Exquisite corpse, also known as exquisite cadaver (from the original French term cadavre exquis), is a method by which a collection of words or images is collectively assembled. Each collaborator adds to a composition in sequence, either by following a rule (e.g. “The adjective noun adverb verb the adjective noun.” as in “The green duck sweetly sang the dreadful dirge.”) or by being allowed to see only the end of what the previous person contributed.
The technique was invented by surrealists and is similar to an old parlour game called Consequences in which players write in turn on a sheet of paper, fold it to conceal part of the writing, and then pass it to the next player for a further contribution. Surrealism principal founder André Breton reported that it started in fun, but became playful and eventually enriching. Breton said the diversion started about 1925, but Pierre Reverdy wrote that it started much earlier, at least before 1918.
The name is derived from a phrase that resulted when Surrealists first played the game, “Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau.” (“The exquisite corpse shall drink the new wine.”) André Breton writes that the game developed at the residence of friends in an old house at 54 rue du Château (no longer existing). In the beginning were Yves Tanguy, Marcel Duchamp, Jacques Prévert, Benjamin Péret, Pierre Reverdy, and André Breton. Other participants probably included Max Morise, Joan Miró, Man Ray, Simone Collinet, Tristan Tzara, Georges Hugnet, René Char, and Paul and Nusch Éluard.
Henry Miller often partook of the game to pass time in French cafés during the 1930s.
Definition, history, rules and creator
The Abbreviated Dictionary of Surrealism gives the exquisite corpse the following definition: “a game consisting of having a phrase, or drawing, composed by several persons without any of them being able to take into account the collaboration or previous collaborations. ”
This literary game was invented in Paris, at 54 rue du Château, in a house where lived Marcel Duhamel, Jacques Prévert and Yves Tanguy. The principle of the game is the following: each participant in turn writes a part of a sentence, in the order subject-verb-complement, without knowing what the previous wrote. The first sentence that resulted and gave the name to this game was “The corpse – exquisite – drink – wine – new”. It is part of the creations inspired by the concept of unconscious, wishing to explore its resources.
It was initially a fun activity, according to André Breton: “Although, as a defense measure, sometimes this activity was said, by us,” experimental “, we sought above all entertainment. What we were able to discover enriching in terms of knowledge came only afterwards “.
In a variant now known as picture consequences, instead of sentences, portions of a person were drawn. Later the game was adapted to drawing and collage, producing a result similar to children’s books in which the pages were cut into thirds, the top third pages showing the head of a person or animal, the middle third the torso, and the bottom third the legs, with children having the ability to “mix and match” by turning pages.
In the context of parties, it can be run as a circle game in which a group of people cooperatively draw a person, taking about 20 minutes to play.
An image of a person is drawn in portions, with the paper folded after each portion so that later participants cannot see earlier portions. It has been recommended for use as a tool for teaching about tattoos. Picture consequences can be used to practice vocabulary and to encourage a class to work together. The game is also recommended as a “rainy day” game. The point of the game is the surprise reveal at the end or for simple fun.
The person can be drawn in four steps: The head, the torso, the legs and the feet. As a last step, a player may label the drawing, still unseen, with someone’s name.
The name “picture consequences” is also sometimes used to describe Telephone Pictionary, a game in which players alternate writing descriptions and matching illustrations based on the previous step.
Later (perhaps inspired by a type of illustrated books for children in which the pages are divided into three or four independently browsable parts, which make up a design for each possible combination) were born variants of the game in which the purpose is not to write a text, rather, to compose a drawing or a collage. It may also be that players agree in advance on some general aspects of the image to be realized, but this goes against the essentially surrealist nature of the game.
In all these variations the game was also played by mail.
The technique of the cadavre exquis was used by the surrealists, and there have been attempts at artistic applications based on computer graphics, for the construction of surrealist objects, and even in the architectural field. At New York University she was used to create surrealist features. Some additional levels of the Doom videogame are designed using this method.
The excellent corpses are therefore the object of some interest by artistic organizations. Totems Without Taboos (“totem without taboos “) was the first exhibition of excellent corpses in the United States, organized by the Chicago Surrealist Group. The Cacophony Society of San Francisco organized a special evening in which the game was played by a theater full of people.
