HD Cam , 2006
Running Time 8:00 minutes and 8:00 minutes
Directors: Sabine Gruffat and Ben Russell

Two high-definition videos inspired by the 1920’s Surrealist parlor game the “Exquisite Corpse.” Prominent Surrealist writer André Breton invented the game utilizing chance tactics and automatic writing. Each collaborator wrote a line of text on a piece of paper, then folded the paper to obscure everything written except the last word or phrase. A second participant wrote the next line, folded the paper again before passing it. None of the participants knew what would result until they unfolded the paper revealing a nonsensical and jarring whole.

Frequently employed by the Surrealists to inspire collaborative drawings and poetry, this game ensured results animated by subconsciously derived dream imagery later attributed to many well-known Surrealist paintings (Salvador Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory”) and avant-garde films (Luis Bunuel’s classic film “Un Chien Andalou”). “The Mythmakers” extends this Surrealist tradition into the 21st Century, rendering the text as a script for an experimental video.

In a gambit to separate our physical and emotional selves from that familiar space of the everyday, Mr. Russell and I retreated to the Mexican landscape – one dotted with deserts, snow-capped volcanoes, ancient ruins, and a dream world of masked warriors and astrological beasts. We authored the script employing the collaborative device of the Exquisite Corpse. In each subsequent stage of the project (shooting and editing) the same device adds layers and reveals new twists as we work to integrate our individual contributions into an unanticipated and mesmerizing whole.