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| exquisite corpse at monkey town | New York

August 11, 2008

Exquisite Corpse Video Project

Monkey Town, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Monday, August 18 at 10:30pm

The Exquisite Corpse Video Project (ECVP) has proven that the Internet can be much more than a showcase for art. What are the secrets to the success of this unique international Internet collaboration of video artists?

m o m e n t emagazine asked this question and found fascinating answers by interviewing the artists themselves. Read on to learn how the creative fire was ignited among this dedicated group of artists, how it continues to blaze brightly with new projects, and what significance ECVP could possibly have in the art world of the 21st century.

Artists: | Marty McCutcheon (USA) | Kika Nicolela (Brazil) | Ambuja Magaji (India) | Zachary Sandler (USA) | Simone Stoll (Germany) | Niclas Hallberg (Sweden) | Anders Weberg (Sweden) | Michael Chang (Denmark) | Alison Williams (South Africa) | Per E Riksson (Sweden) | John Pirard (Belgium) | Joy Whalen (USA) | Ulf Kristiansen (Norway) | Stina Pehrsdotter (Sweeden) | Joshua Sandler (USA) | Hélène Abram (France) | Brad Wise (USA) | Ronee Hui (England) | Lucas Bambozzi (Brazil) | Kai Lossgott (South Africa)| Alberto Guerreiro (Portugal) | Dellani Lima (Brazil) | Jan Kather (USA) | Arthur Tuoto (Brazil) | Nung-Hsin Hu (Taiwan) | Alicia Felberbaum (England) |

How would you define the Exquisite Corpse Video Project?

Kika Nicolela_BR. A collaborative video project in which artists from various parts of the world, and who met online, work together. There is no curator, no single author and no theme either; each artist responds to the piece of the previous artist. This spontaneous creative process stimulated the exchange of ideas and the birth of a small friendly community of international artists.

Brad Wise_US. As a spontaneous free-association between relative strangers from different cultures of archetypal iconography from the collective unconscious in the form of vision and soundscapes.

Jan Kather_US. The Exquisite Corpse Project is revolutionary for a number of reasons. It is not a new idea to use the exquisite corpse method, but it is new to do it internationally via the Internet. This project would have been impossible 10 years ago – the availability of non-linear software to the average person has upended the video art world – maybe a bit like the introduction of Kodak point and shoot amateur cameras (late 1880s) changing and challenging the world of professional photographers. This project reflects artists being their own agents instead of waiting for or courting the attention of the art establishment. I assume this is the future and I am very pleased to be one of the Corpse artists. The group has become a family, a world family and this is more significant for the human race than it might appear on the surface. I applaud Art Review for taking notice. And I sincerely thank them for being the locus for this most unusual project. Kika is truly the person to be congratulated for orchestrating this exciting, creative collaboration.

Marty-McCutcheon_US. As I see it, the Exquisite Corpse Video Project is, among other things, an ongoing, international, online, semi-blind, sequential, collaborative, creative game; an exercise in spontaneous, intuitive, image-making, dialogue, and sharing.

Niclas Hallberg_SE. Love, Art and lots of understanding.

How was the project born?

It was born online, on the networking site I joined artreview with the primary goal of connecting with other artists who worked with video in different countries and try to develop a collaborative project. So I created the Video Artists group, sending some invitations to specific artists I thought would be interesting to interact with, but many others joined the group. Then I proposed the discussion: “Ideas about collaborations, anyone???” which rose some instigating ideas. It was the Californian artist Marty McCutcheon who suggested we tried to do something inspired on the Exquisite Corpse surrealist method. I thought it was a great idea; especially because it could allow us to work together, inspire one another, still maintaining our own artistic voices. Then I worked on a set of rules to make this project feasible and invited all members of the Video Artists group to participate. Some artists showed great interest and we started the project right away, and in less than 3 weeks we had the first 3 videos of the series. Even though I proposed the collaboration project to the Video Artists group members in, and I still manage the project, the ECVP is run by all its members. Currently, we are 26 artists from 13 different countries. All artists work on the videos, but many contribute further in various aspects of the project. Until today, the ECVP is totally open to new members, so it’s a dynamic group, always growing.

How did this project end up growing so fast?

