Night Of The Exquisite Corpse Brings Creativity To Life | WGLT

Night Of The Exquisite Corpse Brings Creativity To Life

Aug 31, 2017

What at first sounds like a zombie attack is actually a chance for the whole family to get creative with a parlor game that's been around for over 100 years.

September's edition of the Downtown Bloomington Association's First Friday is The Night of the Exquisite Corpse. Yes, this sounds like something Roger Corman would have cooked up to horrify the denizens of Bloomington-Normal, but actually it's a fun and creative parlor game that dates back to the Victorians, according to event organizer Brian Simpson.

"There's two aspects of the game—a visual and a literary. The visual aspect is that you take a piece of paper and you fold it into thirds, and one person draws a head, without anybody else knowing what they've drawn. Then they fold it over, leaving a couple of lines as a hint, and someone else draws the body. Then they do the same and the next person draws the legs."

In the early 20th century, the surrealists took to the game.

"The surrealists would consider it a combination of unconscious thoughts," explained Simpson. "It's individual thoughts that come together to form a whole when you fold it out and you got a different head, body and feet. And the surrealists would do this all through the night."

The literary aspect of the game involves one person coming up with an article and a noun, the next person comes up with a verb and an adjective and then someone comes up with a direct object. They're put together to form a sentence.  "It's like Mad Libs," laughed Simpson.

Simpson added that the Exquisite Corpse game is to not only draw folks into downtown Bloomington to see the artists in their studios and galleries, but also give people a chance to get creative.  Several of the local galleries are hosting opportunities for people to either watch professional artists create an exquisite corpse, or attendees will become artists themselves to make their own to take with them.

First Friday runs from 5-8 p.m. this Friday throughout downtown Bloomington.

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