Taking risks. The atmosphere was ripe for something to happen. In Paris in the early twentieth century artists and writers experimented with new forms of expression, many of which are now considered masterworks of modern art and fiction. Something less well-known was going on, a small bit of fun on the side, in which a group of Surrealists maimed a parlour game and created collaborative art known as le cadavre exquise or the exquisite corpse.
In the example above, Artist A begins the drawing, folds the paper so that Artist B, can only see the last bits at the bottom. Artist B connects to those bits and contributes the upper middle of the drawing, passing it to Artist C who draws, then gives it to D to complete the bottom fourth. An interesting outcome, no?
The catalogue notes of MOMA’s recent Exquisite Corpse exhibition, read that, “In a collaborative, chance-based drawing game known as the exquisite corpse, Surrealist artists subjected the human body to distortions and juxtapositions that resulted in fantastic composite figures.”
Later, “If art history reveals an unending impulse to render the human figure as a symbol of potential perfection and a system of primary organization, these works show that artists have just as persistently been driven to disfigure the body.”
Proposal: We collectively create a murder here on Open Salon. The fact that we cannot go in sequence because we all drop in at random times makes for exciting possibilities, a free-for-all that ends (or does it?) with a killing.
Contributions: Who, What, When, Where, Why, How. What do you like to write about? Describe places (where the murder took place, where the story began, where the characters grew up, where they have travelled), or the socio-political environment, or the media consumed by the victim or the murderer(s), food, old wounds, dysfunctional families, resentments, facts (medical? historical?), characters (main or peripheral: run long and wild), motivations and psychological aspects of the situation, romances, both failed and long-lived, financial background and implications of the murder. Or whatever you can do to fill in, round out, or continue the story.
Instructions: Read what has been described in the comments before, and add your contribution. The story will evolve bizarrely as life and murder are wont to do. Collaborate and contribute. Let’s see what happens.
I begin: Madame’s husky voice called from the window above, “At last you are here. Salvatore will come open the door. The buzzer has been disabled, so I have had to wait by the window for your arrival. Did you bring all the items we discussed?”
From across the street Detective Hugh Knott watched Madame and the figure at the door , knowing that his months of painstaking research on the strange case were paying off.
Image and notes from MOMA: http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/1256
© 2012, Emily Conyngham