I believe this project is attracting artists who share the aspiration to connect with other people with different cultural background and similar artistic spirit.
If the project has indeed grown fast, it would seem to be the result of numerous capable, cooperative collaborators working with great enthusiasm, aided by energetic, fastidious, devoted management.

Per E Riksson_SE. Because it’s a fun way to work together with others, and it breaks the isolation you as an artist have in your studio. And in the end, it’s a great challenge.

I think this project end up and grow so fast because
1: It´s a totaly new, funny and exciting way to work togheter.
2: And most important of all, I think. After Formverk decided to show corpses 1-3 at NonStopVideoArt, all artist speed up the work to get ready for the deadline and exhibition. It was a kick to work all over the world and after 3 weeks show the project as a real world installation.

How do you think the first series of videos , Corpses#1, #2 and #3 influenced the process of the Corpses#4, #5 and #6?

Michael Chang_DK. I experienced that the contribution with one piece of a jigsaw puzzle was very rewarding. As if a fragment from my micro cosmos found a meaningful resonance in a cosmos that was bigger. I think the first 3 corpses had it’s own energy flow, which generated a surplus, that was transferred to the next 3 corpses.

Ulf Kristiansen_NO. Fun in an insane kind of way. I only had about 24 hours to finish my corpse, but I managed to make a good piece that inspired Niclas to make an even better one after just a little bit of whining. I think people got more ambitious the second time around. It will be interesting to see if this influences the corpses in a positive or in a negative way.

On ‘Corpse no.1,’ my portion was the initial minute, so I had no ‘ten-seconds’ from which to to work. Conscious of the introductory character of this minute, and inspired by the feeling that we were embarking on a sort of journey, I filmed out the rear window of my car, the ever receding landscape of California’s ‘Great Highway’ at the western edge of the continent, and employed a sound bite that began with, “Good Morning…” I was touched by the contributions of Simone Stoll to Corpses 1 and 3. They were, for me, redemptive and rejuvenating. After a suffering figure seemingly expired in a nightmare hallway, she followed with a comforting, even joyous, ghostly stroll into the woods. When another figure succumbed at his work-table, surrounded by machines repeating radical, divisive propaganda, she shut down her machine, and again, returned to nature, as her bare feet ran among the flowers. For Corpse 6, I received ten-seconds of what seemed to be a televised close-up of a shiny tongue wiggling from an open mouth. It seemed to me obsessive and pornographic. I hoped to steer the thread in a different direction, as Simone had done in 1 and 3, respecting the method and not rejecting the clip, but working from and away from it at the same time. So I found some cooperative wildlife and attempted a lighthearted if not comical segment.
Well, certainly an inspiration to continue the project, but also to broaden its boundaries in the cultures represented, the number of people in each thread, and the subject matter to be considered. A book project is now in the works, and the group is on a quest for new outlets throughout the world. New ideas of perhaps exhibiting the project on three screens, simultaneously, in a continuous, asymmetrical loop have also been discussed. Overall, there has been a call for greater, collective ownership of the overall project, as well as a further striving for excellence in ones individual segments.

Zachary Sandler_US. When I received Kika’s 10 seconds I found it very freeing in that I was being given so much furtive visual subject matter and at the same time had almost no clue as to what her video entailed. I found it to be like looking at something in the dark, where your mind can create all the missing information which is hidden, allowing you to form a much more intuitive response.

What kind of effect do you think the project method had on your creative process?
To try and stay tuned and participate in the group discussions, to be ready to throw oneself into something spontaneously, to create something both in reflection of the ten seconds received and of original content, and to all of this in a timely fashion. I think there comes a yearning, and then an inner quest for what one has done before that might be worthy of being a part of the final lexicon, and this ultimately yields visions and experimentations in what could be. Although, certainly, I have tried to hold back doing serious work until receiving my “corner” of the Corpse.
I experienced the second piece was build on the foundation of energy from the first corpses. The first was like a birth. The second process was more vibrant and virile, like a baby opening it’s eyes after being born. Also I sensed a confrontation with the potential of the project, a different challenge than simply being born. I began the project by a piece with a pregnant woman in a way symbolizing the actual birth of the project. Furthermore the idea was also aimed at the legacy from the surrealist game. This idea is present by relating to a corpse at a very early state, Pre-birth.

I had to learn how to combine my animations with “live” video, especially using blue screen technique on top of Alicia´s beautiful corpse was very enjoyable.

