial. The information feed into our senses is very high,
but there remains the question of it’s contents, meaning, depth
and quality. It seems that people have become very attached to
words in a literal sense. Words have been set as the equivalent
to reality and as a result, there is less room for play and
experiment which we can refer to as the joy of creativity.
Economics, immediate results and practical usefulness have
become the ways of measuring value in our modern culture. Our
childhood and school lessons teach us words and patterns which
we are expected to adopt and use in our everyday lives, but do
we really think for ourselves any longer?
Is the world really the same as the society which populates it?
People spend enormous amounts of energy worrying about their
possessions and roles in society, but is that all there is?
Isn’t this rather, a lack of reality or a void? Perhaps a
symptom of something missing, something which is more
substantial and eternal? It could be argued that religion
filled this space before, but it is useless in today’s age.
People seem to have forgotten how to “breath” using only their
senses. They can no longer perceive or sense without thought
processes or analyses, unlike Zen followers, who have a
meditation technique called “Zazen”. The purpose of “Zazen” is
to learn how to perceive reality directly, to cut out the stream
of consciousness and worries about yesterday and the future. In
order to really perceive, one must take in the NOW, not the then
or the later. One must feel connected and aware of the reality
being present. A tree is not just an abstract entity to be
analyzed and discussed in the Zen mind as it is in the
mainstream Western mind.
The cognitive side of human behavior is much more appreciated
and encouraged in our world. To talk, to analyze, to use logical
reasoning etc. which removes or postpones the flow of time and
takes away the awareness. One becomes a problem-solver, seeing
life itself as a set of problems to solve. The only data used is
old memories and future beliefs.
The duality between good and evil has become a reality in
itself. But good and evil are just language constructs. Life is
an interconnection, an intertwining of good and evil. We must
unlearn this old-fashioned duality.
Another pattern is the reaction to as opposed to the action on
the sensory input. We like to know what others think of us and
what their valuations are. Our confidence becomes an external
matter. We become vulnerable in far too high of a degree.
We exist within boundaries which are predefined by our senses.
Our senses are just that however; that which we interpret based
upon our bodies reactions to external stimuli. A light shines
in our face and we hold a hand up to cover. A cold blast of
winds moves into the places we live and we take shelter with a
warm coat. However, these are just the body’s interpretation of
the “facts”. Different bodies have differing tolerances to
these stimuli. There are no absolutes. Our minds, which
formulate our cultural aspects, behave in the same manner.
Liberals, conservatives, the religious, the atheistic…all are
examples of groups of people who interpret “reality”. The
cultural stimulus is the same, however, it is the interpretation
of these stimuli which drives our reactions to them. In a
humanistic sense, there are no realities and truths. There are
only manipulations of the input in our collective societal
By recognizing this dilemma we propose to formulate alternative
realities which of course, may not necessarily be closer to the
“truth” (if indeed, such a thing exists) but at the very least
it is a beacon to indicate that there indeed need be the
questioning of what we consider to be fact, truth, morality, etc.
We, in Western Society, who are more or less privileged enough
to have our basic needs of life fulfilled must begin a search
into an alternative world which we may perhaps call the “dada
reality”, in order to mark the difference more clearly. Perhaps
it does not exist but we must not allow ourselves the luxury to
feel certain that it does not.
Dada reality is the field of deep human and universal unity,
with a clear light shining through. It is not an argument
against hyperreality so much as it is the recognition of
something more, something larger, both inside and outside of the
boundaries of hyperreality.
We believe that art is the most suitable human mechanism for
conducting this search into dada reality. We must assemble
around something which is concrete; a framework or structure to
build off of. This place is called Anti-Art. Anti-Art is the
locus and starting-point. It is our way of documenting and
inspiring the search.
Anti-Art wishes to deconstruct and rebuild that which society
accepts and grab said society by the throat and force it to look
into a prism which refracts alternatives. Yes, it is true that
Anti-Art is still forced to utilize the same sensorial tools,
but the crucial difference lies in Anti-Art’s ability to
perceive that the tools need to be constantly challenged and
forced into new parameters of perception.
I (Robert Dada) founded Anti-Art Productions (then known as Anti-Art Studios)
in 1990, initially as an independent personal artistic endeavor,
as an outlet, a forum, which seeks to expose what I feel to be
the truth which lies underneath the complacent, mediocre facade
of the contemporary human condition. It existed as a collective
of my artistic work under one umbrella. Over the past six
years, I have embarked upon a creative journey within my mind,
body and soul which has carried me into various artistic media.
Currently Anti-Art Productions contains my music and sound
collages, paper and computer designed visual collages, digital
paintings and various written works. My work can best bedescribed as an exploration of my psyche and my observations of
the world around me, be they of a sensorial, emotional, social
and/or political nature.
My direct artistic influences are the Dada and Surrealist
movements though I must state that my work is not exclusively
confined to those realms. Rather, those movements act as points
of departure for what I wish to explore.
