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sabato 2 luglio 2016

Hugo Ball (Pirmasens, 22 febbraio 1886 – Sant'Abbondio, 14 settembre 1927)

Hugo Ball

« Jolifanto bambla o falli bambla/großiga m'pfa habla horem/egiga goramen/higo bloiko russula huju/hollaka hollala/anlogo bung/blago bung blago bung/bosso fataka/ü üü ü/schampa wulla wussa olobo/hej tatta gorem/eschige zunbada/wulubu ssubudu uluwu/ssubudu/tumba ba-umf/kusa gauma/ba - umf » ("Karawane", H.Ball, 1916)

Hugo Ball (Pirmasens, 22 febbraio 1886 – Sant'Abbondio, 14 settembre 1927) è stato uno scrittore, poeta e regista teatrale tedesco. 


Cresciuto in una famiglia cattolica, Ball studiò sociologia e filosofia presso le università di Monaco e Heidelberg (1906–1907). Nel 1910 si trasferì a Berlino, per diventare attore e collaborare con Max Reinhardt. Diventò uno degli artisti guida del movimento Dada. D'accordo con le ideologie espresse nel Manifesto del Dada (di Tristan Tzara), scagliò dure critiche sulla società del suo tempo e il degrado in cui versava; inoltre espresse il suo dissenso verso quei filosofi del passato che asserivano di possedere la Verità ultima.
Nello stesso anno della pubblicazione del Manifesto, Ball scrisse il poema Karawane, composto con parole senza senso. Il significato di questa composizione, infatti, risiede nell'assurdità che l'assenza di senso produce, riflettendo i principi cardine del Dadaismo. Altre opere famose sono la collezione di poesie 7 schizophrene Sonette,(Sette sonetti schizofrenici), l'opera drammaturgica Die Nase des Michelangelo,(Il naso di Michelangelo), una memoria del periodo passato a Zurigo Flight Out of Time: A Dada Diary,(Volo fuori dal tempo: un diario Dada), e una biografia di Hermann Hesse, intitolata Hermann Hesse. Sein Leben und sein Werk,(Herman Hesse. La sua vita e la sua opera) del 1927.
Come cofondatore del Cabaret Voltaire a Zurigo, divenne guida del movimento Dada di Zurigo. Si ritiene che sia lui ad aver scelto il nome "Dada", prendendo una parola a caso dal dizionario. Si sposò con Emmy Hennings, un'altra esponente del movimento Dada. La durata della sua partecipazione al dadaismo fu di circa due anni, dopodiché lavorò per un breve periodo come giornalista per il Freie Zeitung (Giornale libero) di Berna. Probabilmente si ritirò nel Canton Ticino, dove si riavvicinò alla religione e visse in relativa povertà. Morì a Sant'Abbondio, Svizzera.
La sua poesia Gadji beri bimba venne successivamente adattata per la canzone I Zimbra, che si trova nell'album del 1979 dei Talking Heads Fear of Music.

Hugo Ball.
Anonymous (photographer) - De Stijl. [volume] 2. 1921_1932. Complete Reprint 1968. Amsterdam: Athenaeum, Den Haag: Bert Bakker, Amsterdam: Polak & Van Gennep, 1968, p. 589.


  • Hugo Ball, Flametti oder Vom Dandysmus der Armen, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt, 1989.
  • Hugo Ball, Die Flucht aus der Zeit, Zürich, Limmat, 1992.
  • Hugo Ball, Gedichte, Göttingen, Wallstein, 2007.
  • Hugo Ball, Zur Kritik der deutschen Intelligenz, Güttingen, Wallstein, 2005.
  • Hugo Ball, Flight Out of Time, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1996.
  • Hugo Ball, Flametti o Del dandismo dei poveri, Campanotto Editore, Udine, 2006.
  • Hugo Ball, La fuga dal tempo, Campanotto, Udine, 2006.
  • Hugo Ball, Critica dell'intellettuale tedesco, Campanotto, Udine, 2007.
  • Hugo Ball, Poesie, Campanotto, Udine, 2009.
  • Hugo Ball, Cristianesimo bizantino, Adelphi, 2015

Hugo Ball (German: [bal]; 22 February 1886 – 14 September 1927) was a German author, poet and one of the leading Dada artists. He was a pioneer in the development of sound poetry. 

Life and work

Hugo Ball was born in Pirmasens, Germany, and was raised in a middle-class Catholic family. He studied sociology and philosophy at the universities of Munich and Heidelberg (1906–1907). In 1910, he moved to Berlin in order to become an actor and collaborated with Max Reinhardt. At the beginning of the World War I he tried joining the army as a volunteer, but was denied enlistment for medical issues. After witnessing the invasion of Belgium, he was disillusioned, saying: "The war is founded on a glaring mistake, men have been confused with machines." Considered a traitor in his country, he crossed the frontier with the cabaret performer and poet Emmy Hennings – whom he would marry in 1920 – and settled in Zürich, Switzerland. There, Ball continued his interest in anarchism, and in Mikhail Bakunin in particular; he also worked on a book of translations of works by Bakunin, which never got published. Although interested in anarchist philosophy, he nonetheless rejected it for its militant aspects, and viewed it as only a means to his personal goal of socio-political enlightenment.
In 1916, Hugo Ball created the Dada Manifesto, making a political statement about his views on the terrible state of society and acknowledging his dislike for philosophies in the past claiming to possess the ultimate truth. The same year as the Manifesto, in 1916, Ball wrote his poem "Karawane", a poem consisting of nonsensical words. The meaning, however, resides in its meaninglessness, reflecting the chief principle behind Dadaism. Some of his other best known works include the poem collection 7 schizophrene Sonette, the drama Die Nase des Michelangelo, a memoir of the Zürich period Flight Out of Time: A Dada Diary, and a biography of Hermann Hesse, entitled Hermann Hesse. Sein Leben und sein Werk (1927).

