Appropriation Game – “Star Corpse”

by | Oct 21, 2019 | Artwork #2: Appropriate

The final title of my game is “Star Corpse”. I appropriated some of the mechanics of Exquisite Corpse, such as each player contributes something to a final piece of art, but I wanted to use collage instead of drawing. I was also interested in collage based on the DADA collages. Originally I bought two magazines: Star and Downtown Abbey. I gave each of the four players a part of the body: head, torso (without arms), arms, and legs. I playtested with 3 different prompts, using both magazines and a piece of graph paper for the base.  

The prompt for this piece was “The Perfect Female Form”

The prompt for this piece was “An Abomination” with no body part suggestions.

This prompt was “The Ideal Male Form”

And this prompt was another “An Abomination” prompt with no suggestions for body parts.

What I found from this playtesting was that the abomination prompts seemed 50-50 on outcomes that matched the aesthetic I was trying to evoke. After talking about it with Celia and my peers, some changes that I decided to make are as follows:

Use stockier paper, always give a body part suggestion, and make the players name their piece when finished. Additionally I decided to broaden my prompts using found words within the Star magazine. I also decided not to use the Downtown Abbey magazine because I found that players tended not to use it when given the choice, and that the material within seemed overall less inspiring. I also made small changes to how the game was played, one prompt card for the group, with each person getting a body part, as opposed to each person getting both.

Here’s what we got:

The prompt for this piece was “CHILD.” They decided to name it Zero.

The prompt for this piece was “PAPARAZZI.” They named it big Hamds McGee, a play on big hands combined with hamburger something- it was a reference I didn’t quite get.

This piece’s prompt was “ACTION STAR.” They named it Aoun Jr.

Overall I was happy with the improvements made from the first playtest to my final playtests. I found that the players tended to name the character they created, not necessarily the “piece,” as I thought they would. The paper change really brought up the production quality of the final piece. I also felt that limiting the source to only the Star magazine also helped solidify somewhat of a theme. Other prompts that I created but weren’t able to playtest were: “Beautiful, stepson, and legend.” Looking back though, if I were to spend more time playtesting, I would try putting the collage on grid paper, and then putting the grid paper on the stockier black paper with a black outline. I do sort-of like the gritty, rugged look that came with the lighter grid paper.