Gesamtkunstwerk Cabaret Voltaire
Through the «Gesamtkunstwerk Cabaret Voltaire» we understand the physical property of Cabaret Voltaire not as a building, but as a work of art, as declared by Kerim Seiler on the 100th birthday of Cabaret Voltaire. The sculpture Cabaret Voltaire can be purchased as an art piece for 13 million CHF. As an artwork Cabaret Voltaire grants great freedom, because the power of art allows the property to override legal, economic and political entanglements of Cabaret Voltaire, and enables it to rise from them.
When we speak of a «Gesamtkunstwerk», we refer to Kurt Schwitters' «Merz Gesamtkunstwerk» momentum, in which Merz underlies the principle:
• Use of all kind of material for artistic work
• Playing off these materials against each other
• Imperative claim to autonomy for art
Schwitters formed his artistic work, as well as his life and his epoch, around this principle. Schwitters believed that he could form the time in which he worked with Merz, so that his epoch would have style once again. He began in his studio with the Merz Gesamtkunstwerk so that it would spread visionarilly into the world. «Maybe we might later have the chance to see the Merz Gesamtkunstwerk arise. We can’t create it because we would be part of the material of it.»
The «Gesamtkunstwerk Cabaret Voltaire» provides us with a visionary, free space in which to learn, think, and negotiate. It reminds us passively resistant of the Revolution Dadá, and inspires us actively resistant to rebellion, disorder, resistance and opposition. It is a monument that stands for chaos and non-art, as well as for form and art.
For Cabaret Voltaire, the «Art of the Upswing» results out of these two elements of the monument. The Dadaists also practiced the «Art of the Upswing». They accelerated by returning to old art to free themselves from the constrains of «-isms», to upswing to «New Art». We are also searching with an actualized re-enactment of what the Dadaists did, for the «New Art».
With this principle of the «Art of the Upswing» we create a narration for the «Gesamtkunstwerk Cabaret Voltaire». This feeds on the place, the business, and the institution as well as the historical dimensions and the contemporary potential of Cabaret Voltaire. In this narration we set art at the top of the social systems. We understand art as the avant-garde, or the Starship Enterprise of society: «To boldly go, where no man has gone before». With art as a forerunner, it is not about artworks, but instead about art as such, about the «spiritual function of humans» and about creating «mature human beings». We follow a «Kunstitution», and therefore have written a «Manifest Kunstitution», which, alongside numerous diagrams, historical films, and the archive and library of Cabaret Voltaire, forms the exhibition «Gesamtkunstwerk Cabaret Voltaire».
The Cabaret Voltaire lets its own Gesamtkunstwerk «arise», as the Merz Gesamtkunstwerk arose. It is not, and should not be, created by man. Through this arising the Gesamtkunstwerk becomes monumental. It «arises» superhuman, supra-rational and supernatural. It is both monstrous and sublime.
As the employees of the Cabaret Voltaire, we can't do much more than encourage this arising by following the three Merz principles. Through the past months we have learned that we need to follow our obsessions. That these, as Harald Szeemann stated, for his «Museum of Obsessions», can be used as a «value-free entity». With this energy, we create the space for the arising of the Gesamtkunstwerk, and we will become its real experimenting subjects.
For you we recreate an image of the whole and align our life realities with it. With this presentation, we prepare ourselves, and also you, for the 101st birthday of Dadá, to become bearers of the Gesamtkunstwerk by Carlos Amorales.
We are very happy about your obsessive participation and thank you in advance for letting the Gesamtkunstwerk of Cabaret Voltaire arise with you!