I think you have to let go of your ego and adapt to the format, which is limited, and make you work in a certain direction. In one minute you have to be focused on that minute and make it as good as you can, and to relate to the 10 sec of work before yours.

Alberto Guerreiro_PT. I am very intuitive. Normally I started with a conceptual view: can be a life event memory, a visual idea or emotion. Then I work on an aesthetic level and establish a visual pattern to the movie. The final task is re-cutting and re-editing the material and mix it with the soundtrack. In my works sound design have a big influence in all process of making the movie. I think everyone can recognize that in my contribution on Corpse 5. For me was a big challenge right from the start to be btw Stina Pehrsdotter and Niclas Hellberg because they have a lot of experience and they are very good and skilled artists. I was lucky because Stina pass me a very strong sample but also very open and that gave me the possibility to expand to any direction I would like to go. So I came with the idea of exploring and played with a classic approach: the road movie! Painting with a strong color, I gradually emerged as though I were a small traveler through a parallel world! I tried a very personal approach and like I said before I think I achieved my aim to bring something new to the project and pass to Niclas something also very open (even though more poetic than the one Stina pass to me) giving him also the possibility to freely follow his personal artistic instinct.

Could you tell some of your personal references and inspirations? How are they present on the videos you made during this project?

My inspiration comes more from literature and different forms for pop culture rather than from art. They are present on the videos by having my own very distinctive oddball style.

Artistically I have been spread all over the popular and fine art culture during the nineties and up until today. I try to focus more on a few fields and make what I do more narrow and easier to relate to.

My experience was so good and i felt really free when i make my first three corpses. I really like to work without personal limits, and i made my corpses in ways i never had work before. This is really important fore me in this project, it’s free my mind.

Exquisite Corpse guideline #3 read: There are no pre-conceived themes. Prior to getting my ten seconds from Marty McCutcheon, I had been randomly recording video clips of my daily life, including audio from a local auction and time-lapse photographs of the moon moving across both the morning and evening skies. How this random footage ended up connecting with Marty’s clip says a lot about how I work in general. I depend on chance associations and this worked well for me in creating my minute of video. Marty inspired me by sending the clip of a low angle close up view of a slug slowly inching out of the frame. Slightly out of focus, Marty himself wistfully stood in the distant background, surrounded by leafy trees and sky. The banjo music he chose was upbeat and fun. All I could think of was how innocent and boyish this image was! The snail’s pace of movement suggested a childhood fascination with the natural world, and made me think how infrequently I have looked this closely at any creepy crawly thing in the last thirty years!
After a few unsuccessful attempts at forcing myself to photograph in the spirit of Marty’s clip, I randomly came upon a theme. In a stroke of simply dropping my footage along with Marty’s into the non-linear editing track, a childhood rhyme popped into my mind: “Snakes and snails and puppy-dog tails, that’s what little boys are made of.” This was the moment when the idea for my video was born! I would ask and visually answer the question, “But what are big boys made of?” My final one-minute video holds a lot of personal meaning for me. Just as we dream, and our subconscious instructs us about what is really on our minds, I found this collaborative video process revealed my most recent anxieties about not being able to live in the moment, every moment, just as a child would. It occurred to me that there is nothing more in the moment than the slow, snail’s pace of a slug.

Why did you want to be part of a collaborative project?

Because I have had great success with collaboration in the past, I was eager to try a project on an international level. The outcome is much more than the creation of videos: collaboration recognizes that we are social animals who, on the grand scale of things, gain much more from stimulating cooperation than heartless competition. It’s most exciting because I think it’s a groundbreaking project. The way individual artists all over the world came together so harmoniously should be a lesson in how to live and work with technology in a cooperative global community.

I have always enjoyed to work with other artists and I like the dynamic of the group.

I don’t know, I only know that I like being in a collaborative situations when it comes to art. Maybe because I come from the world of cheesy punk and rock-bands where collaboration is one of the main ideas.

The funny thing is that I never thought to be part of collaborative project but Kika invite me to do it and that was a big surprise and privilege! She send me this challenge and I accepted right away because like I said earlier the project vibrations were very good and the quality of the first Corpses were pretty amazing. For me was also very enlightening because I am a bit individualist in my way do to things (I am used to work alone or only with one more partner in sound design or soundtrack). The ECVP made me develop a new kind of discipline (I am afraid I am not very good on that) that is very important for working in a group project. So it was not something I planned to do, but ended to be a marvelous experience that I want to repeat again.

