One of the core concepts of our new theme, שמיטה (Sh’mitah), is הפקר (hefker – ownerless). During the sh’mitah year all food produced by the land becomes ownerless and anyone has the right to come and take it. Anafim has been exploring this concept for the past several weeks. This week they began to explore what this might mean in יצירה (yetzirah – art/creativity). Anafim participated in two drawing exercises that connected to the concept of הפקר (hefker – ownerless) through artistic collaboration. Together they made “exquisite corpses,” a drawing activity that derives from a game invented by the Surrealists.
The first type of “exquisite corpse” we made consisted of abstract line drawings. Everyone sat around the table in a circle. Each anafim member was given a piece of paper and a marker. They were asked to start the drawing somewhere just by making one line on the page. Then, after several seconds were up they were asked to pass the drawing down to the person next to them. We repeated this process until all the pieces of paper were filled with lines. Here are some examples of how they turned out:
The second type of “exquisite corpse” anafim made were the more traditional kind in which you create a character or person out of many parts made by different individuals. We folded sheets of paper in quarters and gave everyone one to start out with. On the top section (separated by the folds) they were asked to draw just the head and shoulders of a character they wanted to create. We then folded the paper and passed it down to the next person, who was asked to draw the torso. We continued around the circle until we ended up with seven complete figures. Afterwards we spoke about collaboration and what this process meant concerning ownership. Some of the things that came up in our conversation were the necessity of trust and communication.