Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 18, Iss. 3, July, 2014, pp. 329-343
@2014 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences


Invoking the Muse: Dada”s Chaos

Diane Rosen, State University of New York, Suffern, NY

Abstract: Dada, a self-proclaimed (anti)art (non)movement, took shape in 1916 among a group of writers and artists who rejected the traditions of a stagnating bourgeoisie. Instead, they adopted means of creative expression that embraced chaos, stoked instability and undermined logic, an outburst that overturned centuries of classical and Romantic aesthetics. Paradoxically, this insistence on disorder foreshadowed a new order in understanding creativity. Nearly one hundred years later, Nonlinear Dynamical Systems theory (NDS) gives renewed currency to Dada’s visionary perspective on chance, chaos and creative cognition. This paper explores commonalities between NDS-theory and this early precursor of the nonlinear paradigm, suggesting that their conceptual synergy illuminates what it means to ”be creative” beyond the disciplinary boundaries of either. Key features are discussed within a 5P model of creativity based on Rhodes” 4P framework (Person, Process, Press, Product), to which I add Participant-Viewer for the interactivity of observer-observed. Grounded in my own art practice, several techniques are then put forward as non-methodical methods that invoke creative border zones, those regions where Dada”s chance and design are wedded in a dialectical tension of opposites.

Keywords: Dada, creativity, chance, chaos, disequilibrium