Save Karawane!!!

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Help Hugo Ball Save Karawane

Early on in the course, I decided that I would have to do something with Hugo Ball's Karawane. It was a powerful and inspiring piece. I actually came back to my room after we had listened to it in class and played it for my roomate and my hallway on full blast. When the time came to update the old works of Dada and Pop Art, I knew that I wanted to take on Karawane.

The challenge of re-intrepreting an already great work was very intimidating to me. For days, I thought about how I might re-intrepret or update Karawane so that it would become contemporary, or at least understandable to our media saturated society.

Eventually, I realized that I was unable to update Karawane in any way that I thought would do it full justice. That was my problem from the get-go, I wanted to justify Karawane and to set it in a framework that would fully glorify it.

Instead of giving Karawane the credit it deserves, I decided to de-value it within a framework that pop culture is very comfortable with. I decided to make a video game out of the sound poem with a plot so weak and insipid that it might in turn mock the society that would accept it.

I have trivialized Karawane by placing it in the ridiculous context of an old school, side-scrolling, SNES-inspired video game. I used a program called Power Game Factory to make the game, and because the Dadaists were operating on limited to no budget, I decided to use the default characters of the demo set.

The game's challenge posits our young hero, a eskimo-soldier armed with a laser gun, against evil, snowball-wielding snowmen. He must melt the snowmen to rescue parts of Karawane for Hugo Ball. If he succeeds, Zurich will witness the dawn of sound poetry. If he fails, Dadaist Poetry may go unfounded.


Designed for Macs (because Hugo Ball would never have used a PC):

Save Karawane!!! 1



**The video of the game was recorded using Grab's timed screen capture. Its quality is therefore relatively weak. There is a lot of lagging. Open it up in iTunes to see the video. You can also add it to your ipod if you so desire.**

Screen Shots




Materials, Programs Used

  • Microsoft PowerPoint (used to create video sequences)
  • iMovie HD (used to create video sequences)
  • Power Game Factory Demo Version (used to make the video game itself)
  • Audacity (used to edit the audio files that were supplied for background music, and opening credits)
  • Adobe Photoshop (used to create/edit the images that appear in the game)

Historical Background

The Dada movement, as centered in Zurich, Switzerland represented the artistic reaction to the horrors of World War I. Under the banner of Anti-Art, Dadaists produced works that shook the way art had been understood by generations of Europeans. It was both a profound reaction to the highly mechanized killing process of the first world war and a counter culture movement against the growing industrialization of the 'civilized world.'

Hugo Ball wrote Karawane as a sound poem. Its word are non-sensical, its meaning unique to its listener.

Somehow, these 'non-words' resonate louder than most formal literature. Somehow this Anti- Art means more than just Art.

Your Mission

Play along as you help Hugo Ball find his lost poem before its first reading at the Cabaret Voltaire. Evil Snow Men have stolen the poem because they hate sound poetry.

Battle the snow men to win back pieces of the poem. You can only claim victory when you kill all of the sound poetry-hating snow men and have pieced together all of Karawane. Be careful of pitfalls, invisible perchs, and the snow weaponry of your enemies.

Now you are Hugo, Zurich, and the Dadaist's only hope. Save Karawane!!!

About the Artist

See my home page on this Wiki.

Zack McCune

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