Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Week 44: The Moving Map

   The book-the-week for week 44 is titled The Moving Map. This tiny collaborative story is written using the exquisite corpse writing prompt method. The term exquisite corpse refers to a collection of words or images which are assembled from separate entities to create a whole. In this writing exercise, a new writer created each successive page by using only their imagination and the preceding story line of the pages before it. With this type of story telling, there is no guarantee that the end will turn out as the initiator expected. It is a collaboration with passive influence of the separate writers. Six other writers contributed to The Moving Map... Michelle, Deb, Kim, Hie Yun, Sang Yun,  and Melissa. This artist provided the title and last page.

the handwritten title on the cover
   The book was handwritten in pencil, marker, and pen on a sheet of 80 weight drawing paper. The paper was folded and cut so it could be folded into an 8-page soft cover  booklet.

flat... with a slit inside
opening and unfolding

Each writer had one minute to write the content of their page before they passed the book on to the next person. Illustrations were permissible too. This is the story of The Moving Map...

page 1

page 2

page 3

page 4

page 5

page 6

last page
   Historically, the term exquisite corpse was created as a parlor game by surrealist artists living in Paris in the first half of the 1900's. The most famous of these artists included André Breton, Yves Tanguy, Marcel Duchamp, Jacques Prévert, Benjamin Péret, Joan Miró, and Man Ray. In the game, one person drew an image on a piece of paper then hid all or part of the drawing while the next person drew an image connected to it... and so on until an assemblage of imagery was produced. In writing, a similar result was achieved with words and phrases. The surrealists used the exquisite corpse form to prove the notion that randomness can play a role in creating meaningful art.

André Breton, Jacqueline Lamba, Yves Tanguy, Exquisite Corpse 1938

  Prior to this, the idea was used in children's books with the pages cut into sections. For instance, the top sections showing the head of a person or animal, the middle sections the torso, and the bottom sections the legs or lower parts. In these ineractive books, children could mix and match the images by turning the page sections to create odd and silly looking characters or story lines.

William Grimaldi, In The Toliet (1821)
On a more serious note, the first exquisite corpse may have been the flap-page anatomy book Catoptrum microcosmicum by Johann Remmelin (1583-1632). In this book, the detailed drawings of human anatomy were drawn from the corpse's of deceased subjects... the real exquisite corpse.

Whether The Moving Map is a collection of places in a dream, body parts, random images, or words... it is connected by the interaction of the people who experience it... as are all books.

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