DaDa Fest: Art Of The Lived Experiment

Bluecoat Arts Centre, Liverpool
Till 11th January 2015

Reviewed by Kiran Vegad

So here we are. In case you hadn’t noticed DaDaFest is in town, and that should make anyone happy. Even people like me who can’t quite comprehend that, during the centenary of WWI, the war to end all wars (it didn’t, obviously- there have been loads more and millions upon millions of broken bodies and grieving families and futures snuffed out in an instant) what seems to be the best any of you fucking deadbeats could come up with is a beautifully shot film, where all the men on one side and all the men on the other side stop shooting, just long enough to show us how great chocolate and capitalism are, before getting back in their trenches and killing the fuck out of each other for another few years.

Also, brilliantly, it chimes with the exact moment that, instead of realising that this is probably a more perfect time than ever to call out anyone exhibiting, even the tiniest sign of unthinking patriotism as a double-flagged, halfwitted, skinhead cunt, it is, for some reason, frowned upon. Even though he is, and anyone who says he isn’t, and anyone who argues that this is in any way patronising is one too. Heathen, pig-fucking, child-murdering cunts the lot of you.

Anyway, apologies, I have a hangover and I grow tired of you people quickly. DaDaFest- the Bluecoat- The Art of the Lived Experiment- go see it. Brought to us by DaDa- Disability and Deaf Arts- it apparently aims to answer the question of whether “In contemporary art, the artist’s own subjectivity [can] be incorporated, like the alchemist’s, into their work in new, experimental and challenging ways”. I genuinely have no idea whether it achieves this or, honestly, whether it even wants to. What it does manage is to almost perfectly recreate the crippling panic-attack hangovers to which I am all too often privy.

This sounds like a criticism but I assure you it’s not- the perfect hangover, much like love or life, demands pain in order to allow for beauty. And so it is that in the exhibition’s Ignition Room, while I desperately try to concentrate on Goya reproductions, a maddening newsreel loop of a chicken walking backwards plays.

While attempting to focus on David Lock’s disturbing collages in his Misfit series a woman in heels crushes rubber ducks beneath her feet, each squeak a prayer for death played out in front of a heap of broken mattresses. And then there are nightmarish spinning heads and noise and noise and darkness.

So go. And if you see me in the bar at the Bluecoat afterwards, for God’s sake buy me a drink.

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