This was 16 years, 5 days ago

This image by Berlin Dada co-founder Raoul Haussmann reminded me of a myth about Krishna:

Once, when Balarama and the other cowherd boys were playing, they complained to mother Yashoda: "Krishna has eaten mud."

Yashoda was concerned for his welfare, and scolded Krishna, whose eyes seemed to be full of fear. Grasping him in her hand, she said to him: "Why have you secretly eaten mud, you unruly boy? These young friends of yours are saying so, and so is your elder brother."

"Mother, I didn't eat any mud. They are all spreading false accusations. If you think they are speaking the truth, then you look into my mouth yourself."

"If that is the case, then open wide," she said.

Lord Hare Krishna, whose supremacy cannot be constrained, but who is God assuming the form of a human boy for play, opened wide. Yashoda saw there the universe of moving and non-moving things; space; the cardinal directions; the sphere of the earth with its oceans, islands and mountains; air and fire; and the moon and the stars. She saw the circle of the constellations, water, light, the wind, the sky, the evolved senses, the mind, the elements, and the three guna qualities. She saw this universe with all of its variety differentiated into bodies, which are the repositories of souls. She saw the time factor, nature and karma.

from Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God ; Śrīmad Bhāgavata Purāṇa, Book X
part 1, chapter 8, 32-39

At least in the early 20th century, in a time when god is dead, as Nietzsche says, art seems to have stepped up to take up the partial responsibility and privilege of that "godterm". Marcuse (in "The Affirmative Character of Culture"): "The truth of a higher world [in art], of a higher good than material existence, conceals the truth that a better material existence can be created in which such happiness is realized." This is a direct invocation of Marx's methodology of a critique of religion: "religious suffering is at one and the same time the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering..."

The Dadaist eats mud, the mundane, the shit, the degenerate, and reveals his mouth to show a universe -- but this is modernity's universe and a Modernist's universe, and therefore is full of chaos, nonsensicality, and the infinite potential of the independent signifier. The Dadaist's universe is so complete that he swallows in the mud of the linguistic signifier, ABCD, the constituent blocks of meaning, and in regurgitation, wrenches them apart from the signified, assigns to them the limitless power of creation...