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Alison Sampson describes the art project “Think of a City” as an “exquisite corpse,” the name of the parlor game played by the surrealists in the cafes of Paris during the 1920s and ’30s. The game involved a piece of folded paper onto which, in turn, each member of a group drew a part of a body, without being able to see what others have drawn. The result was a body or character of composite parts, often quite Frankenstein-looking.
Sampson’s day job is as an architect, and like many in that profession she seems very idealistic about how good design can improve the quality of life. Having followed her blogging over the years, it appears to me she brings that philosophy to everything she does, that she actively believes comic art has the same transformative power to affect us positively. Here’s the project’s mission statement:
“Think of a City is a new storytelling project, where a number of artists from around the world build a city, page by page. Feel free to walk our streets and take a coffee in one of our many cafes. Who knows what you might see, or the strange events you might chance across?
It takes more than two people to create an urban environment, though, and Think of A City is a collective effort from everyone involved.
As with any metropolis, we each bring our own offerings to the group, and perhaps, together we are stronger.”
The project’s blog is shaping up nicely as a repository for singular visions, and the clashing styles do indeed remind me of those exquisite corpses of old. If, like me, you’ve marveled at comics’ power to create totally immersive worlds, check it out — you’ll like it.