A "Living Magazine": Hugo Ball's Cabaret Voltaire

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Abstract: By putting Hugo Ball's anthology Cabaret Voltaire (1916) into dialogue with the live performances at the Cabaret Voltaire, this essay offers a refreshed view of this seminal Dada document. It approaches Cabaret Voltaire as a living magazine, a phrase Ball used to describe the space at Spiegelgasse No. 1 in Zurich. The publication's cabaret-like characteristics, mobility, and constantly changing identity made it markedly animated and dynamic. Tristan Tzara reframed Cabaret Voltaire conceived initially as an anthology that documented events as a transportable, active magazine for promoting Dada and his own periodical, Dada. By defying conventional divisions between performance and print media, Cabaret Voltaire facilitated the Dadaists' notable debunking of privileging the live over the mediated. The importance of the magazine in negotiating this reconception continued half a century later, in the form of the 1970s zine, CabVolt, which again reinvented Ball's publication.

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