Assignment: “Exquisite corpse” is a parlor game that the Surrealists developed in 1925. In this game, each player submits images (drawings, paintings, photographs) of heads, torsos, and legs, and they are combined to produce surprising new bodies.
I struggled for a week with this assignment. After seeing it at cherylcolan’s site (her corpse here), I was impressed by the exercise and wondered in the back of my mind what images and symbols I would include in my own exquisite corpse if I were to make one. So, already duly impressed, when our TA spent part of one day’s lecture demonstrating how to do it live, I began searching for images immediately (using Bulkr, actually–that program has been very useful!).
Unfortunately, the first two or three attempts failed miserably. Not only was I overwhelmed by the artistic portion (that is, how to create an decent image), but I was also a little staggered by the amount of work I could see it would take. I didn’t have nearly as much energy in the second week as I did in the first. But like every ds106 assignment that asks a lot of me, I ultimately felt incredibly proud and satisfied by the result.
Most of the photos did not come from my own stock; only the face, legs, and the photo of my dog belong to me. I ended up using the pen tool on almost everything in order to remove parts of whichever original photograph I was using. I love the pen tool. By the end of the summer, I think I’m going to be proposing to it.
I found a picture of a skeleton and expanded the cranium to symbolize how most of my life, most of what I do is spent using my head. I’m a student, a writer, a reader, my job isn’t manual labor… and candy is always on my mind. The torso I altered using Photoshop’s mosaic filter, which gave me an effect that I absolutely love. I have a fondness for chameleons–mostly what they symbolize rather than the lizards themselves–and the filter not only accentuated some beautiful colors, but also made my skin look reptilian.
The split pineapple encapsulating the things closest to my heart (my family and boyfriend) is one of my favorite parts. I’ve been told I’m a bit like a pineapple. I can be prickly and have some difficult layers to get through before you find that I’ve got a very sweet and special place for those I love. To make my pineapple heart red, I edited it in a separate window, and created a new layer that I used paint bucket to fill with red. Then I screened the layer to kind of dye the fruit its color.
I don’t want to give every bit of symbolism away, since it’s fun to interpret some things on your own, so the last bit I’ll go over is the dog in the lower right corner. That’s Lucy, my favorite of the pair of Australian terriers that my family had, and with whom I grew up. This was a picture I took during the last year or so of her life, when I had finally realized that our time together was limited. I spent more time with her those last few years than ever before, and learned a lot about love, aging, loss, joy, and death before she passed. Somehow I still feel she’s always at my heels. So that’s where she is in this picture, too.