“The inclusion of a plug-in to insert a bit of Dada into the lives of visitors after they leave the site is a spot-on execution of the movement’s principles… and a clever way to do what all museums strive for, which is to extend their collection outside the walls of the institution.” —juror Nathan Moody
“A beautiful representation mixed with subtle interactivity and great use of typography. As a former art student, this makes me jealous.” —juror Harold Jones
Overview: “One cannot understand Dada,” wrote the editor of the Dada Almanach, Richard Huelsenbeck. “One must experience it.” With that in mind, Montréal-based digital firm Akufen created Dada Data, an experiential, interactive documentary and online “antimuseum” that celebrates the movement’s centennial. Through the site’s six Dada Hacktions, visitors can have their Instagram photos incorporated into Dada collages, their Tweets turned into manifestos and their online ads made into Dada slogans with an ad blocker. The purely fresh tribute won accolades from several online sources and documentarian awards, as well as the online community at large.
•Each of the site’s sections reflects different disciplines within the Dada movement.
•A DADA-Depot randomly organizes and curates a selection of Dada art.
•Akufen utilized Node.js, WebGL and WebSockets to build the site.
Comments by Bruno Choinière and David Dufresne:
What was the most challenging aspect of the project? “Giving tribute to a major artistic movement without drifting into museology or commemoration while staying true to the Dada spirit and simultaneously breaking from it. It was a huge challenge to be representative of the creative folly of the Dada movement. To do so, we called on the entire team to diversify our own idea of the imaginary.”
Is the audience you were targeting a particularly difficult one to reach? “We had no particular audience, but were surprised by two specific points. First, we were astonished by the hype our project had on Reddit, which demonstrated that we accomplished our goal of presenting Dada using new, contemporary methods. Second, we were caught off-guard by the respect we received from certain well-known collectors of the Dada movement; certain museum curators even saw the project as the movement’s direct descendant.”
How did this project compare with others you’ve worked on? “Comic Sans can be a very nice font—Dada! But in all seriousness, Dada Data was given complete freedom by broadcasters and producers. This freedom motivated us to push the limits and project as far as possible. Once we reached our destination, the success the site had with the general public—as well as with critics—made us very optimistic. When speaking of creation, freedom usually pays off.”