Dada is a literary and artistic movement that began in Europe during the horrors of World War I. Due to the war, artists, writers, and intellectuals of both French and German decent found themselves taking refuge in Zurich. Dada is a radical way of rethinking of art - how it's created and what are it's historical and ethical imperatives. .
Abstraction, Expressionism, Futurism and Cubism, were the main influences of Dada, and there was no predominant artistic medium in the Dada movement. All was accepted; geometric tapestries, glass, plaster, assemblage, collage, photo-montage, ready-made objects and many other art forms. .
Along with the war came vast developments in culture, causing a quick jump into modernity, mechanized industrialization, growth of modern community culture, and a modern media culture - all important parts of the Dada movement. A main line of thought for Dadaists was how to re-imagine the artistic practice in this new age of media and technological advancement. .
Dada was launched in Zurich, its origins in the cabaret. Zurich was a refuge for those escaping the War, and gave them a feeling of unreal isolation, which remained shadowed by awareness of proximity to threat (both geographically and physically).
The origins of Dada are tied to the short life of the Cabaret Voltaire, the first public gathering place for Dada artists and writers. .
Ball, Dada's earliest intellectual leader and founder of the cabaret, was brought into expressionist circles around the Blaue Reiter, and Kandinsky (the group's leader) was a central influence on Ball. Afterwards, Ball met Huelsenbeck, which became the second important relationship for the founding of Dada. Ball wanted to participate in the War but was horrified upon visiting the Belgian front; he moved to Berlin where Huelsenbeck and Henning (whom he met in Munich in 1913 and soon became his partner) joined him. These were the beginnings of a Dada coterie with a series of antiwar evenings with aggressive performances, a precedent for events at the Cabaret Voltaire.