WORDS: RUBY LANET ('18), STAFF WRITER.
IMAGE: GABE GORDON ('15), CONTRIBUTOR.
As one who is often discouraged and saddened by our hefty reliance on the Internet, I am always thrilled when artists use the web to communicate, collaborate, and critique. Exquisite Corpse, an exhibit curated by Sophia Jennings (Wesleyan ’16), KT Lee (Columbia ’16), and Joe Bucciero (Columbia ’15), is a perfect example of that heartening process.
Three weeks in to this semester, 20 Wesleyan students were assigned partners at Columbia to spend a month creating a piece of visual, literary, audio, or video work. All over email. Beginning with the Wesleyan artists, each partner made a section then sent the last inch/measure/seconds to their partner.
Given a week for each section, the artists sent their work back between 3-5 times depending on the medium. “I had to be really brave with my imagination,” explains playwright Margaret Curtis (‘16), “and basically forget everything I’d written, focusing only on the lines I was given back.”
The whole exhibit is grounded in how art is made via the Internet. “How we create today is so closely tied to what we can see online,” Jennings explained. Lee, the Columbia curator, is satisfied with how Exquisite Corpse creates a variation of the childhood game.“Through online interactions and the digitizing of physical media, we’re changing how the game is played,” she told me from a subway stop in NY, “ and how the artists relate to their work and each other.”
Lee and Jennings met as freshman at the American School in London. There, as co-editors of the high school art magazine, they found themselves reliant on email, Facebook, and Skype during breaks. “I’d be visiting my grandparents in San Francisco and wake up to Skype KT visiting hers in Seoul,” Jennings explains.
This summer, both curators were in NYC. “KT approached me about the project and it just sorta made sense,” Jennings admits. By putting on the show, the curators hope to raise questions about what it means to experience “content” versus “art,” and how experiencing written, visual, and audio work online without any knowledge of the artist might affect our interpretations. Regardless, I’m excited.
Exquisite Corpse opens October 24th at Postcrypt Art Gallery on Columbia’s campus. Next week, the show comes to Wesleyan's Zilka South Gallery from October 31st to November 2nd.