Exquisite corpses & Cadavers: Graphical
exquisite corpses and cadavers, formatted by Leila Jean Levi, 09-03-07

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Exquisite corpse (also known as "exquisite cadaver" or "rotating corpse") is a method by which a collection of words or images are collectively assembled, the result being known as the exquisite corpse or cadavre exquis in French. Each collaborator adds to a composition in sequence, either by following a rule (e.g. "The adjective noun adverb verb the adjective noun") or by being allowed to see the end of what the previous person contributed.

The technique was invented by Surrealists in 1925, 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. Later (perhaps inspired by 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) the game was adapted to drawing and collage. It has also been played by mailing a drawing or collage — in progressive stages of completion — to the players, and this variation is known as "exquisite corpse by airmail", or "mail art," whether the game travels by airmail or not. 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 will drink the new wine.")[1][2]

Some have played the graphic game with a more or less vague or general prior agreement about what the resulting picture will be (though such application of reason makes the exercise not strictly a surrealist one). There have been variations on the original procedure, such as the exquisite corpse wang-dang-doodle — a type of very long, rearrangeable exquisite corpse invented by Ted Joans. The game of exquisite corpse has been adapted to be played using computer graphics, the construction of Surrealist objects, and even an adaptation to architecture has been proposed. The technique has also been used in making at least one Doom level [1], and at NYU in making films [2].

A 3d exquisite corpse In music, the composers Virgil Thomson, John Cage, and Lou Harrison (among others) collaborated on Exquisite Corpse pieces, where each composer would only be privy to one measure of music. "Totems Without Taboos," organized by the Chicago Surrealist Group at the Heartland Cafe in Chicago, was the first exhibition of exquisite corpses in the United States. The San Francisco Cacophony Society performed the exquisite corpse game using a theater full of people with banks of typewriters. A Film exquisite corpse Mysterious Object at Noon, an experimental 2000 Thai feature film directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul was inspired by the exquisite corpse game. The film, shot on 16 mm over 3 years in varied locations in Thailand, featured Weerasethakul (or assistants) soliciting improvised extensions to a scenario improvised by a woman appearing early in the film. Weerasethakul then assembled the results into a 'feature film'. In the Montreal World Film Festival of 2006, a group of ten film directors, scriptwriters and professional musicians took the concept to a new level with the fusion of the art of film-making and song-writing: Cadavre Exquis première édition. This idea was proposed by Adrien Lorion, David-Etienne and Michel Laroche. The stage production Hedwig and the Angry Inch and its film adaptation heavily utilize the exquisite corpse format as a symbol. Near the end of the play/film, as the already bizarre story reaches its most surreal point, Hedwig begins reminiscing about all the relationships and events in her life that have made her feel "cut...up into parts", with pieces going to various important people. The following song asserts that now, however, she has "sewn up" or reconstructed herself, recovered, and become whole, though as a patchwork of sorts ("tornado body and a hand grenade head, and the legs are two lovers entwined"). The lyrics actually contain the term "exquisite corpse", which

is also its title. Indeed, the whole tale is a developed exploration of the exquisite corpse concept, examining it via several themes: heavy influence from Plato's Symposium, suggesting that individual lovers are two incomplete parts of a whole; the impact of each relationship in an individual's life; genital alterations related to sex change; and the concept of gender, particularly nonbinary gender, as a construction of components from various sexual identities, combined in a way that results in a unique individual. A more recent film, The Orange Thief, was made using the exquisite corpse technique. The film makers knew of each other's daily scenes only after they were shot and edited, and then worked on a subsequent scene to bolster the previous. This film can be seen online at http://PAHfest.com .

Breton, André (1948-10-07), Le Cadavre Exquis: Son Exaltation exhibition catalogue, La Dragonne, Galerie Nina Dausset, Paris (October 7-30). Brotchie, Alastair; Mel Gooding (1991). Surrealist Games. London: Redstone Press, pp. 143-144. ISBN 1-87000321-7.

External links
The text-based games:
An internet-based version of the game

Language Is A Virus Includes online writing games: exquisite corpse, exquisite cadavulator, cut up machines, automatic poetry. http://languageisavirus.com/ An internet-based version of the game written in Java http://ccgi.tomandlu.co.uk/corpse/corpse.htm

The Sentence Game another internet based game, a rather free game play variaton http://www.sentencegame.com/ Cadavre - stories generated automatically (English, German and Russian) http://www.telling-stories.net/ Instructions for playing the game on paper

The image-based games:
Hand Drawn Corpses : Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau http://yarynots.com/BB/index.php/ Automated Online Image Quilting Game For Graphic Artists employing graphics software for graphic designer http://www.quiltsco.com/?s=finished An internet-based version of the paper game http://www.someodd.com/ec/ Another internet-based version of the paper game called FreakMachine http://www.freakmachine.co.uk/home.asp An early internet-based version at SITO (from 1994)

An french internet-based version employing graphics software for graphic designer http://www.nubiumgraphik.com/ A similar graphics based version http://www.anexquisitecorpse.net/ Theexquisitecorpse , where Surrealism coagulates !!! http://theexquisitecorpse.deviantart.com/ 2000-2004 ,181 exquisite corpse made at ice.org is Blocked from school. Image quilting, including zooming quilts http://www.onlinequilt.net/

Living Image http://www.someodd.com/li/ An internet-based version employing graphics software (2003-2004) The Bluesfear Worm, consisting of over 100 http://stuph.com/exanimate/ecorpse.com/ pictures http://www.worm.bluesfear.com/index2.html 850 Million in the Snow (in French) - the longest bande dessinée Exquisite Corpse on the net

The music-based games:
Collaborative composition http://www.fountain-city.com/ec6/ Exquisite Corpse http://exquisite.olseth.org/


The Film-based games:
Cadavre Exquis - première édition, this is very cool, watch it for a little while http://www.cadavreexquis.tv/

The definitive version on Livejournal

Moebius Corpse http://wiki.playagaingames.com/cgi-bin/mobius_corpse.pl An example of a musical version (with links to others)

Online version with some new rules

An example of a Movie and musical version

Mobius Text Artist Presentation and An online Flash animation version


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