Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mechanical Head - The Spirit of Our Time

Raoul Hasumann (1919)

Raoul Hausmann was a leader of the German Dada movement in which art became a reflection of the shattered explosions from WWI. From their perspective, the fragmentation of art was a measure of the fragmentation of life, which was grotesquely manifested by the war. Hence this work by Hausmann was constructed from a hairdresser's wig-making dummy with various measuring devices attached to it—including a ruler, pocket watch mechanism, typewriter, camera segments, and a crocodile wallet. Hausmann was inspired by his belief that the average German "has no more capabilities than those which chance has glued on the outside of his skull; his brain remains empty.” A critique in contrast said that “this is a head whose ‘thoughts’ are materially determined by objects literally fixed to it.” Personally I also feel that this represents our thoughts but projected into reality. Therefore it is a conceptual assemblage that is both laughable and political.

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