Buckets of Art

Local celebrations mark the 1,000,049th birthday of Art

The birthday of Art was Robert Filliou’s attempt to make Art an everyday object, not an activity accessible to only a few.
The birthday of Art was Robert Filliou’s attempt to make Art an everyday object, not an activity accessible to only a few.
Credit: 
Janghan Hong

According to French artist Robert Filliou, a sponge fell into a bucket of water 1,000,049 years ago to create the first-ever work of art. Today marks that event’s anniversary, dubbed the Birthday of Art, despite the fact that buckets didn’t even exist that long ago.

“You have to take it in the context of Filliou being a Fluxus artist, so very interested in Dada and the absurd and surrealism.” Kristiana Clemens, operations officer at CFRC, said of Filliou’s 1963 idea. “The image does evoke all of these thoughts and considerations.

“It’s also kind of a joke.”

Today CFRC will hold Art’s birthday celebrations for its second year in a row. From 4 p.m. until midnight, CFRC programming will explore art on the air by picking up international audio broadcasts of the celebration.

“Filliou passed away in 1987, and it was really in memory of his life’s work as an artist that Art’s birthday came to be celebrated as an annual event,” Clemens said of the event which is acknowledged by radio stations, sound and multimedia artists worldwide.

Clemens explained that the event doesn’t celebrate traditional art, but rather art as collaboration, an idea that grew with the birth of the Internet.

“[It’s] a celebration of art as a form of communication and exchange through a medium that incorporates transmission of some kind,” she said.

According to Clemens, celebrating Art’s Birthday is an avenue through which CFRC can strive to fulfill its mandate to expose local listeners to international sound art and experimentation.

Last year’s event was funded by the City of Kingston’s Arts Fund.

“The diversity of the artworks that were presented was really enjoyable and we got a good crowd out,” Clemens said of last year’s birthday celebrations. “We thought that this was something that deserves another kick at the can. So this year we applied to the Community Foundation of Kingston and Area for their support and we’re lucky enough to receive a small project grant.”

The event this year features live performances at the Artel, including Queen’s students Lisa Alders, David Woodward and Sleuth Bears’ Neven Lochhead and Liam Cole.

“It’s a pretty eclectic line-up,” Clemens said. “Each of these performances is going to be quite short, and there is not going to be much of a break between the sets.”

Art’s birthday programming starts at 4 p.m. on CFRC, with live streams from the Czech Republic, Austria and Vancouver, B.C. Celebrations at the Artel begin at 8 p.m. and are free.

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