Leah Michaels - Prezi Panorama

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The original

Dada Panorama (1919) by Hannah Hoch


In this collage, Dadaist artist Hannah Hoch combines photographs, newspaper clippings, and other materials to make a statement protesting World War I and the bourgeoisie interests that the Dadaists believed were to blame for it. The use of newspaper clippings was novel, and the Dadaists were the first to make photo collages accepted in the art world. The newspaper clippings were used to further the Dadaist idea of bridging art and life, and Hoch uses them to mock the "high and mighty" army officials and businessmen. By using newspapers, which were everyday, non-art elements, Hoch created a piece of "anti-art," as the Dadaists thought of it (the word "gegen" in German means "against"). The seeming chaos of the collage shows the irrationality of war and of the technological age and the "lack of reason" that had led to the war in the first place.

The Update

Prezi Panorama by Leah Michaels

Link to Project


Screenshot of project

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In Prezi Panorama, I have tried to update Hoch's work while still remaining true to the concepts behind the work and the Dada movement and the aspects of her piece aesthetically. To make this, I used a website/tool called Prezi, which is sort of an answer to the rigidity of Powerpoint presentations in that it allows more freedom with the appearance and movement of your presentation. This updated collage is interactive. Viewers can turn zoom in on what they want to focus on or look at everything together, move around freely, watch, stop, or mute any videos they please, etc. Depending on which videos you chose to play, the meaning, aesthetics, and feel of the piece change. Even though Prezi is more "free" than other presentation softwares, it is still based around a predetermined path. I have taken that aspect out of it in order to reappropriate this corporate tool as an art medium, like how Hoch and the Dada artists used materials that were not traditionally used in art. There is no pre-programmed path of movement, which is subverting what Prezi was originally intended for. I want people to think about what programs and tools meant for one purpose can be used in other ways, just as the original Dada-ists used anything and everything for their art and allowed the viewer to make of it what they would (I'm thinking of Duchamp's readymades in particular).

Just as how different materials are involved in Hoch's piece, I have different media in my piece. I used photos, text, political videos, art videos, and miscellaneous videos. I have also tried to maintain the anti-war message of the original piece. Whereas the Dadaists were obviously working during World War I, our wars have been those in the Middle East, and the one now at home with the Occupy Wall Street movement. I have footage from the war, people speaking out against the war, an anonymous Guy Fawkes message about OWS, Anemic Cinema by Marcel Duchamp, art by Nam June Paik, Imagine by John Lennon, and Nein cat, a derivative of the Internet meme Nyan cat. All together, the videos present a portrait of our nation and its current struggles, plus the irrationality of war. Some of the items I've included are from popular culture (or even sub-popular culture), which ties into the idea of 'anti-art." I've also used some images right from the Hoch piece, and some other ones which I thought were visually and symbolically similar but updated (ex: Anemic Cinema resembles the spiral of her piece, the soldiers in a line mimic Hoch's, etc.), plus German words and pictures. I hope that I was able to keep the Dada spirit of anti-war and artistic revolution intact in this piece.

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