The Exquisite Corpse

THE EXQUISITE CORPSE (segment)(1992, 16mm, 3mins, B&W)

The year after I completed Incident at Pickerel Fillet, I was working as an administrator at Video Pool, an artist-run co-operative in Winnipeg, when I was suddenly presented with an opportunity to make my second short film. A group of filmmakers and artists under the leadership of Pierre and Dean Naday had undertaken a group project based on an old surrealist game. The original idea was that each artist would contribute to a single drawing without knowing what previous artists had drawn, resulting in some phantasmagorical figure – an “exquisite corpse”. In this case, they were adapting the idea to film: each filmmaker was to contribute a 2-3 minute segment about whatever subject they wanted, in whatever style they chose, the only stipulation being that each had to start on an image of a particular body part, and end on another body part which would lead to the next segment, the parts having been chosen at random in a draw. Quite late in the production, one of the filmmakers dropped out, leaving a “hole” in second place and the producers had to scramble to find a replacement. They approached me and I quickly came up with an idea which the group then approved; arrangements were made; I shot the piece in two days (luckily the weather was fine that weekend) and completed the editing about three weeks after I had first been approached to join the project. When The Exquisite Corpse was accepted by the 1992 Toronto Film Festival (known then as the Festival of Festivals), I joined several of the other filmmakers in attending (my first film festival since Hong Kong in 1981, and the first as a participant rather than a film-goer).

Festivals:   Festival of Festivals, Toronto; Atlantic Film Festival, Halifax; Watershed Media Trust, Bristol, England, southwest tour; Innovations ’93 Manchester Experimental Film Festival; MayFest, Glasgow