Try these 5 surrealist games to boost your creativity

The surrealists

The surrealists were known for their unique methods of creativity and inspiration. Among them were a set of ‘games’ which they developed to open their minds to surrealists ways of artistic expression. Here are a few to try out and become a part-time surrealist yourself!

Automatic Writing

Sit at a table with a pen your hand and a piece of paper in front of you. Try and place yourself into a ‘receptive’ mindset and start writing. Write without thinking, write as fast as you can. If the flow stops, leave a space and start writing again using. It’s amazing what the subconscious mind can create using this technique.

The Exquisite Corpse

The most popular surrealist game of them all. For three or more players. Each player receives a sheet of paper and folds it into equal sections, as many as there are players. The sheets are smoothed out and each player draws whatever they want on the top section. Fold over the paper to conceal the drawing and pass it to the next player. The next player begins their drawing below where the previous image has been folded, and so on, until the last section. When it is unfolded the result is revealed.

The Truth Game

For any number of players. One player questions each of the players in turn; alternatively. The answer must be the truth. The game should be played for some time to achieve meaningful results. The following is an extract from a real game played by the surrealists:

Eluard: How do you reconcile your love of women and your taste for sodomy?

Tanguy: Sodomy is not homosexual. It interests me only when performed with a woman, not for any other reason.

Experiments With Objects

In this game the object is considered in term of its possible meanings and functions, as opposed to actual ones. An irrational approach to knowledge is pursued with the air of a scientific enquiry. For example, take a cucumber and place it in the middle of the table. The players have to determine the complete and total opposite of this object.

Would You Open The Door?

For five or more players, each with a pen and paper. Players imagine this situation: they are dreaming, there is a knock on the door, they open it and upon recognising the visitor must make an immediate decision to either let the visitor in or close the door. What do they decide and why?

Each player must take it in turn to announce the visitor’s name, and the other players write yes or no plus a brief comment which must be the first thing that comes into their head. Results are read out and compared.