Dada’s Women

collaborative mixed-media works by composer Sonia Allori and artist Vaia Paziana based on 'Dada's Women' by Ruth Hemus

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Spring Soup Dada

Initiated and produced by artist Audrey O’Brien, the event Spring Soup Dada was held at Wasps Studios in Glasgow in March 2018. Audrey, whose practice and research has been heavily influenced by the Dadaist spirit, wanted to celebrate women artists of the Dada movement. Happily her research led her to Sonia and to our project.


Sonia Allori (left) Audrey O’Brien (centre) & participants

As well as an interest in Dada’s women, Audrey and Sonia have in common a commitment to social engagement and accessibility. Audrey describes her practice as ‘experience-based, engaging and experiential.’ Spring Soup Dada was billed as a chance to participate in ‘interactive chance techniques in a loosely arranged programme.’ A visual display produced and curated by Audrey highlighted five writers and artists: Céline Arnauld, Emmy Hennings, Hannah Höch, Sophie Taeuber and Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. Audrey’s programme included readings, poetry recitals and an impromptu co-tour with Ruth; an invitation to make duo-drawings inspired by Sophie Taeuber; and original musical composition and performances by Sonia. By drawing numbers out of a hat, participants (and chance) determined the performance order of sound files variously inspired by Dada artists’ words, newspaper headlines, and previous participative workshops. This was a community of co-creation. Oh, and there really WAS excellent soup, aptly provided by Soul Food Sisters, a co-op of enterprising, ethically-minded, migrant women with culinary talents and a manifesto with meaning.




I think that’s why Dada resonates with me…because you have the serious connotation and the highly developed ridiculous! – Sonia Allori.


Performing Dada’s Women at Tate Exchange

‘Theatres of Exchange’ – a partnership between Royal Holloway University and Tate Modern – gave us the opportunity to showcase and develop our project in the Switch Building on 13 February 2017.

Sonia’s specially-written soundtrack ‘Time Passing in Dada-Land’ welcomed participants and set an atmosphere of possibility that proved to be infectious. In an interactive presentation we sought to convey the pioneering interventions of Emmy Hennings and Sophie Taeuber in Zurich and Hannah Höch in Berlin.

Hennings was the inspiration for original visual and musical works brought to us by Vaia and Sonia. A digital animation produced and introduced by Vaia was overlaid with a score by Sonia – a perfect example of creative collaboration. Having brought both her clarinet and her voice, Sonia also performed an aria inspired by Hennings’ poems.

Dada's Women at Tate Modern

Photo: Andrew Mitchell

School and university students, families, and our invited visitors from Certitude were asked to get creative. In homage to Hannah Höch, some of our new Dada devotees cut and pasted visual fragments to create collages. Other initiates followed Tristan Tzara’s instruction ‘How to make a Dada poem,’ cutting out words from newspaper articles, shaking them in a bag, and rearranging with as much randomness as could be mustered.  Continue reading

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Dada Reloaded

Dada came to London on 21 May 2016 for Instant City Reloaded, when a delegation from the Cabaret Voltaire and Zurich University of the Arts came together with Central St. Martins to set up a provisional performance space. Our project team’s response to an open call for contributions to this twelve-hour event was accepted.

daisy chain fragments for Sisyphus [Dada edit] from Vaia Paziana on Vimeo.

A new digital animation by Vaia, with an original score by Sonia, called ‘daisy chain fragments for Sisyphus’, was shown on a big screen to an audience of artists, performers, students, scholars, visitors and curious passers-by.  Continue reading