Mental Contagion – Exquisite Corpse pt. 2

[blogpost by Rachel]

In which Inky were still on an away day, added cheesecake to the mix, and continued to try to jumpstart their brains.



Otherwise Fingers

Maybe if otherwise not the same as

Then the which way sometimes might but when

It happens and it happens it does

But not in this universe

We have always been picky

Pink fat fingers tipped, edge out to the world

To grasp in their grip, the whole of your finger

And your fingers are the starfish of the night.



The clock smiled at the fireplace and began to stroke her hair

She ticked with pleasure and the coals sighed.

The cat coughed, the dog didn’t

And I still wonder ‘Which animal are you?’

Parakeet, kookarburra, lemur or kangaroo?

A description of all your family and you!

My own family, I should not like to discuss in public *taps side of nose*

Instead, I will ridicule them on paper.


How A Bunny Got To The Plains

The crabbit rabbit hopped along.

While hopping she sang a merry song.

She smiled too much, though, and so the song

Began to dawdle sideways through the smog.

Looming in and out of the pollution

Green clouds growled and hid the sun

But the moon is somewhere near.

Emus sang to ostriches, and we all lay down

on the Masai Mara as one.


Recipe For Writerly Types

To be productive, always start with cake.

Then, continue with two spoonfuls of self forgiveness.

Mix well. Mix with tonguey arsenic, add a peach

And shake until the shaking is done and you are calm.

The codeine is always better than brufen

[The writing gets worse and worse]

We blew our noses on blank pages, snotted sputum out of ink

And wrote the world in our own juices.


Among Surrealist techniques exploiting the mystique of accident was a kind of collective collage of words or images called the cadavre exquis (exquisite corpse). Based on an old parlor game, it was played by several people, each of whom would write a phrase on a sheet of paper, fold the paper to conceal part of it, and pass it on to the next player for his contribution.

The technique got its name from results obtained in initial playing, “Le cadavre / exquis / boira / le vin / nouveau” (The exquisite corpse will drink the young wine). Other examples are: “The dormitory of friable little girls puts the odious box right” and “The Senegal oyster will eat the tricolor bread.” These poetic fragments were felt to reveal what Nicolas Calas characterized as the “unconscious reality in the personality of the group” resulting from a process of what Ernst called “mental contagion.”

At the same time, they represented the transposition of Lautréamont’s classic verbal collage to a collective level, in effect fulfilling his injunction– frequently cited in Surrealist texts–that “poetry must be made by all and not by one.” It was natural that such oracular truths should be similarly sought through images, and the game was immediately adapted to drawing, producing a series of hybrids the first reproductions of which are to be found in No. 9-10 of La Révolution surrealiste (October, 1927) without identification of their creators. The game was adapted to the possibilities of drawing, and even collage, by assigning a section of a body to each player, though the Surrealist principle of metaphoric displacement led to images that only vaguely resembled the human form. 

Source: “Dada & Surrealist Art,” by William S. Rubin