Exquisite corpse


We aren’t sure if it was just us, but we liked English at school (for the purposes of this real life example we exempt the dog and the manifestation of glitter rock). We were all pretty good at it, and sat next to each other in class. Our favourite exercise was to open a book, choose a sentence, then continue our own story. It’s remarkable where this can lead, really. Just writing, without a clear end in sight is very freeing and it’s amazing what tumbles out. Sometimes you have to put a few bits back in, later, but overall it’s a positive thing. 

We’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. Some of our projects on the back burners (we have 7 at GAG HQ, they run on natural gas that spews out of the rocks round here) are quite heavily literate and so the typewriters have been hammering away non stop. Visual art and words go hand in hand, but sometimes we find they aren’t quite in step. 

So stream of consciousness stuff is really quite handy. Plonk an art piece on the podium (Look, it isn’t our fault you don’t have a podium) stare intently and then crack on with some automatic writing. Some people can do it in their sleep. Once you’re done you can whittle away the dross and polish up what’s left. Or, if you’d rather, it’s like opening a cupboard you’ve, inadvisedly, filled with diamanté studs and packing peanuts. Yes, it’s a mess and it goes everywhere but once you’ve cleared the rubbish away you’re left with some gems.

Take this picture, now emerging, of a dead jellyfish. We’ve made 3 images from this alone so far, and all of these words this weekend came out of it. There were lots on the beach. They don’t elicit the same kind of sad eyed wonder that dead seals or porpoise do, jellyfish. More of a morbid curiosity and, if you’re us, an overwhelming impulse to poke at it. But it’s the same really, another dead thing amongst the plastic.

We found a dead seal the other day, actually. Didn’t take and post a picture of it though, another blow to the self image of the jellyfish, and it was arguably more interesting as it didn’t have a head. But something stopped us from documenting it and we left it turning in the surf. It did stay with us though, and we’ve written a story about it which we’ll share eventually. 

This has all been very relaxing, writing like this. We’ve passed the paper between us and continued where the other left off. An exquisite corpse of things best said. If you like this, by the way, we would like to know. We’re bobbing about in this bubble with you and it would be nice to know who’s out there. Next weekend we might do a proper story, or not, who can say. Now it’s just a case of typing and passing along until someone


the end. 

Sam HortonComment