Art & Design

This Exquisite Forest

Exquisite forest feature

In the early 20th century, the French surrealists invented a parlor game they called the Exquisite Corpse. Write down a word, fold the paper and hand it to someone else, who writes the next word, until you end up with some Dadaist nonsense. Dig in your childhood memories, you’ve surely played it with pictures, too.

Now, Aaron Koblin and Chris Milk have created a version for animation. This Exquisite Forest is an online collaborative art project. It evolves around the notion of curating and lets users and participants create short animations that build off one another as they explore a specific theme. The result is a collection of branching narratives resembling trees.

The idea for This Exquisite Forest came from The Johnny Cash Project: “People were making these drawings and we could see they wanted to take it further,” says Aaron to Wired UK. “So we were thinking, how can we let people steer the course themselves and build something new?“

Aaron Koblin thinks the “collaborative animation platform” shows how technology and art can push each other further, together. “I think it actually makes ourselves maybe more human, or at least human in a different way, that we can connect together in amazingly different, and powerful new ways.”

In Summer 2012, a physical installation was launched at Tate Modern. To provide inspiration, eight artists, including our DLD friend Olafur Eliasson, have created digital, animated saplings for others to grow, along with instructions (Eliasson’s instructions: “Be energy (not about energy); Use yellow often, but not always; Show that light is life; Exercise empathetic attention; Share this with friends.”)

For #dld13, DLD Arts commissioned a physical installation of This Exquisite Forest, calling for participants to jointly add to a new curated tree online. Under the light of this year’s theme „patterns that connect“, this project provides an outstanding canvas to collectively create such a new pattern. We are candidly excited to see this exquisite DLD forest grow.

This Exquisite Forest

Mentioned in this article

Olafur eliasson carre web
Olafur Eliasson
Studio Olafur Eliasson
Studio Olafur Eliasson
Koblin aaron web
Aaron Koblin
Founder, CTO
San Francisco, CA
Chris Milk
Music Video Director & Photographer
Los Angeles