After I gathered a large enough body of work, I created an
Internet World Wide Web Site in the summer of 1995 (renaming my
endeavor Anti-Art Productions) to unleash my work upon the
masses. My goal was/is to entertain and educate interested
parties with my thoughts and/or incur the scorn of those who
would choose to disagree either artistically and/or
philosophically with my viewpoints. An equally important goal
though, became the desire and need to gather like minds and form
a collective of free artistic thought. Therefore, Anti-Art
sought out and now also features the works of others who share
similar viewpoints who rally under the banner, “All freedom in
Art has ceased to be a major challenging force on the masses in
general. It doesn’t grab the populace en masse and give it a
sound thrashing. It has largely withered back into the banal
existence of art for the sake of aesthetics. Most of today’s
“popular” music, film, visual art, literature is nothing more
than sensorial candy which satisfies only a superficial
whimsical need in the masses. Strong messages are largely
absent, especially those of a subversive, esoteric or
confrontational nature. Every now and then, something will come
along which, on the surface, appears to convey something
challenging and meaningful but more often than not, it is just a
promotional gimmick utilized to satisfy a profit incentive from
a group who cares little or not at all about any meaningful
message to the public. It is nothing more than a bastardization
of real art. I will not disagree with the assertion that valid,
hard hitting art exists and is displayed in galleries, theaters,
etc., which seek to make a difference. However, it is my
observation that this art is being largely ignored by the
general public, who would much rather view landscapes and still
lifes as opposed to “thought and emotion” committed to symbolic
form, if they even take in any art at all.
The pendulum has swung back hard to the rise of the right wing
ultraconservative faux puritanical moralistic society. Living
in the United States, this is beyond being blatantly apparent.
The government is increasingly invading the havens of free
thought and dissent and seeks to control it, all under the guise
of concern for the welfare of successive generations. This is
rubbish! It is once again, back to the days of the protection
of the bourgeois and their desire to accumulate more wealth and
power and maintain their security and control of it. The
Western countries are showing signs of economic fatigue and the
ruling and controlling elitist elements are declaring war on the
middle and lower classes with their “slash and burn” raping of
society for their own avaricious concerns. The last thing they
want is for the masses to educate and enlighten themselves, for
education is power. Therefore, they have also declared war on
the world of art, in all of its forms, which offers a message of
dissent. Music, film, painting, literature…all of it is
coming under fire from the ruling elitists, who deem it obscene
and immoral and a violation against humanity.
Anti-Art represents an attempt by the common man to fight back
and awaken the populace who are willing to listen. Anti-Art
does not hesitate to commit to form, a thought which may be
unpleasant to the world. The world is draped in evil and
ugliness and hiding from it behind “pretty impressionism” etc.,
will not eradicate it. Rather, it will more firmly root itself
into the fabric of our very existence. The only way to
exterminate the ugliness is to meet it head on and on its very
terms. Pure and total confrontation with the purpose of
exposing it for all to see. Anti-Art is truth; truth which can
be dark and unpleasant. Anti-Art is a reflection of the real
world, a scream in the wind of indifference. Anti-Art seeks out
its own kind for there is strength in the unity of a collective
The Internet is the ideal home for Anti-Art for this medium
provides access to people all over the globe, people who, under
other circumstances, would never be able to effectively
communicate with the outside world. It is a cost effective
medium which allows anti-artists to “meet and discuss” their
thoughts and their works and offers a multimedia forum for
exhibition. The Internet is for Anti-Art, a calling card, an invitation, to
other anti-artists. The Internet provides the possibility to
unite pre-existing anti-art “satellites” and link them together.
It is artistic symbiosis. It brings together, creative talents
who then can not only continue to focus on their own individual
endeavors but also work in collaborative efforts. It offers
each anti-artist, the ability to learn from each other and grow
at a rate which could never be achieved on an individual basis.
All forms of art can be adequately presented through the
Internet. Virtual museums and libraries can be built which
feature our efforts. Currently, the Anti-Art Internet web site
features sound, visual and literary art from a wide variety of
artists. Anti-Art is also linked to other web sites of an
anti-art nature and vice versa, providing the means to attract
greater and greater numbers of patrons and collaborators (or,
dare I say, co-conspirators?).
Currently, each Anti-Artist is expanding their body of work on
an individual basis. In addition, there have been numerous
discussions amongst them to begin engaging in collaborative
efforts, some of which are currently underway. Anti-Art has
taken on a life of its own and we Anti-Artists are becoming its
appendages and organs – its life blood. We direct it to an
extent but it also directs us and forces us to go down uncharted
paths, pushing us further into the depths of anti-art. As such,
it is a school of thought for each anti-artist in addition to
being an artistic enlightenment vehicle for humanity.
Anti-Art Productions can be reached via United States mail at
the following address:
P.O. Box 180
Irwin PA, 15642 USA
World Wide Web Site: http://www.anti-art.com
In addition, the following Anti-Artists can be reached via
|Rolf van Gelder
|Marc Christopher Williams
|Sander de Jong
Rolf van Gelder
Marc Christopher Williams
Sander de Jong
Copyright 1996, Robert Dada, Per Bergman, Rolf van Gelder.