We have held our third Salon Surrealist Sélavy. Many thanks to Ruth and Claire of ::thestudio:: for hosting it at their art gallery in the basement of the Cambria.
We had twelve people seated on blankets in the innovative art space, and ran four short whole-group games after which there was a music jam. The number was about right for that format. Besides nibbles and bevvies, we nourished ourselves with the following:
- Exquisite corpse in pictures – traditional Surrealist game. Fold a piece of paper four times, accordion-style. Draw something (not necessarily the head of a figure) in the top bit, fold it over so the next person can’t see and pass to your right. The next person draws in the second section of the paper, picking up lines where the previous drawing had left off. Once four people have contributed to each drawing, open and display. Laugh copiously.
- Collage – Classic Surrealist game. We cut out words and pictures from the current Cambrian News and rearranged them into surreal sentences, sticking them onto paper ransom-note style. In some cases, it was hard to beat the initial surreality of the original headline.
- Dream investigator – Mark Gidden’s invention. One person is the dream investigator. This game involves interrogation to uncover the content of a dream. In our case, we ran it twice, so I went out with the two investigators while the rest of the group worked on the dream. During our exile, we generated random words for the next activity using strange dice and a book of stories by Margaret Atwood. One of the dreams involved cellotape and outer space, while the other involved whales and sunflower seeds. Worked like a charm – many thanks, Mark, for this great idea.
- Parallel stories – Classic surrealist game based on automatic writing. We used the words generated during the previous exercise, which were written on sticky notes. Each person started writing a narrative. At random points, I called out a word from among the sticky notes. Participants have to incorporate that word into their stories. Naturally there was some confluence but also much divergence. Hilarious.
- Music jam – A few people left as it was getting late, but the remaining folk had a music jam. Ted on guitar, Ailsa on cello, Becky on hang drum, and near the end I imposed my voice on the eardrums of all present. Thanks to all of you for bringing instruments and contributing such fine music.
If I can get myself motivated for more typing, I’ll type up and photograph the artifacts and put onto the Facebook group.
Next on the agenda is not a proper salon but a beach party that includes the candle activity ‘Amassing Light’ and music jam. All are welcome. The date will most likely be mid-July, once everyone is back from their travels to festivals etc. It will depend on the weather, and so has to be organised fairly last-minute, I’m afraid. However, I now have a couple of hundred tea lights and some other candles so we have a start.