The Boyle family is a famous family of collaborative artists based in London. The family creates paintings by reproducing small patches of the world in meticulous detail. They select their sites at random in the following manner.

  • A blindfolded person throws a dart into a large map of the world.
  • Then they call someone who lives near where the dart pinpointed — perhaps the curator of a nearby gallery — and asks them to throw a dart blindfolded at the local map.
  • Then they travel to the exact spot pinpointed on the local map.
  • Then one of them takes a right angle and hurls it into the air. The place it lands becomes the first corner of the new work.
  • The random selection serves several purposes: nothing is excluded as a potential subject; the particular is chosen as a representative of the whole and it reduces their subjective role as artists and creators to that of “presenters”. The Boyles call this a “motiveless technical” to present a slice of reality as objectively and truthfully as possible.

Their incorporation of randomness into art removes the prejudices that the conditioning of our upbringing and culture impose. It makes it possible for us to look at the world or a small part of it, without being reminded consciously or unconsciously of myths and legends, art out of the past or present, art and myths of other cultures. We see without motive and without reminiscence.



To get a feel for this philosophy, create a motiveless poem using the following guidelines.