Are Hipsters the New Dadaists?

According to the PBS Idea Channel a hipster in today's modern practice of it is characterized as a person who takes bits and pieces from cultures and subcultures not of their own and wear it out of context or ironically. For example, people that wear suspenders that aren't actually wearing pants that require suspenders to be held up or something that we see even more commonly today, people who wear combat boots that are embellished with spikes and prints and patterns and frilly-ness to a point that they lose their original sole utilitarian purpose and are just as ridiculous as a $5,000 Chanel bag. 

Now why would I compare a hipster, someone that has gotten such a bad rep in today's society as a person who is purely invested in surface value and lives life ironically to a group of some of the most revolutionary artists of the 20th century? Let's go back and talk about exactly who the Dada's were. 

After WWI the entire world was shaken. Life was never going to be the same again and people were pissed, confused and scared. A group of artists living in Paris, some American's but mostly Europeans, were fed up with the Salon and the way the galleries constituted what was and was not art. So they cut things up and rearranged them back together to make disturbing and fractured photo collages that expressed a social conscious. They created performance art by going on stage in small coffee shops dressed in outrageous costumes and screaming curse words until enraged audiences forced them off stage. To most of the world the Dadaists were seen as a ridiculous and bizarre group of fringe artists but to modern artists they were revolutionary in their ideas of taking things out of context and forcing us to question what their purpose, place and meaning is in the world today.

Though the Dadaists were also affluent writers explaining and justifying their reasons and goals by taking things out of context I think that it could be argued that today's hipsters are the modern Dada-ists.

In the original use of the word a hipster is a person characterized by a particularly strong sense of alienation from most established social activities and relationships while today a hipster is a person engulfing themselves in social activities and relationships that they don't actually belong too. So in that case it can seen that partaking in hipster-ism is a retaliation to the massive amounts of consumerism and instant world wide visual communication. By taking pieces from cultures and subcultures and re-appropriating them into a completely different context that is purely visualy based with no philosophical or actual lifestyle reasoning behind it other than "it just looks cool" is like a tongue-in-cheek fuck you too the overwhelming visual culture that we are living today.

This is where it gets tricky. The reason that the Dadaists were considered a group of great artists rather than just a bunch of ludicrous werido's is because of their writings. They were intellectuals fully aware of how everything they were doing reinforced their philosophy of what modern art could and should be. It was meant to make the viewer confused and uncomfortable. By doing performances and creating art that made the upper echelons of society outraged they got their attention. Hipsters have definitely gotten the attention of people by outraging us with their seemingly blind but perhaps completely genius re-appropriation but does that make them practicing artists? That is a question I will leave you with to ponder on today but just for one more interesting fact, don't you find it funny that hipsters have taken on handle bar mustaches as their go to facial hair style and almost a hundred years ago Duchamp mocked classical art by drawing a handle bar mustache on the Mona Lisa? Maybe hipsters are smarter than we think.