In 1916, Hugo Ball created the Dada Manifesto, making a political statement about his views on the terrible state of society and acknowledging his dislike for philosophies in the past claiming to possess the ultimate Truth. In 1918, Ball wrote his poem Karawane, which is a poem consisting of nonsensical words. The meaning however resides in its meaninglessness, reflecting the chief principle behind Dadaism. In 2006, Kenneth Goldsmith posted this clip of Maria Osmond reciting Hugo Balls’ 1918 sound poem Karawane on the TV show Ripley’s Believe It or Not; it was taken from a CD supplement to Greil Marcus’s Lipstick Traces. According to Ripley’s producer Jed Rasula, “Marie Osmond became co-host with Jack Palance. In the format of the show, little topic clusters (like “weird language”) were introduced by one of the hosts. In this case, the frame was Cabaret Voltaire. Marie was required to read Hugo Ball’s sound poem Karawane and a few script lines. Much to everybody’s astonishment, when they started filming she abruptly looked away from the cue cards directly into the camera and recited, by memory, Karawane. It blew everybody away, and I think they only needed that one take.” Who knew?
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