Bricolage is a word which is used to mean an assemblage of objects, along with the trial and error process of putting such objects together. Someone who practices bricolage is known as a bricoleur. Bricolage plays an important role in a number of fields, from computer programming to music, and it is part of the artistic and cultural expression of many cultures around the world. You may have even engaged in a bit of bricolage yourself; perhaps, for example, you rigged up a simple solution to a household problem, using materials which were to hand. This is a form of bricolage.
The word comes from the French bricole, used to describe a trifle or an odd job. By definition, bricolage includes objects and skills which are readily available. One famous bricoleur, MacGyver, was capable of utilizing the commonplace items around him to come up with ingenious solutions, ranging from rappelling tools to incendiary devices. Many people consider MacGyver to be a paragon in the field, and they may look up to him as a role model who illustrates the idea that anything is possible with a keen mind and a Swiss army knife.
In art, bricolage typically involves found objects which may be integrated into musical performances, sculptures, or other artistic expressions. It can also refer to a blending of styles; when a punk band reinterprets classical music, for instance, this is bricolage. Bricolage can also play a role in the field of design; many interior designers, for example, use bricolage to come up with innovative, distinctive, and unique designs for their clients.
You can also find bricolage in the computer world. Many people who work as programmers, for example, talk about playing around and using a trial and error approach in their work, while numerous websites take the form of bricolage, collecting material from a wide range of sources and presenting it for their users. The body of work on these sites is often quite extensive and incredibly varied; with content ranging from interviews with Presidential candidates to pictures of animals with silly captions.
Some people describe bricolage as the ability to make art with whatever is at hand, and the ability to think outside the box when it comes to using items. To an ordinary person, a paperclip is just a paperclip. To a bricoleur, a paperclip holds a world of possibilities as sculptural support, firing pin, etching tool, and much, much more.