Creative Global Network for the Visual Arts

By Claudia Corrieri

I've never wanted to become familiar with Soho’s geography. So instead, I've often been taken by the hand and led by those who stealthily navigate the labyrinthine and later, spellbound and foggy, I've always enjoyed the play of feeling foreign amongst the neon-radiating hubbub. The 16mm Soho Café was a fitting venue, therefore, for the premier screening in London of the Exquisite Corpse Video Project, volume 1, a frenetic dialogue of short films disorientatingly stitched together to compose 'corpses'. The ECVP, as they call it, was the result of cyberspace chatter amongst 37 ArtReview network members, who all eagerly committed to the same speedy rules of creative engagement. Inspired by the classic Surrealist parlour game, whereby a quadrant of paper is marked and folded, concealing the partial drawing as secret before slipping it to the next participant, the ECVP employed the ritual of the cadavre exquis as each member created a minute’s worth of film, ten seconds of which was then sent to the next anticipating artist. Beneath the smile of speed dating theatrics, the 'realpolitik' of such collaboration seems to exist as a Surrealist subversion of the cliché, and in this case, ubiquitous social networking.

The production recipe for the work was relatively controlled by descriptive factors such as the Internet as choice of art transportation. It was the risk of chance encounter and this element of improvisation, however, which introduced sharp little electric-sparks of discursive performativity to the experiment. Snuggled into the 16-seater screening room, so fleeting were the individual clips that gurgled and splattered, they were more akin to moving stills. The most memorable of these moments were pauses of simplicity in amongst the enjoyably cross-cultural crazy. Michael Chang's addition to CORPSE#2 hushed the pace with muffled white noise of Super 8 footage, as that seemingly belonging to the cosy quiet of a womb. Filmed as if the camera was impregnated into the cave of a mother's belly, gentle sweeps of calligraphy lettered a language to her taught skin that the viewer – as foetus – was unable to decipher. Deconstructing a pictorial depth, Joy Whalen's CORPSE#3 cracked flashes of fluorescent pink across a stark projection space, literally colouring the digital surface with crumbly paint pigment. With each blink it got a little pinker, such was the magic power of the viewer as painter.

It was not the individually produced minutes that enabled the work to truly hum however, but rather the democracy of participation ensuring an edit process was relinquished, along with individual authorship. The most entertaining and self-critical corpse, perhaps accidentally then, was the sixth corpse. A really quite gross close-up of heavy petting where tongues squished together like slabs of wet meat, slipped into footage of a yellow slug meandering its way from one side of the frame to the other, to the tune of folk banjo. Likewise, but less stylistically slick, a butch animated character crashes into an otherwise romantically veiled dreamscape, and snogs one of the women. A funny reference to the faceless, dateless – you can have my artwork to play with – endeavour.

The pulsing energy of this self-organised operation was refreshing, as freed by the plurality of possibilities set in motion through collaboration, each member manages to exit a framed identity and successfully positions the work in a continual process of becoming rather than being. Together, the ECVP members envisage and successfully comment upon a further possibility of art making.

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Thank you Claudia, for this very interesting review. Our birth was here in Artreview, so it is special to have this dialog. The site really allowed us to become a community also out in the "real" world. That is actually what makes this project very dear to me - we became an international community of artists who exchange ideas and work in several projects and partnerships, and all started with the ECVP, which is still an ongoing project.
Also big thanks to Alicia Felberbaum, who not only organized the London screening, but also edited the book on the first volume of the project. This book is the most wonderful registration we could have and it documents how the project was born, and the feeling and talks we had at the time.
The book can be previewed here: http://www.blurb.com/books/1139430
Thanks Claudia and Petra for coming to the Soho screening. I am glad the book about ECVP vol 1 has been helpful as a source for reminding you of visuals and gave you a background on the whole project to write this review. Artreview provided us with the forum to start our project. Here the Internet showed the potential to become a powerful and democratic medium (when available) to be used for a creative artistic global collaborative work.

We work in collaboration, but the project still offers the artists to maintain their own artistic voice and input in the whole project. This group of artists have their own individual work and career outside the project itself. Some of them come from different background other than video, their personal work involves different disciplines in the Arts: visual art, theatre, 3d animation, film, documentary, interactive projects, performing, photography, music, painting and poetry. At the same time some of the artists collaborate with musicians for their own segment in the ECVP.

As a whole this is a very complex project with numerous facets and enormous vitality. " I loved the energy and dynamic of the project - very open, poetic and forward looking." Maurice van Valen, art curator.

I would like also to thank Braziliality and Alicia Bastos for offering the space to help to promote our project. It was very important for me to have the opportunity to show the work in London and have the direct feedback from the audience, who gave us a very encouraging response. In this occasion several of the artists were present adding to the whole experience.

I would like also to add my thanks to our coordinator, Kika Nicolela, and to all the other members that have made an extra effort on their input and as a result making this project so special.

Alicia Felberbaum
Thanks for this Claudia, I think you really hit the nail on the head when you write: "It was not the individually produced minutes that enabled the work to truly hum however, but rather the democracy of participation ensuring an edit process was relinquished, along with individual authorship." To echo Marty's sentiments above, participating in this project has been meaningful and influential, and has led to several other "corpse" projects, each with their own parameters, and "IRL" friendships. And, yes, many thanks to Artreview.com for providing the forum, to Kika for her tireless dedication, and to all friends/participants.

Here is a roll call of artists and countries represented in Volume I: Ambuja Magaji (India), Kika Nicolela (Brazil), Joshua & Zachary Sandler (USA) (USA), Simone Stoll (Germany), John Pirard (Belgium), Niclas Hallberg (Sweden), Anders Weberg (Sweden), Michael Chang (Denmark), Alison Williams (South Africa), Stina Pehrsdotter (Sweden), Per E. Riksson (Sweden), Joy Whalen (USA), Ulf Kristiansen (Norway), Hélène Abram (France), Brad Wise (USA), Ronee Hui (England), Lucas Bambozzi (Brazil), Kai Lossgott (South Africa), Alberto Guerreiro (Portugal), Dellani Lima (Brazil), Alicia Felberbaum (England), Jan Kather (USA), Arthur Tuoto (Brazil), Nung‐Hsin Hu (Taiwan), Renata Padovan (Brazil), Tim Pickerill (USA), Romuald Beugnon (France), Hans Manner‐Jakobsen (Denmark), Christian Leduc (Canada), Caroline Breton (France), Jan Hakon Erichsen (Norway), Pila Rusjan (Slovenia), Alexandra Buhl (Denmark), Pedro Reis (Portugal), Mads Ljungdahl (Denmark)
Whorrr, feel the love.
Whoa, how did that happen? *ahem* Sorry about that, my man. *kaf* *kaf* :)

And YES Alicia and Jan's is beautiful to behold in print.

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