Because working with art videos can be very isolating. I was feeling the need to exchange ideas with other artists with similar interests. I’m also very curious about other cultures and I believe that the mix of all these people with different backgrounds is what makes the project so rich. It definitely makes the forum discussions hugely instigating… and funny too!

Simone Stoll_DE. Over many years I have been collaborating with another artist in specific projects. It was for both of us important to keep our individual work flourishing throughout the years, to keep up with our personal research and use the mediums we feel akin to. This way we more easily accepted restraints of the collaboration and found richness in the creation of an entirely new language, new pieces as an additional part of our work. Naturally, the process of finding the ‘third’ language was sometimes difficult and edgy. The Exquisite Corpse Video Project, on the other hand, seems to me far lighter and less interfering in my work, as we all keep our artistic identities and only have to accept a little possible clipping or reuse of our video material. The input and mix of styles is challenging and inspiring to me and I believe that the short format particularly adds sharpness and forces everyone to be precise in the proposition. I think, we can all learn from the other as much as from the whole project.

It’s so funny and I learn a lot. Its fantastic and now all this real world meetings.

Alicia Felberbaum_UK. The process of collaboration, for me, is as important as the final product. The dynamics produced by the stimulating social and intellectual exchange that drives the interaction in the group, can become very inspiring and help our individual work to move forward. Personally, this collaboration has caused me to reflect upon and rethink of my own work in a different way.

There are artists from all around the globe working on this project. What is your opinion of this diversity?
The diversity creates a tension and dictates openness and introspection. You find yourself getting ready to the expansion of your view of the world, and your understanding of it.

I welcome it and reckon that it is the essence of the project, in recognition of the commonality of human consciousness, as well as cultural diversity, different POVs, and the power of extra-verbal communication.

Is there diversity? I think I am closer to these artists and have more in common with them than I am to most artists in my hometown.

I have lived half of my life in foreign places, surrounded by foreign languages and confronted with new codes. Continental Europe is growing together and most of us have been brought up with the idea of having to learn a second language to be able to communicate internationally. Actually, I was rather surprised to see that participants from Brazil to Scandinavia referred to the same filmmakers, certainly a part of globalized western culture and in particular, of film industry. For my part, my references come from the visual arts, writing, music and human sciences and I get less inspiration from filmmakers. So here, communal interests had created bridges across continents. Video artists were able to communicate despite difference in language relating to same references (eg films and directors). So the linguistic language differences don’t seem to matter that much, as soon as we find anchor points. Years ago, I realized that East Germans of my generation don’t necessarily share the same cultural reference, memories (from a children’s show on TV, to music, styles, tastes etc) and despite the language we do share, socio cultural barriers persist to exist and can make communication sometimes difficult. Moreover, the art world, or actually the people who were ready to share this international video experience, make communication possible through the moving image and, if anything, I would like to see each of us getting stronger within our personal language to then construct, an even more inspiring confrontation of visions and styles.

Ronee Hui_UK. Having the potential dynamics for a project like the Exquisite Corpse game extended globally, allows for a wider variety of imagery and cultural styles to arise within the work, and the juxtapositions to be found in such a creative melting pot makes for a fascinating aspect in itself.

For me the diversity adds a very unique social/cultural interaction, to exhibit ones art but also each individual cultural identity and aesthetic and to push the boundaries as you work off each other. Creating art is usually characterized by a sense of isolation whereas here the communication and support from the other artists taps you into a more collective framework.

In Surrealist texts, they frequently cited that “poetry must be made by all and not by one.” By sharing footage, in theory the author somehow disappears and you loose control of that footage.
How do you feel about been part of a project that has multiple authors?

No, I think everyone contributes and takes ownership of their own segment, but otherwise, the nature of the project is that the contributions of others remain unseen, and that no one else contribute or speak for the contributions of others. Thus, I think the the author remains intact, even while incorporating the ten-second thread into their minute, however they choose. Like any group screening or film festival, though, ultimately, no one can vouch for the unseen contributions of others, and any similarities between segments are purely coincidental, or, as I like to think of it, examples of the cross-cultural archetypal resonance.

