Exquisite Corpse

Earlier this year TASIS Headmaster Lyle Rigg approached the TASIS photography faculty about a project he thought students might like to try. It was called the Exquisite Corpse. Needless to say TASIS photography teachers Frank Long and Kim Nelson were intrigued. Lyle shared a book by the Maine Media Workshop + College where his daughter Karin Leuthy is the Development Coordinator, and where he serves as a board member. Karin introduced the project to her organization as an interesting way to get many artists to work on a collaborative project. The Maine Media Workshops + College invited its own community of world-renowned artists to collaborate with other artists to create "exquisite corpses". View a video of their finished product here: Exquisite Corpse MMW.

The parlor game Exquisite Corpse developed from a Surrealist working of a game called “Consequences” in which players write in turn on a sheet of paper and fold the paper to conceal part of the writing before passing it on to the next contributor. In our Exquisite Corpse, the first player was given a phrase from which they were asked to produce an image. In turn that image was delivered to the next person and so on until each photographer had a chance to respond. Like a visual game of “Telephone,” participants add an image to the chain while only knowing the image that came before their own.

The images in each of these chains are not a collection, but rather a kind of story, told one image at a time, from multiple points of view. The beauty of the stories lie directly in the surprises, mystery, and disconnects that mark the trajectory of each narrative. The serendipity and strange, illogical juxtapositions are what attracted the Surrealists to the form. The excitement of creation and collaboration is what drives us to seek what the unknown will bring us at the end of our chain.

Please enjoy our initial Exquisite Corpse stories created by the students of our Advanced Photography courses (IB first and second year/Photography 2/Advanced Placement). Click on the title of each story and use the arrow on the right to follow the story sequentially.