Exquisite Corpse Translated for Open Source

Exquisite Corpse Translated for Open Source

A Surrealist approach informs the process of open software and coding.

Lisa Baldini
  • 17 february 2010

We often talk about how collaboration can bring about the best of ideas. How to negotiate during a collaborative project is always a point of contention–it’s the make or break side of collaborating. However, the Surrealists may have been on to something when they invented Exquisite Corpse – a method by which a collection of words or images is collectively assembled – for it can often unleash creativity by forgoing the pressures of creating a finished product and allowing for teams of people to become comfortable with one another.

In our tech drenched world, collaborating on an image with pencil and paper is now translated into open source software. Which is precisely where London’s E:vent Gallery takes as starting pointing with the exquisite_code exhibition. From February 15th through February 19th, artists, writers and coders will write a narrative through code with a little catch as E:vent further explains:

Eight international writers will work eight hours a day for five days generating text-prompts, text and edit-software in unrelenting micro-sessions to create a cadaverous exquisite_code life-novel . Text will be produced in response to prompts conspired by the writers at the end of each session. But only after bespoke edit-software has wormed its way through it, cutting, chewing and spitting gobbets of their text into a dump from which the life-novel will be elaborated. This edit-worm is itself interrogated and re-written in scheduled code writing sprints by the writers. At all times all participants are available for public scrutiny and interaction, and all writing will be on live display whilst continuously extruded as hardcopy from line printers.

On Saturday, February 20th, a launch party for the final book will be held at the gallery. Further details on how it will work are below in the sketch.



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