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Hugo Ball

Hugo Ball (1886-1927) is best known as a co-founder of Dadaism, which he influenced with his sound poems. In 1906 he had begun studying German, history and philosophy in Munich, which he abandoned in 1910 and began training as an assistant for direction, dramaturgy and administration at Max Reinhardt's drama school in Berlin. In 1911 he published his first book, the tragicomedy Die Nase des Michelangelo (The Nose of Michelangelo), and began working as a director and dramaturge at the Plauen Municipal Theater. In 1912 he moved to the Munich Kammerspiele, published his first Expressionist poems in the newspapers Aktion, Revolution and Die Neue Kunst, and collaborated on an almanac intended as a supplement to the Blaue Reiter. However, this project could not be completed after the war broke out. After moving to Berlin, he came into contact with the expressionist avant-garde and became increasingly involved with the revolutionary movement and anarchism. In 1915, he emigrated to Switzerland with his future wife and from then on lived in Zurich. There he founded the café, cabaret and artists' meeting place Carbaret Voltaire, in whose program booklet the word Dada was documented for the first time. Important artists of Dadaism soon frequented the place, such as Hans Arp, Richard Huelsenbeck, Marcel Janco and Tristan Tzara. In June 1916, Ball recited his sound poems (including Gadji beri bimba) for the first time at the Cabaret Voltaire.

The Cabaret Voltaire is thus considered the "cradle of Dadaism." After retiring to Ticino for some time and returning to Zurich, he founded the Galerie Dada in Zurich with Tristan Tzara in 1917. However, this was dissolved after some difficulties and tensions between the two founders.

He then withdrew completely from the circle of the Dadaists and from 1917-1920 became a staff member of the "Freie Zeitung", where he published political daily commentaries and critical contributions.

Works for listening