McKinley Gillespie



Welcome to DABAR, your friendly neighborhood modern absurdist Dada hip-hop speakeasy. Why are you here?

DABAR is a bar concept whose visual and experiential design lives at the intersection of Dadaism and hip-hop: two artistic cultural movements with a shared spirit of experimentation, political discontent, and ostensible nihilism that speak to each other’s continued relevance even a century apart. Built from explorations in chance-based creation, layering of found materials, and typographic research, DABAR’s visual language mixes discomfort and delight with two or three shots of absurdist humor. 

Through a philosophical lens informed by the Existential thinkers and Dada creators of the 20th century, a sprawling visual language is informed by the photomontage and experimental publications of the Dada movement combined with the distinctive typography and colors of early hip-hop flyers, and broad explorations in collage as an art form beyond hand-cut paper arrangements and into the realm of sound. DABAR explores the many ways collage’s dismantling and rearrangement of found materials helps us process the injustices and absurdities of the human condition as they continue to repeat through history. 

DABAR’s visual identity seeks to straddle the line between comfort and chaos by building a functional, appealing design system that still honors the underground, anti-establishmentarian heart of Dada and hip-hop. Equal parts earnest and irreverent, DABAR offers a space to reflect on, and surrender to, the absurd—over a cheap beer, a strong absinthe, and a good beat.

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