Launched in 2015 to facilitate a new kind of interdisciplinary collaboration, each 7×7 invites one visual artist and one writer to engage in a two-week creative conversation. The format, inspired by Surrealist games of the early 20th century, challenges participants to improvise, in their respective disciplines, a spontaneous story that pushes into ever-wilder imaginative terrain. Every finished 7×7 is singular, unclassifiable, and wholly original.
Francophone readers should also check out our sister-site C.E.L.A., established in 2019, for 7×7-style collaborations in the French language.
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The game is a variation on the Surrealist game of exquisite corpse, designed to guide a writer and artist into an improvised collaboration.
After the editors have “paired” an artist and a writer together, the participants determine a convenient date to begin.
The participants decide amongst themselves who starts the exchange: the artist creates a picture, or the writer begins a new composition.
The following day, the other collaborator responds according to their discipline, with words or an image.
In this fashion, the two participants alternate turns, interpreting and elaborating on what has come previously in the spirit of “Yes, and…” No narrative swerving is off-limits; it is likely and encouraged that the collaborative process move the collaboration into territories neither participant would have conceived on their own. The participants need not follow traditional storytelling conventions as long as the collaboration moves “forward.”
Contributions should not take more than 2 hours to complete. The visual artist is limited to one image per turn. A writing contribution should not be longer than a single double-spaced page or 300 words.
The game is ended upon completion of 7 image-text pairings.
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