- An early twentieth century art movement which ridiculed contemporary culture and traditional art forms. The movement was formed to prove the bankruptcy of existing style of artistic expression rather than to promote a particular style itself. It was born as a consequence of the collapse during World War I of social and moral values which had developed to that time. Dada artists produced works which were nihilistic or reflected a cynical attitude toward social values, and, at the same time, irrational — absurd and playful, emotive and intuitive, and often cryptic. Less a style than a zeitgeist, Dadaists typically produced art objects in unconventional forms produced by unconventional methods. Several artists employed the chance results of accident as a means of production, for instance. Literally, the word dada means several things in several languages: it's French for "hobbyhorse" and Slavic for "yes yes." Some authorities say that the name Dada is a nonsensical word chosen at random from a dictionary.