Exquisite Corpse

The Exquisite Corpse > recomposing the body

performance & talk
with Joan Dee, Sato Endo, Emily Fong, Dan Gibson, Mariette Groot, Fani Konstantinidou, Marianna Maruyama, Anne Wellmer, Semay Wu

New Emergences presents a new commission, working with sound, image, text and movement. The composition will be inspired by the game known from the Surrealist art movement, where a completely new body is built out of separately drawn parts. Four musicians, a visual artist and a performance artist will enter the game, and generate a score in real-time, exploring the discrepancies and frictions between our relationship to our bodies and society’s ideal norms.

Friday, November 22, 2019 at 20:00 – preview and feedback session
iii Workspace – Willem Dreespark 312, 2531SX The Hague, Netherlands

Saturday, November 23, 2019 at 19:30–22:00 – premiere and talk
Splendor – Nieuwe Uilenburgerstraat 116, 1011 LX Amsterdam

The Ideal Body

The Cadavre Exquis (Exquisite Corpse) was a counter-narrative to the notion of the ideal body that resulted from the rise of 18th century thought in both aesthetics and science. Explored as a collaborative game technique, it was invented in the early 20th Century by Surrealists André Breton and Paul Eluard. The game assembled words, composed sequentially bysimple rules, or randomly, by only seeing the ends of the previous contribution. Later on, drawings/graphics were introduced.

As the concepts of “female” and “male” were beginning to reconcile again, the Androgyne came to become the personification of the ideal. In later years, the Australian sociologist R.W. Connell, in her book Masculinities (1993 / 2005): Degendering, presented a strategy of “degendering” as a means for social justice in gender relations, and/or to free the association of gender-referencing on the body itself, and further to the level of culture and institutions.

When we compare Surrealism to Japanese Butoh, both movement/art-forms emerged as an artistic response to the physical and psychological traumas of the World Wars. Physical trauma necessitated the advancement of prostheses which replaced missing limbs; masks which re-structured facial injuries; and the phantom limb syndrome. For both, 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.


Artistic Director: Semay Wu – composer, cellist, sound artist
Technical Director: Dan Gibson
– sound artist, instrument builder & designer
New Instrument Concept, Coding & Build:
Semay Wu and Dan Gibson

Sato Endo – choreographer, performance artist
Emily Fong – visual artist
Dan Gibson – sound artist, instrument designer
Fani Konstantinidou – composer, sound artist, music researcher
Anne Wellmer – composer, performer, media artist
Semay Wu – composer, cellist, sound artist

Two Days

This live generated score will be developed at iii Workspace, and presented to the audience for the first time, as a pre-premiere, on Friday 22 November.
The performance will be premiered at Splendor in Amsterdam on Saturday 23 November, combined with a panel discussion between makers, artists, thinkers and audience, to explore the themes of chance, acceptance, body differences, reflection, self-identity, and androgyny as alien or ideal.


Emily Fongvisual artist
Marianna Maruyama
– artist working with the body, voice and language.
Joan Dee
– body modification artist
moderator – Mariette Groot

About Emily Fong (UK):

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.

Emily Fong (photo by Sinclair Cunningham)

About Sato Endo (JP/NL):

Sato Endo plays with the relation between the body and its surroundings. While the space contains the body, the felt space lives inside the body. Sato seeks to transform demarcation between the two, for example by merging the body and projected images in various ways, or by researching how to animate an object or a still image using movement. Memory and perception plays a role in the process. Body is a site where outside folds in and inside unfolds. Motivated by this interest, some of her works are performed every time on various locations indoor and outdoor, developing into a flexible format that is site responsive, integrating new contents generated by each location.

Sato Endo (photo by Takashi Kubo)

About Joan Dee (NL):

Joan Dee’s medium basically, is the skin. Whether it is about suspension performances (where a person hangs by hooks through the skin), or about modifications on the surface of the skin, her interest is, via experiment, what the body can do, to itself, to the mind, to others. Stretching the skin relates to the stretched inbetweenness of one’s carnality, between body and mind, organic and inorganic.
It is tempting to connect this idea of skin to that of film, the celluloid carrier of information. And indeed Joan has been involved with that material as well, which may be proven by the Super 8 film Oslo Suscon 2011 she made with the help of the Filmwerkplaats at WORM, Rotterdam.

Joan Dee

About Marianna Maruyama (NL):

Marianna Maruyama works with the body and voice as primary agents in her practice. She uses translation as an artistic method to reveal the complexity of multilingualism, interpreted to encompass not only verbal language, but also culture, image, sound, and movement. She has tutored at the Dutch Art Institute, guest lectured at The Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam, and is an artist-researcher at the invitation of the Sedje Hémon Foundation in The Hague. Recent exhibitions and performances include: Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (NL), The Jewish Historical Museum Amsterdam (NL), The Deep Splash (LT), Manifesta 11 (CH), and documenta14 Parliament of Bodies (DE).

Marianna Maruyama (photo by Marianna Maruyama)

. . .

The Exquisite Corpse was curated by Semay Wu and Mariëtte Groot. It is New Emergences event no.20

The event has been kindly supported by Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie, the Konrad Boehmer Foundation and by iii in Den Haag.

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