Exquisite Corpse is also the title of a song of the group Bauhaus (from disk The Sky’s Gone Out of 1982) and a novel of 1996 by Poppy Z. Brite, and Exquisite Dead Guy (“Excellent dead guy”) is a song of the group They Might Be Giants.
Excellent cadavers is the title of a film by Francesco Rosi from 1976, based on the novel Il Contesto by Leonardo Sciascia.
Other uses of the technique
The technique of the exquisite corpse was adapted to drawing and collage, perhaps inspired by children’s illustrations in which the pages were divided into three parts (the upper third showed the head of a person or animal, the middle part of the torso and the lower part of the legs). The children had the ability to mix and match figures by flipping the pages. It is also customary to send a drawing or collage by mail to the players -by progressive stages-; that is known as “exquisite corpse by mail” (apparently, regardless of whether the game really travels by post or not).
Some have played the drawing game with a more or less vague agreement as to what will be the result of the illustration, something that could be considered to contradict the surreal nature of the game.
There are also some samples in the field of comics, such as number 63 of the magazine ¡Caramba!.
The game has also been adapted to be done using computer graphics, to build surrealist objects, and an adaptation to architecture has even been proposed. Even films have been made using this technique at the University of New York, for example.
“Totems without taboos”, organized by the Surrealist Group of Chicago at the Heartland Café (Chicago, Illinois), was the first exhibition of exquisite corpses using a theater full of people with typewriters.
This technique is frequently used within the framework of popular education, where although the basic system of the game is used, the slogan, far from being delivered at random, is put into the game.
Literature and novels
Example of Exquisite Graphic Cadaver by Marc M. Gusta, Bernat M. Gusta & Irene Alcón, 2011.
From sentence to novel, there was only one step that the authors have crossed, seduced by this method of writing. The rules had to be modified: the author must necessarily be able to read the preceding chapters, before driving plot and characters according to his whim. The author of crime novels who tries the exquisite corpse is placed under the conditions of a real investigation, in ignorance of the causes and conclusions of a case. He takes the case in terms he did not determine and passes it on for conclusions he probably did not think about.
First novel built on this principle, The Floating Admiral (The Floating Admiral, 1931) is the work of twelve authors, all members of the Detection Club. In the order designated by fate, GK Chesterton was instructed to write the first chapter. Other authors were VL Whitechurch, GDH and Margaret Cole, Henry Wade, Agatha Christie, John Rode, Milner Kennedy, Freeman Wills Crofts, Edgar Jepson, and Clemence Dane. Anthony Berkeley brought the conclusion to this inquiry into the death of Admiral Pennistone.
By sharing the chapters of the novel that they elaborate together, in turn, “none of the authors, as Michel Lebrun explains in The Almanac of the Crime 1980, knows the rest of the story and must strive firstly: to resolve the delicate situation with which the predecessor concluded the previous chapter; secondly, to complicate the situation as much as possible in order to leave the person who will take over. ”
With five titles, the ” 13 tracks of Ricochet ” collection (1998-2000) aimed to associate young authors with already known authors, to try to cohabit styles and to take advantage of the diversity of the imaginary to see people and the city from different points of view, the authors must present, each through a typical character, a slice of life of a building.
The exquisite corpse can be interactive. The two collections of Brigitte Kernel, Exquisite corpses, gather black news written by the radio host and her listeners, during her show Noctiluque, on France Inter.
With few authors, the exquisite corpse takes on the appearance of a rotating novel, such as Jean-Bernard Pouy’s La Vie duraille (1985), Daniel Pennac and Patrick Raynal, signed J.-B. Nacray.
To make graphic novels, some authors and illustrators resort to this process, operating a parallel work, without leaving anything to the reader. Thus, to elaborate Train Chronicles (Futuropolis, 1989) and Pigalle, Miles Hyman and Marc Villard chose to tell the same story in two different ways: one narrative, the other graphic, Hyman doing some of the drawings, Marc Villard inspired more or less to create the text. And Miles Hyman to complete the illustrations with a more specific attention to Villard’s story.
In August 2010, Maxime Gillio launched the idea of an exquisite literary cadaver on Facebook incorporating the constraint of the social network statutes, 420 signs maximum. A total of 80 authors – confirmed feathers and young downs – will take turns to soap the board of the following in a succulent and delirious pursuit of the killer andouillette. The Exquisite New after invading a few literary salons will be seen lying in the pages of a book in October 2011.
