Céleste Boursier-Mougenot produces music in surprising and unexpected ways through large-scale acoustic environments and immersive sonic installation. From Ear to Ear at the Peabody Essex Museum employs a flock of 70 vividly-plumed Zebra finches to play iconic Gibson Les Paul and Thunderbird bass guitars.
Boursier-Mougenot tunes the electric guitars to rock and blues chords so they are musically compatible. He admires the birds’ unintentional creativity and calls them “funny little collaborators.” For him, working with them is a way to push the boundaries that often limit our ideas about what music is and can be.
At turns ambient and melodic, a constantly changing soundscape emerges as the finches explore their environment, eating, nesting and perching on the amplified instruments. This boundary-breaking exhibition asks us to consider the way we perceive, create and interact with music while challenging traditional notions of artistic collaboration.