As co-founder of the Cabaret Voltaire in Zürich, he led the Dada movement in Zürich, and is one of the people credited with naming the movement "Dada", by allegedly choosing the word at random from a dictionary. His companion and future wife, Emmy Hennings, was also a member of Dada.
His involvement with the Dada movement lasted approximately two years. He then worked for a short period as a journalist for Die Freie Zeitung (de) in Bern. After returning to Catholicism in July 1920, Ball retired to the canton of Ticino where he lived a religious and relatively poor life. He contributed to the journal Hochland during this time. He died in Sant'Abbondio, Switzerland, of stomach cancer on 14 September 1927.
His poem "Gadji beri bimba" was later adapted to the song "I Zimbra" on the 1979 Talking Heads album Fear of Music; he received a writing credit for the song on the track listing. A voice-cut-up collage of his poem "Karawane" by German artist Kommissar Hjuler, member of Boris Lurie's NO!Art movement, was released as LP at Greek label Shamanic Trance in 2010. "Karawane" was also set to music in 2012 by Australian composer Stephen Whittington as an "anti-song cycle" of seventeen songs – one for each line of the poem – lasting approximately two minutes. The same poem and its historical context was used by Esa-Pekka Salonen for his 28-minute composition for mixed choir and orchestra, Karawane.


  • Die Nase des Michelangelo. Tragikomödie in vier Auftritten, 1911
  • Der Henker von Brescia. Drei Akte der Not und Ekstase, 1914
  • Flametti oder Vom Dandysmus der Armen. Roman. Reiss, Berlin 1918
  • Zur Kritik der deutschen Intelligenz. Der Freie Verlag, Bern 1919
    • redeveloped as: Die Folgen der Reformation. Duncker & Humblot, München 1924
  • Byzantinisches Christentum. Drei Heiligenleben (zu Joannes Klimax, Dionysius Areopagita und Symeon dem Styliten). Duncker & Humblot, München 1923
  • Hermann Hesse. Sein Leben und sein Werk. S. Fischer, Berlin 1927
  • Die Flucht aus der Zeit (Diary). Duncker & Humblot, München 1927
  • Gesammelte Gedichte mit Photos und Faksimiles, hg. v. Annemarie Schütt-Hennings. Arche, Zürich 1963
  • Tenderenda der Phantast. Roman. Arche, Zürich 1967
Bibliography in English
  • Ball, Hugo (1974). Flight Out of Time: A Dada Diary. trans. Ann Raimes. New York: Viking Press. ISBN 0-670-31841-8.
  • Ball, Hugo (1993). Critique of the German Intelligentsia. trans. Brian Harris. Columbia University Press.
  • Blago Bung, Blago Bung, Hugo Ball's Tenderenda the Fantast, Richard Huelsenbeck's Fantastic Prayers, and Walter Serner's Last Loosening – three key texts of Zurich ur-Dada. Translated and introduced by Malcolm Green. Atlas Press, ISBN 0-947757-86-4
  • Flametti, or The Danydism of the Poor, trans. Catherine Schelbert, Wakefield Press, MA, 2014 (ISBN 978-1-939663-03-0)
Hugo_ball_karawane Selbst eingescannt am 21.2.2005. Gemeinfrei, da kein Copyright mehr. - Das Bild zeigt das Gedicht Karawane von Hugo Ball († 1927).
User Albrecht Conz on de.wikipedia - Dada Almanach. Berlin: Erich Reiss Verlag, 1920, S. 53

 It is true that for us art is not an end in itself, we have lost too many of our illusions for that. Art is for us an occasion for social criticism, and for real understanding of the age we live in...Dada was not a school of artists, but an alarm signal against declining values, routine and speculations, a desperate appeal, on behalf of all forms of art, for a creative basis on which to build a new and universal consciousness of art.

    Richard Kostelanetz and Joseph Darby (eds.) Classic Essays on Twentieth-Century Music (New York: Schirmer, 1996) ISBN 0028645812

Hugo Balls Auftritt im Cabaret Voltaire 1916
sconosciuto -
 Grab von Hugo Ball und Emmy Ball-Hennings, Friedhof San Abbondio (Gentilino, Gemeinde Collina d'Oro, Bezirk Lugano, Kanton Tessin, Schweiz)Ansgar Walk - Aufnahme durch Ansgar Walk
Cabaret Voltaire est le nom de la première publication zurichoise du futur groupe Dada.
Publié par Hugo Ball le 24 mai 1916

Hans Arp and Hugo Ball in Pompeii.
Anonymous (photographer) - De Stijl. [volume] 2. 1921_1932. Complete Reprint 1968. Amsterdam: Athenaeum, Den Haag: Bert Bakker, Amsterdam: Polak & Van Gennep, 1968, p. 567.

Hugo Ball : Karawane - YouTube

11 lug 2014 - Caricato da Mr. DSCH
An interesting poem with a great performance! This is a poem written by a Dadaist. Performed by Hanna ...

Hugo Ball : Gadji Beri Bimba - YouTube


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