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Distributed for Dartmouth College Press

Shock and the Senseless in Dada and Fluxus

In this thought-provoking work, Dorothée Brill examines notions of shock and the senseless in Dada and Fluxus, pairing two distinctly radical art movements that challenged the very notion and purpose of art. Laying out a genealogy of surrealisms, she addresses the senseless in artistic production as a strategy toward shock—generally considered to be characteristic of the historical avant-garde. Examining the changing correlation between the notions of shock and the senseless in their artistic use in prewar Europe and postwar America, Brill arrives at a new understanding of the overstrained and generally pejorative catch phrase of “shock for shock’s sake.”

256 pages | 6 x 9

Art: Art--General Studies

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Table of Contents

Note on Translations • Introduction: SHOCK OF THE SENSELESS • THE NOTION OF SHOCK IN EARLY TWENTIETH-CENTURY EUROPE • Shock and Urbanity: Walter Benjamin and Georg Simmel • Shock and World War I: Walter Benjamin and Sigmund Freud • Shock and Tactility in Walter Benjamin • SHOCK AND THE SENSELESS IN DADA • Dada’s Notion of Art and Its Sociocultural Context • Senselessness, the New, and the “Shock of the Unintelligible” • The Senseless in Walter Benjamin’s Concept of Shock • SHOCK AND THE SENSELESS IN FLUXUS • The Sociocultural Context of Fluxus • From Politics to a Worldview: Transforming the Senseless •Art as Perception • Shock and Boredom: Fluxus’s “Senseless Perception” • Conclusion: COMMUNICATING THE VOID • Acknowledgments • Notes • Bibliography • Illustration Credits • Index

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