The Jubilee

In 2016, Dada turns 100.

One February evening in 1916, Cabaret Votaire was born in Spiegelgasse 1, Zurich. A primal scream that still resonates accompanied the event: “Dada, Dada, Dada”.  Tristan Tzara, Hans Arp, Hugo Ball, Emmy Hennings, Marcel Janco, Sophie Taeuber and Richard Huelsenbeck roared, cooed and chirruped “Dada”. They danced, sang and stomped “Dada”.


From there, Cabaret Voltaire evolved into a melting pot of nationalities, art genres and styles. Dada was hypermodern, provocative, inventive and dissolved the boundaries that separated life from art. By the beginning of the 1920s, Dada had already become a worldwide network.


By way of their “movement international” and “world congresses”, the protagonists occupied and roamed through the world’s big cities with the aim of turning the globe into a branch of Dadaism. Dada became avant-garde’s primal expression without which surrealism, pop art, fluxus, mail art or punk would not have seen the light of day and which continues to galvanize artists, writers and designers to this very day.


Dada has become a code that stands for the radical experiment to reduce to absurdity of tried concepts and values – a strategy that’s valid still.

The real Dadaist “Chronique Zurichoise” (Zurich episode) came to a close in June 1919. Thanks to one of the world’s largest Dadaist collections at Zurich’s Museum of Art and the Cabaret Voltaire, which was reopened in 2004, Zurich has remained the center of the Dada universe.


For the 100th anniversary, Zurich is to become the place from which Dada’s heritage is kept alive, critically investigated, and from which the events taking place will be connected.


  • In this, Zurich’s Dada heritage is thought of as an archive of inspiration. It allows for turning the past into a dynamic process that has the power to influence present and future times, something for society to be proud of.
  • Inquiries into the strategies and motives of the Dadaists and the examination of their meaning in today’s context are to take place together with the subsequent transposition into current, contemporary constellations and forms.
  • This jubilee is one of ambitions: defying categories with a cultural program that combines highbrow and mainstream, the historically reflective with the contemporary.
  • The concept is to be as inclusive as possible with regards to institutions and persons.
  • The jubilee in Zurich is to be connected with other international Dada metropolises such as Berlin, Paris, New York or Moscow. At the same time, smaller Dada branches are to be taken into account as well as those in the making.
  • The jubilee begins before 2016. Various events and programs are to be developed beginning from now until 2016.
  • The jubilee is to be the occasion for the Cabaret Voltaire to solidify its position as a dynamic, contemporary institution of international renown in Zurich’s old town.


To assure the organization and planning of the Dada Jubilee, an association was founded in the spring of 2012. The association’s aim is to conceptualize and realize the Dada Jubilee 2016 in close cooperation with public and private partners. The association’s task is to define the contents of the jubilee, to enable cooperation of various kinds, and to channel external Dada projects to institutions, sponsors and to arts and culture promoters. The association may also support other activities for the benefit of the association’s primary goals.


Association members: Markus Notter (president), Peter Haerle, Jürgen Häusler, Franziska Burkhardt


Managing director and curator: Juri Steiner


John Armleder/ Nicolas Bideau/ Dirk Boll/ Jacqueline Burckhardt/ Heinz Bütler/ Bice Curiger/ Beat Curti/ Gerd Folkers/ Patrick Frey/ Mike Guyer/ Peter Haerle/ Jürgen Häusler/ Martin Heller/ Hans Mikael Herzog/ Thomas Hirschhorn/ Pius Knüsel/ Oliver Kornhoff/ Johanna Lohse/ Dieter Meier/ Thomas Meier/ Marcel Meili/ Raimund Meyer/ Markus Notter/ Werner Oechslin/ Iris Radisch/ Karen Roth-Krauthammer/ Martin Ruesch/ Christoph Schifferli/ Georg Schmid/ Werner Sieg/ Christoph Siegrist/ Brida von Castelberg/ Peter von Matt/ Thomas Wagner/ Peter K. Wehrli/ Iwan Wirth/ Beat Wyss/ Martin Zimper


The Dada Jubilee is supported by the city and canton of Zurich as well as the Federal Office of Culture (FOC). The “Salon Suisse” themed “S.O.S Dada. The World Is A Mess”, which was initiated and organized by Pro Helvetia, was the program to accompany the Swiss appearance at the 56th annual Art Biennale in Venice.


More than 40 local, national and international culture and arts institutions participate actively in the jubilee.


Since the Cabaret Voltaire has re-opened 2004 it has been steadily building up an international Dada network. This point of departure has provided a very useful framework for the planning process.

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