Exquisite Corpse

And Multi-Author Works

"The exquisite corpse will drink the wine." This is the text of the first Exquisite Corpse ever produced, and the origin of the method's name. The process was conceived by members of the International Surrealist Movement as a way to bring the subconscious, and indeed the collective unconscious, directly into the artistic process.

Essentially a collaborative effort, Exquisite Corpse methodology varies a great deal but always involves at least two artists. In the originating example above, seven persons each contributed a word to the final sentence, each without knowing any of the previous words. Seen in this light, the end product becomes all the more remarkable.

Exquisite Corpses have been produced word by word, sentence by sentence, and even page by page. The amount of previous text any given contributor sees varies, but is always limited. While works in which multiple writers work with, or against each other with full view of the text do certainly exist, these are not strictly speaking Exquisite Corpses. The addition of text to an unknown whole is the defining characteristic of the method.

A visual art version also exists, in which a page is folded into discrete sections and each participant contributes a fraction of a drawing without viewing the other portions. The results are usually quite striking. In fact, both types of Exquisite Corpses make excellent party games, if you have that sort of friends.

A group of 100 Southern California writers recently produced The Exquisite Cadaver: A Semi-Automatic Novel. Numerous small scale examples can be found in the work of Surrealists like Andre Bréton and Max Ernst.

"www.speakeasy.org/~worden/xcorpse/" - A good place to contribute to short exquisite corpses.
http://www.panwala.com/ec/ - Seems to be more multi-authorships then EC's.

Backwards #3 "Robert & Victoria" - Tim Kane & Chad Mealey from Issue 7pi (1993, For Publication Only)
Backwards #2 - Tim Kane & Chad Mealey from Issue 29pi/3 (1993, For Publication Only)
I Did it My Way - David Hurwitz & Tim Kane from Issue 7pi (1993, For Publication Only)