DRINK THE NEW WINE | Exquisite Dialogue

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The Exquisite Corpse is an 80-year-old game created by French Surrealists that evolved from a parlor game called Consequences. It is designed to be played by three or more people sitting around a table. The first player writes down a word and folds the paper so his nosy neighbor can’t see what has been written. The second player adds a word to it, the third, another—each without seeing the texts written before his or her own. On the first round, the words are to be adjectives, on the second round, nouns, the third, verbs, and so on. Finally, the paper is unfolded and the sentences are read aloud. The game took its name from a favorite sentence created in this way by the Surrealists: “The exquisite corpse drinks the new wine.”

Exquisite Dialogue

Forefronting dialogue between artists, sites, and audiences has always been central to Creative Time’s mission, and the artists we’re working with this season have taken it to new heights. Matthew Buckingham presented a soothing voiceover in his film screened on a water taxi, telling the devastating tale of the exploration of the Hudson River. David Bryne retrofits an old organ to give voice to the magnificent, disused Battery Maritime Building. An incredibly diverse group of artists, performers, and musicians redefine how we exhibit the voice in Hey Hey Glossolalia, and this summer we continue our national commissions, traveling across the country with artists using their voices to ignite participation and interrogate the roots of democracy. Then we bring it home to New York City this September, where many artists will continue the dialogue at Creative Time’s Democracy Convergence Center.

As we contemplated how to announce Creative Time’s projects this season—a tremendous range of work exploring dialogue and sound—we thought: Why not let the artists speak for themselves? Or better yet, have these brilliant artists speak to each other and listen in on their conversations! So with a nod to The Exquisite Corpse, we’ve brought together the amazing voices and ideas of Malcolm McLaren, David Byrne, Matthew Buckingham, Sharon Hayes, Mark Tribe, Susanne Oberbeck, Genesis P-Orridge, and Mika Rottenberg through a series of short conversations linked in a continuous chain. Here’s how it worked: the artists engaged in a volley of two to three e-mail correspondences with each of two other artists we matched them with. Each artist instigated one conversation and was on the receiving end for the other. They were each provided with brief information on their partners’ recent work and upcoming projects with Creative Time, but were encouraged to talk about anything of interest—related or unrelated to their projects, and from the politically important to the scandalous. As you’ll soon read, they all took this to heart, and the conversations touch on the ideas that inspired their work, politics, sex, music, and even the sausages in Basel.

Some of the artists are participating in projects together or have known each other for years, and some had never met and investigated each other’s work for the first time. All are creative risk-takers, reinventing genres and challenging preconceived notions of what an exhibition, lecture, or installation can be. All made us want to be a fly on the wall.

So get comfortable and pour yourself a glass of wine. You are cordially invited to eavesdrop and get to know our family of artists. And you thought your family was...um, interesting!

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