Exquisite Corpse (1)

By: Peggy Nelson
January 11, 2012

Every game has rules.

When the conversation — on the day’s events or proposals of amusing or scandalous intervention in the life of the times — began to pall, we would turn to games; written games at first, contrived so that elements of language attacked each other in the most paradoxical manner possible, and so that human communication, misled from the start, was thrown into the mood most amenable to adventure.

[André Breton, “Le Cadavre Exquis: Son Exaltation” (catalog), 1948]

In Exquisite Corpse, the Surrealists adapted a parlor game in which a fragment of a phrase or image is scribbled on part of a piece of paper, which is then folded over and passed to the next player, who adds their own contribution without seeing what came before. This process continues until the paper is full; it is then unfolded and the poem, or drawing, revealed. Necessarily disjunctive, the results were happy with accidents, and in addition to being a goad to general creativity, often served as realized works of art in their own right.

HILOBROW has asked its AiRs to play this game, but, in a reflection of our more mediated age, has not limited them to pencil and paper, nor to text and lines. The results of this game will inaugurate each virtual residency.


Low Priority Hero is an audio graphic novel by Chris Rossi; an LA Noir of hard shadows and ambiguous light.

The photographs are from Vijay Balakrishnan’s ongoing photographic dérives, at once eloquently personal, and stochastically urban: New York considering, through a soft cell of self.

The pieces were created independently of each other, and concern different histories, different cities, different voices, and different lives. Each narrative stands alone, even as it fragments and hints at multiples. But in the lively spirit of disjunctive combination that, not coincidentally, forms our asynthetic pHiLosophical core, HiLobrow invites you to consider them, together.


Exquisite Corpse #1

[Chris Rossi, writing, sound, vocals; Vijay Balakrishnan, photography; Peggy Nelson, editing. Photographs in order of appearance: bumper, rescue me, martyr, sexy time, knight, fdny 11, squiggle in the head, emergency, stalled, books and fruit. Created for HILOBROW’s artist-in-residence challenge, January, 2012.]


HILOBROW’s Artist-in-residence archive.


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