Figure 5 and Collage

Hage presents the use of journals by Tzara and the Dada movement as an umbrella for many art forms, which jells with my understanding of literature generically: it houses epic and myth, pastoral poetry, closet drama, and more recently, absurd graphic machines that explode standard syntax in preference of a mechanized repository of names.

In a less tired way, I mean to say that the machines in Hage’s “Fig. 5” constellate verbal names less through spoken or written language than through graphic depictions of the machines that connect them. Syntax is more graphic than verbal. Instead of claiming that Tzara invented emoji, I am surprised to learn from Hage that the longer the movement carried on, the less its key players created art. The more they wrote about the term and its semantics.

Over the summer I worked at a conference wherein scholar Rona Cran gave a keynote about collage and Bob Dylan. Cran drew more from the high modernist moment more than I expected. I was compelled to think differently about collage. It’s an apparent, but inessential, chaos. It’s the Sims of art.

In the spirit of Dada, I (tried to) read the manifesto in its original French. I recognized words from my semesters in French class, and it was a good refresher, but by and large, I couldn’t accurately translate one full sentence. Instead, the reading experience left me awash, lost in a collage of mystifying, unfamiliar words and English cognates.