Are we in a golden age of exquisite corpse making? If Cloaque’s second anniversary video is any indication the answer to this question is almost certainly yes.
Founded in 2012, the collective—founded by Claudia Mates and Carlos Saez—is best known for its tumblr, a medium they use to create an enormous ongoing exquisite corpse. Each month they invite artists to use either found or original material to respond to posts on the blog. Cloaque may be updated several times during an artist’s post production process, adding an element of unpredictability to the project. To mitigate what could be abrupt transitions from post to post Mates and Saez personally thread each work together.
The videos work in a similar fashion. Each artist produces work for a predetermined chunk of time, and the final product is assembled. Their latest video, released yesterday, is a masterwork in this genre; variation of style, subject matter and media defines the work without seeming contrived or overly self-conscious.
The piece begins with the same green earth and water that closed off the first video made last year, and immediately transitions to a rising gradient sun. It gives way to window leading to a rainbow water world by Jeremy Couillard, then Brenna Murphy’s 3D rendered abstract gardens and a dark mountainous landscape littered with reddish treasures by Nicolas Sassoon and Sara Ludy.
Pretty much everything in this video looks great, but its virtuosity lies in its seamlessness. These works shouldn’t have that much in common with each other, so watching how one work transition to the next is always a surprise. Goopy stuff on wood becomes goopy paint over a webcam. Paint over a computer leads to a computer login. And of course, there’s the final scene in which we see a motorcyclist juxtaposed against a flaming Cloaque logo. It’s a ridiculous, over the top scene, and probably entirely meaningless. Which is to say, it is the perfect exquisite corpse.