The Dadaist Seminar – About us

1. Zürich’s dadaist legacy

Dada was first proposed by a group of migrants, stranded during the First World War in Zürich, at the famous Cabaret Voltaire in 1916. The aim of this new art form was to destroy the traditional terms of bourgeois art and culture.

Dadaism elevated subversion to a form of art, making it very attractive to protest movements around the world. Dada was highly influential in the ‘68 student protests and subsequent ‘80s youth movements. A rich dadaistic tradition continues within Zürich’s squatting subculture, despite the fact that no local artists took active part in its historical beginnings. Given this, it was unsurprisingly artistic intervention from Zürich’s squatters which rescued the historical Cabaret Voltaire from demolition in 2002.

2. The Dadaist Seminar concept for Prague

Dada is an art form that will always question capitalist, career-focused structures and mentalities within contemporary Western society. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Dada in 2016 we want to test this mechanism by establishing “The Dadaist Seminar” in Prague. Based on one of the central principles of Dada, the imperative of absurdity, The Dadaist Seminar aims to create a framework for the establishment of participatory, interdisciplinary and international art “actions” within Prague.

The Divo Institute has rented a small shop at Bořivojova Nr. 70 in Prague Žižkov be the home of The Dadaist Seminar for the period of one year. Here artistic interventions and projects will be devised and implemented. It will also serve as an interface of art, life and science, providing space for new encounters and interactions between artists, the public, and our common cultural heritage.

The Dadaist Seminar will additionally represent and explore the principles and concerns of Dada through regular exhibitions, artistic actions, and events, covering both theoretical and physical. The seminar should function as a brand, representing dada across all artistic disciplines.

3. The Dadaist Seminar as a research project

During the winter semester 2016/17 the seminar will organize a series of public lectures at Charles University, in which we will explore the influence of dada on contemporary art projects and social movements originating in Zürich. One of the main focuses of the project will be the presentation of artistic collectives and alternative projects from Zürich and Prague. Parallel to this theoretical discussion, we will organize concerts billing Zürich musicians and Czech musicians side by side, to be held in the music club Klubovna ( in Prague in September.The bands invited from Zürich are:

Fai Baba


The bands from Prague are:

Jezis tahne na Berlin


In November 2016, the seminar will present a salon in the Clubraum of the Rote Fabrik in Zürich, inviting all the artists and writers from Prague to travel to Switzerland to attend.

All activities of the seminar will be publicized online, and published as a regular blog.

4. Timescale

The Dadaist Seminar’s regular program of monthly exhibitions will run from The start of May to the end of the season in August, beginning again from the end of October until the end of January 2017.

Between June and September The Dadaist Seminar shop-space will be open for projects and proposals.

5. Events in the shop

The program for The Dadaist Seminars in three parts.

a. “dadalog”

A series of monthly exhibitions by the name of “dadalog”, showing various contemporary artists from Zürich and Prague. The seminar will invite Zürich artists based within the so-called subculture who live and work in temporary art projects to exhibit their work in The Dadaist Seminar space.

The artists invited can stay for one-to-two weeks in Prague to realize their show, and to produce a site-specific work which will be exhibited in the back room of the space. This artwork will be included in a larger installation built by all artists showing in the space. This collective work is a small “Merzbau” which will grow continuously throughout the year, with the individual components of the installation to be returned to the artists at the end of the project.

Artists have been invited to show their works at the dadaist seminar during the first phase of the seminar from May until August 2016, the list can be seen in the Programm.


b. “critical dinner”

Twice a month the “critical dinner” at The Dadaist Seminar is hosted by a series of invited artists, art historians, comedians and activists. The host of the evening will organize a meal for 24 invited guests. During this dinner informal discussions and presentations will take place centered around the current exhibition or action in the shop.Once a month a guest from Zürich is invited to host the dinner. The gusts from Zürich for the first three months are:

-Esther Eppstein

-Thomas Haemmerli

-Kyros Kikos

-Cathrine Hug

c. “talk like an alien”

The third regular format is the weekly literary salon, “Talk like an alien” hosted by Dr. Louis Armand and Dr. David Vichnar. Here, Czech and international writers and poets will perform new anglophone works to a live audience.

6. Public interventions during the Summer of 2016

In addition to the regular program, The Dadaist Seminar will also encourage and organize events outside the space. The seminar reclaims the public space by inviting artists and performers for interventions in and around the designated seminar space.

One such intervention is planned for the month of August- consisting of transforming a van into a traveling art center in front of the shop-space. The van would occupy the parking lot opposite the shop, to be refurbished in public. During this time the shop-space will function as a public workshop. This action will last one month, and lectures and discussions around the topic of mobile homes as forms of artistic expression will be held on the street. After the conversion the van will be used as a base for performative interventions in the public space.

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