Noxious Sector Projects
312 S. Washington St.
Seattle WA 98104


The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters  

André Breton once suggested that the most refined Surrealist act would be to run out into the street with a loaded gun and begin firing at random -- implicating strangers in an act of absurd but violent disruption. It's a curious idea, made even stranger when we realize that to imagine it is probably enough; even the suggestion of such an act is enough to give us pause.

Another Surrealist strategy is one employed by the arts collective M.E.D.I.U.M. -- a method called "exquisite corpse" in which artists contribute to a communal drawing without seeing what each other have made. To perform this process a sheet of paper is folder into sections, each of which one artist fills out independently of the next -- a series of "shots in the dark" that come together to comprise an illustrated whole that is much more than the sum of its parts.

The comparison may seem silly, but to do justice to the complexity of these two methods it is important to realize that art makes exquisite corpses of us all -- caught between our own private reality and the imaginations of others. This is to suggest that the method of drawing employed by these artists is more than just a formal constraint -- it is a confrontational insistence on the need for art to push past individual boundaries and implicate others in its process.

What such a strategy produces are beautiful monsters -- a poetic companion to Breton's proposed social transgression -- exquisite corpses that willingly put reason to sleep in order to access the surprises and promises of shared imaginary worlds.