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ExCorpse VOL I _ ABOUT

Inspired by the Surrealist invention of the ‘Exquisite Corpse,’ a method of sequential, collaborative image production, these video shorts were composed over several months by 26 artists in 13 countries. (total running time: approximately 50 minutes).

In the Surrealists’ ‘game,’ a sheet of paper is folded so that each contributor sees only a small portion of the previous contributor’s work and begins his or her own work from that small portion. When the last participant is finished, the sheet is unfolded to reveal a strangely divergent, yet contiguous, form or figure.

These video ‘corpses’ were created by members of, an online networking site for artists, galleries, and collectors, and the project was instigated and managed by Brazilian video artist Kika Nicolela. The three corpses are composed in the following manner: the final ten-seconds of an initial one-minute video is sent to a second participant, who then integrates it into the beginning of his or her own minute of video, the final ten seconds of which are then sent to a third contributor, and so on, until the collected minutes are ‘stitched’ together in order, thus creating a single piece.

Among Surrealist techniques exploiting the mystique of accident was a kind of collective collage of words or images called the cadavre exquis (exquisite corpse). Based on an old parlor game, it was played by several people, each of whom would write a phrase on a sheet of paper, fold the paper to conceal part of it, and pass it on to the next player for his contribution.
The technique got its name from results obtained in initial playing, “Le cadavre / exquis / boira / le vin / nouveau” (The exquisite corpse will drink the young wine). Other examples are: “The dormitory of friable little girls puts the odious box right” and “The Senegal oyster will eat the tricolor bread.” These poetic fragments were felt to reveal what Nicolas Calas characterized as the “unconscious reality in the personality of the group” resulting from a process of what Ernst called “mental contagion.”
At the same time, they represented the transposition of Lautréamont’s classic verbal collage to a collective level, in effect fulfilling his injunction– frequently cited in Surrealist texts–that “poetry must be made by all and not by one.” It was natural that such oracular truths should be similarly sought through images, and the game was immediately adapted to drawing, producing a series of hybrids the first reproductions of which are to be found in No. 9-10 of La Révolution surrealiste (October, 1927) without identification of their creators. The game was adapted to the possibilities of drawing, and even collage, by assigning a section of a body to each player, though the Surrealist principle of metaphoric displacement led to images that only vaguely resembled the human form.
Source: Dada & Surrealist Art, by William S. Rubin

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  1. | exquisite corpse at monkey town | New York «

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