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Dada Futures: Inflation, Speculation, and Uncertainty in Der Dada No. 1


This article discusses the magazine Der Dada No. 1, published in 1919 by Raoul Hausmann and Johannes Baader, arguing that a central concern throughout the issue is the future and its manifest uncertainty. Der Dada No. 1 presents us with a historically specific way of thinking about futurity as such, a relationship to the future that exploits its inherent uncertainty for financial gain. Most crucially, Hausmann and Baader reveal how this speculative stance extends beyond the financial realm, ultimately encompassing all facets of the future, so that the most any individual can hope for is not to change the course of history, but merely to game the system. While hyperinflation was still a few years off when Der Dada No. 1 appeared in June 1919, inflationary rumblings had already begun, and Hausmann and Baader aptly assessed their implications. What they portray in Der Dada No. 1 is an attitude towards the future defined by speculation and uncertainty; a background against which Dada is proffered, ironically, as the only reliable investment.

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