Dieser Artikel will deutlich machen, wie die Dadabewegung eine Ästhetik des orgiastischen Wachstums entwickelte, die an die ökonomischen Prozesse der Hyperinflation anschlussfähig war. Es geht dabei nicht so sehr darum zu zeigen, dass die Dadaisten die Hyperinflation vorhergesehen hätten, sondern zu thematisieren, wie zeitgenössische Reflexionen auf die Inflation Rückgriff auf die Dadaästhetik genommen haben. Besonders zentral sind dabei eine Diskussion von Hans Ostwalds Buch Sittengeschichte der Inflation und Hans Richters Film Inflation.

It is a common topic of economic discussions, talk shows and even the feuilleton: inflation is one of the greatest fears of the German people. The hyperinflation of the twenties is supposedly rooted so deeply in the collective German mind that it echoes in the debates about the Euro crisis. The title page of the German news journal Der Spiegel from October 8, 2012, however, clearly shows that the collective anxiety in the early twenty-first century depends on a quite different phantasmagoria and imagery than in the early twentieth century. On the Spiegel, we can see a single one Euro coin, set against a dark background, slowly melting away. Here, inflation is portrayed as a devaluation of money that minimizes the value of a currency – money and its value slowly disappear.

It might be that everybody in the 21st century understands that in a time of electronic banking, actual money does not have to be printed literally and can circulate as sheer numbers in computer systems; also, one does not have to be a Marxist economist to recognize that money is a merely virtual entity. This enlightened insight, however, covers up that inflation is not only a spectacle of minimization, but also comes along with an orgiastic production of an enormous amount of money that, however, has no value. Precisely, this dialectic of devaluation and growth was central to the imaginary and imagery that went hand-in-hand with the hyperinflation of the twenties. [1]

In this text, I want to focus on this orgiastic side of inflation, meaning that inflation goes along with an explosion of money. I want to show that the vicious logic of generating more and more money, but devaluating it at the same time connects to the aesthetic of the Dada movement, and further I would like to outline that this aesthetic was used to conceptualize the phenomenon of hyperinflation in its time. At first, I will briefly outline the Dadaistic economy of nothingness and show how it was recognized as a cultural impact in the time of inflation, second I will demonstrate that Dada developed an aesthetic of inflation that resonates in the imagery typical for the time of hyperinflation, and finally I will provide a discussion of the short-film Inflation by Hans Richter, a film maker who was famously close to the Dada movement.

Ausgabe 05 | Seite 10  >>