New Emergences and iii present: The Exquisite Corpse – Recomposing The Body

November 22, 2019
Entrance: Sliding scale €5 – €10

New Emergences will commission a new graphic score/live performance that researches: the Exquisite Corpse game techniques for sound, texts, movement and images; the concept of the (in)human body through Butoh philosophy, and the concept of Degendering. The work engages and explores the themes of chance, acceptance, body differences, reflection, self-identity, and androgyny as alien or ideal.

The idea of the Exquisite Corpse was a counter-narrative to the notion of the ideal body, constructed by the rise of 18th century thought in both aesthetics and science. The term Cadavre Exquis (Exquisite Corpse) was a collaborative game technique, invented in the early 20th Century by Surrealists André Breton and Paul Eluard. The game assembled words – composed sequentially by simple rules, or by only seeing the ends of the previous contribution – and later, assembled graphics. As the concept of “female” and the “male” were being reconciled, the Androgyne became the personification of the ideal.

The Exquisite Corpse bears resemblance to the way Japanese Butoh presents the (in)human body. Both movement/art-forms emerged as an artistic response to the physical and psychological traumas of the World Wars. The devastated physical traumas necessitated the advancement of prostheses which replaced missing limbs; masks which re-structured facial injuries; and the phantom limb syndrome.

For the Surrealists and for Butoh, the body served as a visceral site for confronting its materiality, its fragmentation, and its re-suturing into new forms. These new forms paved the way for deeper perceptions of ourselves, our culture and our corporeality.

Degendering is a term proposed by the Australian sociologist R.W. Connell In her book Masculinities (1993 / 2005). The strategy of “degendering” should act as a means for social justice in gender relations, and a means to free the association of gender referencing on the body itself, as well as to the levels of culture and institutions.

Would such a strategy – towards cultural and bodily re-arrangement – be related to the Exquisite Corpse and its explorations of the understanding of acceptance in the realm of chance, and (textual and corporeal) difference? And can such game techniques (as employed by Cadavre Exquis) help in the notion of unity in current social times?


Sato Endo (NL)
Choreographer, performer, dancer using contemporary dance with Butoh influences. documentation

Emily Fong (UK)
Visual Artist
Passionate about interconnectivity and the structures of life itself, Emily is an artist on an active search for beauty and equilibrium. Through the mediums of drawing, painting, sculpture and writing, she seeks to examine the embodiment of emotion and the experience of living in a human container with the aim of highlighting our similarities not only to one another but also to other species that occupy the same planet.  Her intuition is that by going deep inside life, turning inside out, she might discover new ways of observing and re-configuring the outside.

New Emergences team members, all composer performers:
Dan Gibson //
Anne Wellmer //
Semay Wu //