Exquisite Corpse

We are making LUV. We are doing it very slowly, and in various positions. Making it up as we go. By making an exhibition such as EXQUISITE CORPSE, we offer an intermediary service to art institutions desiring their socially-engaged exhibits to come from deep dialogues with frontline activists on the themes of HIV & Stigma and in this way, it is also a feedback loop. Something we are listening to. In an epic saga to unearth HIV-related stigmas, EXQUISITE CORPSE mounts a new front.

In February 2020 (just before COVID-19 eclipsed everything), the LUV working group met up with designer / installation author, Jakub Szczęsny in NYC to tailor EXQUISITE CORPSE expography to the first 15-20 artists featured in a traveling show on HIV and related stigmas. We envision that EXQUISITE CORPSE will evolve from location to location. Szczęsny’s exhibition spaces can be combined to fit the needs of new artists joining the show as well as a range of different host venues. Some of Jakub’s original drawings are used in the site design by Paula Nishijima. 

While EXQUISITE CORPSE is a physical event and local happenings in a post-COVID world, we are presently tinkering with the knobs and levers (e.g. curatorial texts, expography scales, community partners and public programmes) while establishing an online presence. For example, Brad Walrond has authored a LOGO POEM that will morph with each new location, and conjured visual BIOGRAMS, which will be used to identify artist works and embedded into Szczęsny’s portable wall and case designs. Additionally Walrond is developing Every Where Alien: poetics + pandemics, a Quarterly virtual publishing and performance platform that takes seriously the role of word, voice, ideas, and semiotics in framing how pandemics like HIV and Covid-19 root themselves in cultural landscapes. And, as COVID-19 yet looms, we strive to find new ways to create connections and make LUV online.  

Exquisite corpse is a surrealist technique.

Exquisite corpse is a method by which a collection of words or images is collectively assembled.  (Wiki)

Exquisite corpse is a game in which each participant takes turns writing or drawing on a sheet of paper, folding it to conceal his or her contribution, and then passing it to the next player for a further contribution. The game gained popularity in artistic circles during the 1920s when it was adopted as a technique by artists of the Surrealist movement to generate collaborative compositions.  (MoMA)




Every Where Alien: poetics + pandemics (w/ Brad Walrond) is conceived as a Quarterly virtual publishing and performance platform that takes seriously the role of word, voice, ideas, and semiotics in framing how pandemics like HIV and Covid-19 root themselves in cultural landscapes. We will curate a quarterly open mic that features the written and performance work of artists, poets, critical thinkers. Open mic will be a mix of performance and interview as we engage contributor works and ideas in context to the current and historical events delimited by a focus on our anticipated changing theme.

race: dna of disparities and underlying conditions
health disparities and co-morbidities are not new; pandemics do however paint these systemic, pervasive, life altering inequalities into bold relief while confronting publics, old and new, with urgent and visceral political and moral imperatives. Through the voices of keen HIV/AIDS artivists and organizers whose lifework and cultural contributions make way for many of the artivist spaces global creative and activist communities have come to occupy we hope to give an airing to these lived and living histories and hold these in conversation with contemporary voices and movements. In the American context COVID-19 lays bare how these disparities structure around world historical organizing principles like race and white supremacy. The focus here hopes to hold the emergent themes surrounding this new pandemic in conversation with that of HIV/AIDS in the American and global contexts. [Other Countries, Colin Robinson]

desire: the 3-D & the geosocial
pandemics invariably change how humans weigh the temporary and long-term risk of all things conjugal. We explore here how cultures mitigate the sex, sex work, sexual acts, gender and sexual identities, and norms attendant to desire against the imagined and real-life risks of transmission, illness, and death. We insist on being a venue that centers the voices of all bodies, gender and sex expansive identities and communities. By zooming in on desire and each its tidy and untidy formulations we hope to place how bodies find themselves and each other in virtual and 3-D spaces in conversation with public and political norms contending with the new moralities pandemic induce.

poli-cliques: political and culture war
pandemics cleave to society’s fissures and boundaries and twist them into novel, sometimes malignant nodes. The terror associated with disease, risk, exposure, and transmission grab hold of our penchant for tribal identification and induce anticipatable and unexpected realignments. The social media age amplifies and catalyzes this reconfiguring perhaps like no other time in human history. Poetics + pandemics hopes to foster the promotion of art and activism that give voice to this murky and fraught cross section of public health, politics, and culture.

poisoned pill: science and myth
pandemics create new worlds out of our collective and individual imaginations. These new terroirs are rife with opportunities to spur scientific and cultural innovation. They also fill with new corrosive incentives to aggrandize and succumb to our darkest fears and genocidal inclinations. Poetics + pandemics hopes to explore how the life of the mind push and pull societies across the beautiful and brutal provinces of science, myth, and future-making.