What was enjoyable about it was the sharing process within the group which is also very supportive. Technically, I think it becomes a lot more democratic than many collaborative ventures because of the structure and process used: at the stage of making your own section, you only get to see the last 10 secs of the previous participants work, so it is this and your own one minute that you focus on.

How do you feel about being part of a project that has multiple authors?
It’s exhilarating, fascinating, a little scary, and very novel, at least in the immediacy and breadth of it.

The good part of a multi-author video is that we are able to identify the work of different artists by their personal approach! That is the best part of the project: each one contributing with their own special touch to create a brand new cut. It’s no problem for me to share my footage with others because I am used to working with archive footage and sometimes I use film or video samples that I don’t even know where it came from: old documentaries, TV, super 8 home movies, family footages, etc. I also use samples taken from some film and video Internet archives that are at the disposal of artists (some of them are put there by other artists that want to share it).

How do you think it affects ownership?

It’s interesting question, and I’m not sure it can be adequately addressed in one answer here, because I would suggest, as with many things in the realm of new media and social networking, new kinds of ownership are being created and explored. Still, as noted above, I think one must especially take ownership of their own work in order to create dramatic, original video, but then teamwork is needed to help promote and distribute the final corpses, and to shape the direction of future projects.

I think ownership is an illusion of our ego, related to an illusion of the value of ownership. For years I have realized that we are recycling ideas that is all ready there, and creating new synthesis. The only way to truly benefit from your work is to put your work to use by sharing it. In a world where everyone realize that we not only share the same essence but we are in fact not individuals but a single energy source, claiming ownership is pointless.

All the corpses belong to all the participants. It cannot work another way.

I think I still own my material in the sense I made it. Here I can share it with the others. On the Internet you got no control what so ever or in media in general. I can’t remember how much my word and work been distorted by the mainstream and cultural media, which makes you feel that what they write about you have nothing with what you intended in the first place.

Each Corpse is shared in it’s ownership by the artists who participate in it, and so responsibilities and benefits are also shared.

In the process of this work there is not a defined aesthetic and people are using a range of mediums. How do you feel about having your work linked to a video with a different aesthetics than yours?

It’s a little scary to me, at first, but then the results, so far, have been so unpredictable and quite delightful, that it doesn’t really matter that there’s no control over the other pieces. And why should there be? What does matter, is that everyone in the group is committed to their art and expressing something unique and essential about the human condition.

I see aesthetics as a system defined by dualistic values. One defines the other. Beauty is defined by ugliness. Every value has it’s equal relevance in this system.
I find it fascinating to work on others video works as well as letting others play around with mine. I think it is liberating. A good way not to become too self-involved.


In a certain way Corpse 3 was particularly challenging: Ulf had introduced a new style to the project; his graphic approach demanded great pictorial creativity off Niclas, who was next in the thread. As I had received Niclas’ version, I was insecure of how to react to that ‘foreign’ language. I felt backed into a corner and had to find my way out. As soon as I had become aware of the problem and my resistance, I had found the ‘solution’. In the end, that section turned out to be a very strong moment of interaction within the group.

How does one clip relate to the other? What kind of narrative the videos in this project create, if any?
Entirely randomly on both counts, other than the free-association between ones own sensibilities and the stimulus of of the received ten-second thread.

Thats one of the point to work like this. Sometimes or mostly very good. There is some bad to. It´s important as an artist in this project to see and try to understand this 10 second you recive. If you dont do that and focus only on your self and your ego it works bad.

By using the forum as a platform to create and promote content, you have created a working environment where new ways of cross-cultural communication are possible, and in fact thriving. What is the dynamic of the group in this environment?

It’s always changing, especially as the group attracts more attention and participants. However, it seems that everyones contributions, opinions and suggestions are valued. So, I would say that they dynamic is “respectful and fun.”

I sense the dynamics of the group is very powerful and the content is more able to get noticed. This attention is not valuable unless you feel you have an important message. The important message to me is the very collaboration.

Wild, polite and enthusiastic.

