Sound artist throws guitar-perching zebra finches at The Curve to make the non-music of chance
Follow the twisting, bright-orange ceiling around the auditorium at the brutalist-concrete Barbican in London, and you'll find a flock of zebra finches making like wingèd Hendixes along the art-installation walls of The Curve.
It's part of a video installation that opened on Saturday, created by 48-year-old sound artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot (who is male, and lives near Montpellier). He's been working with this concept for several years, so what you see (if not what you hear) is the product of thousands of hours of labour.
No matter what John Cage says, for sound to become music, it cannot be random. The finches are not organized in a musical sense, so they are not making music. But the installation is organized -- meaning that it has creative intention behind what we see and hear -- which makes it art.
Describing an installation using urban street noise shown in New York City in 2002, Friese magazine said: "Boursier-Mougenot does not so much make music as set the ground rules for musical situations to generate and sustain themselves."
Boursier-Mougenot's installation is scheduled to stay up in the Curve until May 23.