The exercise was also adopted by cartoonists. The goal is then to create a collective painting on the same sheet. A first artist begins to draw without others watching. After finishing, he folds the sheet on itself to hide his drawing, except for a very small part of the drawing. In turn, each participant must take inspiration from the pattern left visible to draw something and cover almost all his work before leaving his place to the next. In the end, the whole is unveiled. One variant is to write a collective comic strip, each participant taking turns to take inspiration only from the last boxdrawn by their predecessor to develop history. This game was popularized by the French TV show Tac au Tac and is very popular with comic book festivals.
Mysterious Object at Noon, a cinematographic experimental approach inspired by the play of the exquisite corpse, was initiated by filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul in 2000. On 16 mm film, the filming took place over three years in various locations in Thailand.
Unveiled at the thirtieth anniversary of the Montreal World Film Festival, Exquisite Corpse, first edition, original idea by Adrien Lorion, David Étienne and Michel Laroche, marks an artistic evolution by merging the art of cinema and the writing of the song. In this edition, they grafted some variants to this exquisite corpse. To begin with, they imposed a bible of about thirty fictitious characters who served as a universe and distribution to nine filmmakers, as well as nine songwriters who inspired them to produce their own segment. movie or their song. In addition, as an example, the song artist and the filmmaker producing the third clip out of the nine, knew only the text of the last four bars of the song and the last scene of the second clip and so on. This has had the effect of producing a story whose evolution is surprising, sometimes radically or fun.
For its 30 th edition, the Belfort Film Festival – Entrevues invited 30 filmmakers to play the exquisite corpse game by asking them to choose a film in turn from the last image of the previous film. Serge Bozon, Jean-Paul Civeyrac, Clement Cogitore, Pedro Costa, Jean-Charles Fitoussi, Yann Gonzalez, José Luis Guerin, John Gianvito, Miguel Gomes, Alain Gomis, Yorgos Lanthimos, Arnaud and Jean-Marie Larrieu, Sébastien Lifshitz,Dominique Marchais, Patricia Mazuy, Joao Nicolau, Jacques Nolot, Idrissa Ouedraogo, FJ Ossang, Jafar Panahi, Nicolas Philibert, Joao Pedro Rodrigues, Alex Ross Perry, Jean-Claude Rousseau, Thomas Salvador, Claire Simon and Abderrahmane Sissako participated in this game.
The cut-up technique of William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin was influenced by Surrealism.
Exquisite Corpse is the name of a literary magazine founded in 1983 (later in online version from 1999) published by Andrei Codrescu.
Naked Came the Manatee (Putnam, 1996) is a mystery thriller parody novel. Each of its thirteen chapters was written, in sequence, by a different Florida writer, beginning with Dave Barry and ending with Carl Hiaasen.
Exquisite Fruit is a variant conceived by members of the National Puzzlers’ League in which a round of trivia questions are sequentially written by players, given an answer provided by each player at the start, and the resulting question posed to another player at the end.
The Narrative Corpse (Gates of Heck, 1995) is a comic book chain-story by 69 all-star cartoonists co-edited by Art Spiegelman and R. Sikoryak.
The Breaking Boredom Project in graphic design, Cairo (2008)
The Exquisite Corpse Adventure (Candlewick, 2011), commissioned by the Library of Congress, uses well-known children’s authors and illustrators
Film and TV
Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s 2000 film Mysterious Object at Noon uses this technique with a mixture of documentary and fictional film.
The Exquisite Corpse Project is a 2012 feature-length comedy film written using the exquisite corpse technique.
A Rick and Morty 2017 trailer for season 3 is titled “Exquisite Corpse” and features a multiple minute long sequence to the song “Thursday in the Danger Room” from the album Run the Jewels by Run the Jewels.
The band Bauhaus have a track titled “Exquisite Corpse” on their third studio album (The Sky’s Gone Out) (1982), which appears to have been created in this collaborative surrealist style.
A song in the musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch (1998) is entitled “Exquisite Corpse”.
The band Warpaint named their debut EP Exquisite Corpse (2008) because of their collaborative songwriting style.
George Watsky’s 2016 album, x Infinity, features a song titled “Exquisite Corpse” using this technique featuring verses by several artists.
Source from Wikipedia