I think that the basic reason anyone joins a social networking today is to be part of a community that one identifies with. What makes ECVP a bit different from other online communities is that here we do have a big focus on production. Not only are we are creating a piece in collaboration but we also are trying to promote it together. The tools already exist to allow us as a group to both promote ourselves, and at the same time collaborate with other people who are interested in the same content. To make a piece of work in collaboration with the group is not difficult because we’re already producing our own work, and most of us are experienced artists who have probably exhibited before. For any social network to keep itself alive beyond the initial hype (beyond the phase where everyone invites everyone to be their friends), the social network has to prove itself useful for either a person’s career or social life offline. In this group, the value lies in how we managed in a short period to change from a group of strangers into a community of close friends who we can actually do stuff with. In other words, the online community has to provide a strong unifying purpose for people who actually interact with each other, for more than the sake of interacting just because they are a bit bored that day. I think ECVP managed to create this in a very short period of time. When I joined the ECVP group, I was intrigued that it wasn’t about a group that had a lot of members (quantitative), but rather a group that shared solid, relevant topics and interests among its member artists (qualitative).

How does the cultural and language differences affect the communication among the participants on the forum discussions?

I think the personality differences are more an issue here than the fact that we are from different parts of the world. Of course you can easier make a joke to a Swede and the Scandinavians because I know more about the habit in this part of the world. I try to learn more about Brazil for instance, so I can follow their little jokes and hints

It creates a very babel-like tension, where misunderstanding and limitations becomes part of the language. I do feel that affect but in a very positive way! First of all (the cliché) to be in touch with different cultures and languages is always rewarding! By understanding better our differences, we can all learn more about the world that surrounds us! I will give an example: the translation problem related to native language words! It was fun and strange to realize that something that could put us apart at the end brought us together! Everybody came into the forum spelling their own unique “lost in translation” word (like myself with the “saudade” term that only has significance in Portuguese). That was a wonderful element to break the ice in the forum. The language barrier and the cultural differences did not stop us from going forward! I still think that a glossary with those words would be very helpful! I also proposed another outrageous idea (as Kika called it once): to start a new language. The ECVP language with words that only an ECVP member would understand! We could call it our “Finnegan’s Wake” moment! I don’t know why nobody grabs it (smile)?

The language is sometimes a big problem. It can be easy to be missunderstood and take to much power and time to clear out. Like this Q&A for me. Im feeling like a 7 years old child when i cant explain and say all good experiencses i have. So i think its important for all participants to understand that. The videos are the power!!! I think it´s very strange that there is almost no discusions about the ready corps videos, why, teknik, inspirations, good and bad…

Did the forum interactions made the relationships among the participants deepen?

The meeting we had in Denmark with Marty is one first realy nice part. And im sure there will be new meetings with other people in the project. The art world is rapidly changing, especially in respects to video art. The Internet is providing alternative ways of producing, distributing and promoting ones art. There are affording new opportunities to video artist. The amount of content and viewers is rapidly increasing.

Yes, it did. Personally, I can say that this project has been an amazing experience. I’ve made some true friends and I’m about to meet two of them in person. Many of the members have already arranged real life meetings, so it’s clear that these relationships are not being confined to the ECVP process. I’m also finding invigorating the amount of ideas for both my personal and collaborative new works that are thriving thanks to this experience.

How are you exploring alternative ways of producing, distributing and promoting? How do you see this project fitting in this process of change?

The whole process of distribution through online networking and self-publishing indeed tears down many walls in terms of people’s access to those means of production, and the gatekeepers who have restricted or otherwise overlooked potentially significant segments of the world’s population, are thus no longer so damn relevant.

The EQVProject is born in a virtual reality that ‘never’ sleeps (or sleeps all the time and is awake all the time). That is a new way of producing art. A constant development once it is started with is equal terrifying and fascinating.

We put our experiences and knowledge together. It has to change otherwise the contemporary art world will be a home for the elderly, their protégée and a few selected, like a golf club. And that would be a nightmare.

How do you see this project being different or taking new steps forward in relation to reaching new audiences and new spaces to exhibit the work?

New audiences are thus created everyday among the willing participants in contributory media, and, while we offer up our endeavor to the best of today’s galleries and institutions, I ultimately see a new language emerging from the commonality of this kind of shared visual communications, with millions and millions of people participating, each a star in the firmament. It is already happening.

When this project reaches the point of being ready to be displayed, it is released globally. This is also terrifying and fascinating. And the consequences could be a constant never ending noise being exhibited everywhere all the time, while new works of art is in the process of being produced.

No gatekeepers are there yet. Just people ready to share, like Kika.

