Now that I’ve written a few reasons I find chance so interesting personally, I think it’s important to stress where specifically chance finds itself within the art world.

What really got me interested in randomness within art was an installation I visited years ago titled, “Zebra Finches Shred”. The installation was created by  Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, a French composer and artist who has become a master at encouraging birds to make music. He does so by creating a kind of musical ecosystem.

The birds are a mixed-age flock, about half males and half females. Three nest condos are hung from the ceiling, and the floor is covered with sand and patches of tall grass to mimic the finches’ natural environment—Australian grassland. Zildjian cymbals are filled with either water or food.

In every city the exhibit has been wildly popular, and the prevailing question among its visitors has been the same: Do the birds know they’re making music?

“We think they do,” says Trevor Smith, the museum’s curator of contemporary art.

I had so much fun visiting this exhibit the first time that I saw it that I ended up coming back two more times! It was just such a fun experience that relied almost solely on the randomness of the birds making sound. Sure the equipment was set up but at the base of it, what really mattered was what the birds did.

This is fascinating on so many levels. And throughout the rest of the week I’ll continue to explain why.


Where Does Chance Come Into Artwork?

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