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Found objects

chance - collage - bricolage - object - anti-art

Key works: Bicycle Wheel Ready-made (1913) - Fountain (1917)

Marcel Duchamp coined the term readymade in 1915 to describe his found art. Duchamp assembled the first readymade, entitled Bicycle Wheel in 1913. His Fountain, a urinal which he signed with the pseudonym "R. Mutt", shocked the art world in 1917. Bottle Rack is a bottle drying rack signed by Duchamp, and is considered to be the first "pure" readymade. [Jul 2006]


Found art, more commonly and less confusingly, 'Found Object' (French: objet trouvé) is a term used to describe art created from common objects not normally considered to be artistic (also assemblage). The idea behind found art is that the piece of art derives its significance from the context into which it is put. Found art blurs the traditional lines of what art is and questions the very nature of art itself.

Marcel Duchamp's "readymades" are some famous and the earliest examples of found art: for one piece, Fountain, he signed a urinal with the pseudonym "R. Mutt" and mounted it face up. Another piece, Bottle Rack, is simply that: a bottle rack signed by Duchamp.

Picasso's Baboon and Young is a good example of a found object being used to create the basis of a larger piece of work.

Composers have often used found sound in compositions, examples including John Cage and Nicolas Collins. Poets, too, create art out of non-literary writing; Cordelia McGuire turned a funeral home's want ad into a poem entitled Embalmer just by adding line breaks. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Found_art [Jun 2004]

Found footage

Found footage is a filmmaking term which describes a method of compiling films partly or entirely of footage which has not been created by the filmmaker, and changing its meaning by placing it in a new context. It should not be mistaken for documentary or compilation films. It is also not to be mistaken with stock footage. The term refers to the "found object" (objet trouvé) of art history.

Experimental film The American collage artist Joseph Cornell produced one of the earliest found films with his reassembly of East of Borneo, combined with pieces of other films, into a new work he titled Rose Hobart after the leading actress. His film is notable for its Surrealist form and influence on later filmmakers.

In contrast to Cornell's use, structural film or "Materialfilm" (German) often demands that the artist only uses material of preferably unknown origin, not very defined content, and poor physical condition. This material might be treated in any way the artist chooses, even completely untreated, as long as he ignores any meaning or content of the source material. Other notable users of this technique are Craig Baldwin in his films "Spectors of the Spectrum," Tribulation 99" and "O No Coronado." Bill Morrisson uses found footage lost and neglected in film archives in his 2002 work "Decasia." Another remarkable entry in the found footage cannon is Peter Delpeut's "Lyrical Nitrate."

Commercial cinema
Another common use of found footage searches for material with recognisable content, which is edited into more or less narrative structures. Through means of editing, sound, voice-over, subtitles and/or inserts, the filmmaker tweaks the interpretation of the audience in a way that it accepts the new "truth" of the footage. Normally the source footage is of unknown origin, however, if footage with recognisable content (like historical or well-known commercial footage) is used the result can be made a parody or a political statement.

A third meaning of found footage came up with the invention of TV formats which featured odd films and videos, mostly done by amateurs, combined with outtakes of film and video professionals, as well as stunts and accidents from sport shows.

One example of the use of found footage is in Woody Allen's first film, "What's Up Tiger Lily" in which Allen takes a Japanese spy film by Senkichi Taniguchi and writes a new soundtrack comprised of his own dialogue for comic effect. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Found_footage

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