Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Exquisite Corpse

The Surrealists enjoyed messy accidents. And collaborating. They enjoyed both so much, in fact, that they would often gather to cause messy collaborative accidents that we now call parlor games.

One of the most famous of these is the Exquisite Corpse, in which each player writes part of a sentence on a sheet of paper, folds it to conceal the writing, and then passes it to the next player for his or her contribution. The game was named for the subject of its first playing: 

"Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau" 
(The exquisite corpse will drink the young wine).

At the Harvest Moon Tea Party salon last week, we kicked off the evening with a couple of rounds of the classic version of the game:

 “Seven hiccoughing bushbabies are dancing bright rockstars.”

“The super alpaca spanked pleasingly the strumpets.”

“We slow robotic droids escaped radiantly into the banana.”

Then moved to a round of questions and answers (the question being hidden from its answerer):

Q: “Where does the sleepy traveler go when no one is watching?”
A: “With reckless abandon and honesty.”

Q: “How many years does a pig live?”
A: “Glad you asked that. I was anticipating this question. The answer is yes! Especially on Tuesdays.”

Q: “What does it all mean?”
A: “Because there isn’t any.”

Q: “If you came across a very friendly alien, what would you say?”
A: “Corn on the cob. Or possibly rhubarb.”

Q: “What is the meaning of bubbles?”
A: “15 miles and a small golden trout.”

And, finally, the favorite--the artists' version of the Exquisite Corpse (some of our drawings are seen here).

See some of the original Surrealists’ drawings at

The Surrealists in 1930: Tristan Tzara, Paul Éluard, André Breton, Hans Arp, Salvador Dalí, Yves Tanguy, Max Ernst, René Crevel, Man Ray

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