A digital collage “Gegen Alles” [Against Everything], by Jacqueline Mitzenmacher ‘25, was exhibited at the MIT Gala / Student Art Showcase, a one-night art exhibition at the Stratton Student Center, in Lobdell, on April 28.

“Gegen Alles” was created for Dagmar Jaeger’s 21G.409 Visual Arts, Media, Creative Expression class. In 21G.409, students were tasked to explore the concept of Dada, an artistic movement in response to World War I that challenged political and social norms.

Jacqueline’s collage is inspired by the photomontage of German artist Hannah Höch, “Cut with the Kitchen Knife Dada through the last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany,” which first shown at the First International Dada Fair in Berlin in 1920. The title of Jacqueline’s collage says it all: “Against everything!” and conveys the present-day frustration of the youth with the political system.

Jacqueline writes: “Despite the need to choose, many young people believe that the political system does not represent their beliefs, that they are against everything.” Jacqueline’s works echos Hannah Höch’s idea of portraying prominent figures of political and social life in a satirical way by recombining text and image in a photomontage. In this way, new juxtapositions and references are created. In form of spider and cockroach as well as alluding to antique Rome, a fallen imperium, “Gegen alles” evokes the American idea on fire in the context of climate change, Covid, and the unrest on January 6 after the presidential election.

Dagmar Jaeger explained, “Intended to show frustration, Jacqueline’s work centers around a wheel that can just randomly turn in one or the other direction, leaving the political system hanging by a thread which can tumble like a house of cards. Despite frustration, Jacqueline’s digital work is intended to be playful – just like in a Dada fashion – to expose and comment on the ridiculousness of political reality.”

The Student Art Showcase was hosted by the Office of the Arts and Infinite Magazine.

Jacqueline Mitzenmacher, Gegen Alles (2024)

The student exhibit April 28 featured a variety of artworks including paintings, photography, and installations crafted by MIT students.