This caught my eye. It's funny and oddly compelling.
The film is of an installation by a contemporary French artist called Celeste Boursier-Mougenot. It's very Marcel Duchamp, the French artist who started the conceptual art ball rolling nearly a hundred years ago.
Duchamp pioneered combining everyday materials, philosophical comment and humour, an idea that seeped into places like the 1960s pop group the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band (they wanted to call themselves the Bonzo Dog Dada band, but worried people wouldn't get it) and Monty Python.
But Duchamp's more radical idea was to introduce chance into the creation of art. In 1913-14 he made 3 Standard Stoppages, a work of art that was the result of the random actions of mechanised contraptions. At the time, he was largely dismissed as a crazy Frenchman, but he inspired an entire avant-garde movement in art as well as the music of John Cage and the choreography of Merce Cunningham. Duchamp was not short of self-confidence, but the idea of adding chance to the creative process was rather humble.
"That's so random" is a common refrain nowadays, referring to a supposedly non-logical thought or event. It was also the clarion cry of the Dadaists, the anti-art, anti-rational early-20th-Century art movement that argued that it was rational thought that led to World War I.
Duchamp was much loved by the Dada movement. I wonder what Dadaists would have made of the internet. It's interesting that, as far as I am aware, no contemporary artist has yet harnessed this extraordinary technology to make a significant artwork. Of course, maybe I'm wrong and am missing something great - do you know of any net-based art works that are worth a look?
Maybe you have made one (an artwork made specifically for the medium, as opposed to a film such as the one above, which uses the net only as a means of dissemination)?
If you, like me, can't find any net-based art of note, why do you think that is? Why, when there's been such a boom in contemporary art around the world, has no artist made the medium of the web his or her canvas? And if someone were to use the net as a medium, as opposed to making an image, or a video, or even an interactive Flash animation, what would the resulting art look, or sound, or feel like?
Duchamp and the Dadaists would have had hours of artistic amusement creating spoof websites, unintelligible Wiki entries and general questioning of the status quo.
Perhaps that is what Celeste Boursier-Mougenot should do next after the installation of his 40 Finches work opens at London's Barbican art gallery on 27 February. Like Duchamp, he seems to understand the creative potential of random acts and non-directed participation. He's already proved in this artwork that while Keith Richards and Eric Clapton might be masters of the Gibson Les Paul, even they cannot play it like 40 wild birds - not a chance.