Some artists and galleries are still afraid of publishing online. They feel that it would devalue their work and make it easy to copy. How do you feel about this?

In my opinion you’re not devaluing anything. That type of value is an old fashioned illusion connected to ownership and it will co-exist with the new values this project is bringing out in the light.

I have no problems with that, I have no problems if some one will copy my art, that spur me to make new and better. Im also find lots of inspiration on th net for my self.

They are absolutely right about it. Music business, for example, is in deep problem right now. Maybe because they didn’t adapt to the new digital cyber world. Adapted to it in the right way, in the right time and for the right reasons. Art is in a delicate situation. Artworks supposed to be exclusive and original, but if no one sees your work it for no good. You have to expose your work otherwise no one will know or care about you .Am I to pretentious when I claim that this is the beginning of a paradigm shift? Time will tell what was wrong or right. But to cling onto the old paradigm isn’t vice. The galleries that been around for a 100+ years, which is a relative short time in art history, has come to an “adopt or die” situation.

I think everyone has to jump into the internet pool, to some degree, whether they want to or not, if they want to reach people in this ever-changing virtual landscape. Yes, it’s damn easy to copy any and all online content, so, in marketing oneself, there must be some willingness towards posting creative commons attribution work, or at least a willingness to share examples of copyrighted work, just as there is a great desire among people to have non-commercial fun with copyrighted materials in a non-infringing way under fair use provisions, such as satire and commentary. Of course, there are many easy and effective options for offering all kinds of original art content for sale online, too.

When you make your videos, do you think about impacting an audience?

As with any artistic endeavor, I try and think of ideas that excite me as an artist and evolving human being, and the thrill of creation is found in the desire to extend this energy into a connection with an unseen audience.

Yes, to me it is important not only to push every button on the screen merely because it is there to be pushed, but also try to add a bit of profound thought to these new possibilities. I feel like a toddler sitting on a rocket science manual. I hope forums will help developing not only interesting work but also works that benefits.

Yes I do. I either want to impact their hearts, their heads or their private parts. And I want to be somewhat entertaining doing it.

Yes, I think that my works should make some sense to the ones that watch it. They should have something to take home in their minds. I like to make videos for a certain occasion or place so it can relate to the place it is shown at. But I don’t design art videos to a target group the way mainstream film do it. My videos are my way of expressing things and communication and never art masturbation.

How do the art market expectations and values affect your work?

Only as something I try and avoid thinking about when I am working, but it does certainly sharpen ones skills, and drives the urge to to create, the more incredible art one is exposed to.

The key to being able to collaborate is very much to be your own authority. The art market is a system, that is depended on the creation of materialistic values to exist. Our existence is perhaps effected by these values to, but the work is most certainly not. It has it’s own life. When or if you pursuit the materialistic values, and at some point you might be able to, you’re also leave this kind of collaborative work behind. I think. You could see it as a platform for fame and glory. If you realize that the work is so much more valuable than fame and glory, you’ll probably keep working and benefiting from the work in spiritual ways.

I rather steal or get an ordinary job (preferably stealing) than taking these things into consideration, but money is like a sixth sense without which you cannot make a complete use of the other five.

I don’t think about that. If you do that you will probably do a poor job.

The ECVP started as an online community of artists wanting to exchange ideas and start an enriching collaborative experience. Do you think it has the potential to extrapolate this profile and draw the attention of the art world? Why? What is its contribution to the art community in general?

Yes, I think, while the project has initially served as a demonstration of the power and potential of new forms of cross-cultural communications and cooperation, it will ultimately chart this old conceptual boat built by the surrealists into new waters, and has the potential of becoming a fad or even an enduring form of online parlay.

Yes, if the right people watch it, the ones that understand it. The art world isn’t static; it evolves all the time. But it has to be explored by people that understand it. Otherwise it will just pass unnoticed. And of course there is a risk that someone re-invent what we are doing and get credits for it. Well, I don’t like the word “art world” as it is used generally. It sounds like an “us and them” situation. Or you can say it’s a part of the art world already, we are a part of it and it is on Art Just that you ask us this questions makes it a part of the art world. What is missing is that the old part of the art world has not noticed our project yet. Our project is in an inventory phase hoping for an early adoption phase to happen. Hopefully the early majority will follow with their recognition, but it is too early to tell.

