In the second chapter of Lievrouw’s The Roots of Alternative and Activist New Media, the author discusses the tactics by which the Dada movement used their artistic medium as a way of furthering their messages of rebellion. In this way, Dadaist Art, targeted the masses with the goal of illuminating the “absurdity of war, politics, and popular culture” in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Using common imagery found in wartime propaganda and advertisements for consumerist goods, collaging them together to create visually fragmented, distortions of everyday images which forced viewers to reconsider popular media in a new light.

Contemporary artist, Adam Pendleton, continues to interject these Dadaist techniques in his large-scale mixed media collages which “link the language of past movements to the present day” LINK HERE. In an interview on his 2015 Installation at the 56th annual Venice Biennale, he commented that he hopes his work will help expand the Black Lives Matter Movement into a larger practice he calls, Black Dada:

“I am asking this language of ‘Black Lives Matter’ to exist in relationship to other ideas and language that has been occupying space within my body of work. The language I am referring to specifically is Black Dada. Black as something that functions as a conceptual idea, as an open-ended signifier, and dada of course referring to a radical movement in art where artists, too, were responding to a social political dynamic. Black Dada is something I have thinking about publicly, often through textual or visual means.” – Adam Pendleton

Moreover, Pendleton also embodies many of the elements summarized in Lievrouw’s writings on the New Social Movement and its ideas around a collective identity. In this way, Pendleton’s work promotes and interweaves language and imagery around the Black Lives Matter movement into one cohesive identity. Thus, by connecting imagery from the Civil Rights Movement with images of virtual protesting today we are able to reconnect the BLM movement to its roots, and Pendleton’s works build a deeper meaning through historical contextualization.


One response »

  1. I think art can always be used to further convey a message or contextualize a movement in a way that other mediums cannot. It brings people who many not normally be brought together by the mere fact of connecting through a the form of political creative expression.

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