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Exquisite Corpse Stories - Surrealist writing in the classroom
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honoriartist
ExquisiteCorpse106MR14a

Teaching Texture through Surrealism

Objectives
To use texture as part of a narrative strategy.
To creatively integrate diverse design elements into a whole design.
To translate unexpected visual information into structured narrative.

Introduction
I showed examples of historic and contemporary surrealism in Design Fundamentals today.

As an activity we created 3-part exquisite corpse drawings.

Instructions
Exquiste Corpse  Drawing

Pass out paper and have students fold their sheet into trifold
Draw head on top fold with little bits of neck showing on middle section.
Trade papers with another student but don't show them the head.
Student draws the body in the middle not knowing what the head is.
Students trade papers again not showing the head or body.
Third student draws lower portion of creature, such as feet, tail, tentacles...
Open drawings.

TEXTURE
Take creature drawings around the school and outside to "rub" texture onto them using soft pencils or color pencils.

OPTIONAL:  Writing
Ask students to arrange the drawings on a grid and number each creature left to right 1 - N drawings.
Students make up the story of any 2 of these characters interacting.
Write minimum of three sentences...beginning, middle, end.
It turned out to be a lively writing assignment.

Here is Jessica S's story:

The day after the horrible tsunami, under the sea, two sea folk names four and seven bumped into each other.  They were mortal enemies based on their species, four was a whale and seven was a shark.  But seven was a gentle shark who enjoyed coloring his fins to express his fun personality. And four was a weight-lifting whale who was mean and ferocious despite his bizarre frog face.  Instead of the shark trying to eat the whale, the whale tried to beat up the shark because he didn't like the color of his fins.

Here is Josh L's story:

Number 2 and Number 8. The zombie mermaid was swimming along when a long robot snake squid wrapped its scale-covered body around her.  With weak skeleton arms the zombie mermaid can't escape the tentacles of the robot snake squid.

Here's Christina A's story:

When 2 Met 5
Beginning: They meet at a tele-creature convention.
Middle: They get into an argument about whose hybrid "look" is more awesome.
End: They fight but end up electrocuting each other.

Teacher's reflection
This is a well-rounded activity that helps students to integrate visual story-telling with verbal storytelling.
Since many of my students are in the Media Arts and Animation and Game Art departments, they will be working with visual storytelling as professionals.  Telling students how this fun activity is actually a structure that they will experience professionally is important.  The parallel is between teamwork, professional brainstorming, then focusing the best ideas into narratives.

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