What projects is the group currently working on, or hoping to work on in the near future?

Seems like we’re taking one corpse at a time, then considering the next phase, but that the idea will be to continue producing a “body” of work, until at least one feature film length sequence has been assembled. In between, new ideas for promotion, such as the book project, distribution and exhibition are always being considered.

The group is slowly becoming conscious about it’s own existence and capabilities. It’s a baby growing in fast forward. Smaller groups are forming within the group (cells are dividing) and new members (gens) are becoming active. One of the ECVProjects I’m collaborating on is a book aiming at documenting the birth and the first few breaths of this life form we refer to as a corpse.

What do you see is the future for the ECVP group?

I think the group itself has the tendency of growing and make a lot more collaboration projects. The exquisite corpse method is very exciting to work with, but we definitely have discussed other formats for new projects. The most interesting part for me is that through this project we have achieved very fast an intimacy – both on our artistic approaches and our personal behaviors – that allowed us to develop a nice dynamic in the group. The flow of ideas is amazing and I don’t see this group ending any moment soon.

I hope that the group will stick together, but then we need to close ranks a bit and at some point the whole group should meet. Then this actually might have an impact and do not run into the sand.

Me and Stina are planing a video workshop and an exhibition for next summer at Formverk. After we started this project it was obvious to do it with people in this project. I have already spoken to some people in the group and they would like to come.

Next venues:

Alucine Toronto Media Festival
Lupa Art, Melbourne, Australia
Indie Festival, Brazil
AZAshortFILMfestival, Greece
Formverk, Sweden
Rural Research Laboratories, Elmira, NY, USA

And if you want to read more about the project…

5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 12, 2008 9:01 pm

    Looking at the video it is nice to note that the same word can be applied to the outcome as well as the process. Exquisite.

  2. August 20, 2008 4:58 pm

    Guys, in my 10+ years of being an artist i have not been a part of such a successful art event. It was truly epic. Tons of people came and everyone loved it and we got lots and lots of positive feedback and Monkey Town loved it and asked us to do more screenings there. We all left glowing and with huge sense of accomplishment. Plus there were like 10 art review people there. Jan even showed up and she is wonderful. The whole thing had an an amazing energy very much reminiscent of the 70’s when artists really worked together to make great things happen. Got so much great feedback from our artist peers in New York was amazing. I know i am going overboard but seriously it was that amazing. Like out of a Bette Middler movie. Ok pictures and videos to follow i am sure. Just wanted to make an initial statement and congratulate everyone and thank so much our new best Friend Kika for everything. Everyone involved should give themselves a big pat on the back.

    one luv


  3. Jan Kather permalink
    August 27, 2008 6:44 pm

    I am lucky enough to live close to NYC, so I took a bus to see the screening of the Corpses in Williamsburg. I have never been in a space like Monkeytown. It was so relaxing to lie down on cushy low couches and look at the enormous videoscreens in every direction. If you are visiting NYC, a trip to Brooklyn is definitely something to be added to your itinerary! Monkeytown is very, very cool!

    The large scale and multiple screens indeed created an amazing effect! When there was side-to-side movement in a video, it felt like the whole room was moving! I of course could only see 3 at a time, as my back was to the fourth wall. Marty had a terrific video with an older man reappearing. I was quite taken by that image. The camera technique suggested a kind of fear an older person might have if they are experiencing memory loss or simply loss of abilities once taken for granted. I was quite moved by that sequence.

    Alicia’s section (at least what I could detect – this was hard to know who really did what, as it was the first view!) – reminded me of the Dia Center when it had Robert Irwin’s scrim installation a few years ago. When walking through the maze of scrims, you would see the shape of the other person on the other side of the scrim, or several scrims away. It was like the person was near, yet far- very dreamy. Alicia’s video felt like that – and the children on the beach were far in time rather than space.

    Watching the Sandler brother’s piece on the pleasures of playing a guitar sent me to view my favorite videos of Jeff Beck on YouTube. I am looking at that whammy bar of Jeff’s in a whole new way now:) Thank you Sandler brothers for this revelation about male desire!!!

    So much more to say about all this, but in short, it was an impressive show! Congratulations to each and every artist who participated in this!


  1. Exquisite Corpse Video Project « arthur tuoto
  2. The exquisite Corpse Video Project « Ray Garraud

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