Art’s Birthday 2013: ‘Le Hunter Idéal’

Robert Filliou declared that Art was 1,000,000 years old on 17 January 1963, the date of his own 37th birthday. Filliou has been said to suggest that on 17 January 998037 BC, Art was born ‘when someone dropped a dry sponge into a bucket of water.’ A global network of artists and friends have since celebrated Filliou’s vision of undifferentiated ‘art’ and ‘creativity’ annually on this day. Art’s Birthday epitomises the capacity of the The Eternal Network for shared creativity and play, for the celebration of ‘art’ and ‘life’. This global event has also been a context for developments in networked art practice over the last fifty years. Local meetings of artists and friends across The Eternal Network have been connected through forms of conceptual, postal, fax, telecommunication and online art practice. It is then an important opportunity to maintain continuity with practices of the past while developing new creative strategies to our own times globally. Art’s Birthday is significant to this research in providing opportunity to research an unusually long-term annual networked art event involving a wide range of people, practices and media. It is also continues to offer a context for practice-based curatorial experimentation during the research period itself.

Art became 1,000,050 years old in 2013 according to Filliou’s historical declaration. Having participated in a range of different, mainly offline, ways in most years since 1996 I wanted to develop an approach to online participation in 2013 within the framework of my PhD research. Re-working existing video material, I decided to develop my basic web-building skills further so as not to rely upon social media as critiqued in my evaluation of the Decentralised Networker Congress. Able to circulate the link to via  in addition to Facebook and twitter publicity, I was able to reach the community of people celebrating the anniversary. I was able to incorporate a message board within my site design to have a log of responses. The site was an example of duration-specific curating in that it only went live from Wed, 16 Jan 2013, 10:00 GMT to Fri, 18 Jan, 11:00GMT so as to be accessible throughout 17 January 2013 wherever it happens in the world.

Why ‘Le Hunter Idéal’? Artist, poet, co-creator of La Fête Permanente (or, in non-equivalent English translation, The Eternal Network) and Le Poïpoïdrome amongst other things, Robert Filliou (17 Jan, 1926 – 2 Dec, 1987) wrote in Part Two of his ‘action poem’, Yes (1964):


As my name is Filliou, the title

of the poem is:


It is an action poem, and I am

going to perform it.

Its score is:

not deciding

not choosing

not wanting

not owning

aware of self

wide awake



Paris, 1964

An editorial note accompanies this in the 1967 publication ‘A Filliou Sampler’, (New York: Great Bear Pamphlet, Something Else Press. Available online at:

“It should be noted also, that the title given here names Filliou as “Le Filliou Ideal,” but this title should be changed to designate any adult male poet [sic]  who performs this work as “Le (name) Ideal.”

I performed this work – without great deliberation – originally to participate online and remotely throughout the network of artists celebrating the “Decentralized Networker Congress” (, November, 2012. At that point, it was entitled ‘Still Waiting in the Eternal Network”, yet, ‘Le Filliou Idéal’ was in the back of my mind somehow. I thought it appropriate to develop the online aspect of the performance more for the 2013 celebration of Art’s 1,000, 050th Birthday and rightfully recognize the work as having it roots in ‘Le Filliou Idéal’, now having re-named it as ‘Le Hunter Idéal’.


From the The Decentralised World-Wide Networker Congress I still liked the idea of the performance occurring for a specific length of time, only being accessible through the browser during 17 January 2013 wherever that happened to be in the world. I also still wished to create online presence from scratch, to avoid the aesthetics of Web 2.0, and thus needed to rely on my very rudimentary HTML skills acquired during the 90s and then undeveloped since. The aesthetic of the work is ugly, then, hampered by my limited ability but working materially with code in a do-it-yourself way seemed more important and useful to observe.

This event was also primarily useful in:

  • testing aspects of online curating over a specific duration;
  • exploring aspects of online crating as important preparation for the major ‘The All Day Video Breakfast’ event for Art’s Birthday 2014;
  • developing coding skills sufficiently to avoid over-reliance on social media;
  • building relationships with other network participants, in particular Barnaby Dicker who has celebrated Art’s Birthday annually and with whom I would collaborate in Art’s Birthday 2015.