After training as a musician and composer, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot forged an art practice that merges the visual and the auditory. Boursier-Mougenot considers music the medium through which humans most commonly experience the intangible and abstract. He aims to create the conditions for experiencing what composer and innovator of ambient music, Brian Eno called ‘the long now’, by interrupting the constant assault of sensory data which passes for experience. A simple analogy is the experience of ‘live’ music with its sense of ‘being there’, in a spatial and sensory sense, which goes beyond the experience of listening, as Boursier-Mougenot underlines: ‘Live music, produced live and where we are present, is among the phenomena which have the property of amplifying our feeling of the present moment’. The artist aims for this harmony of process and effect to encourage viewers ’to witness their own present time’.
Boursier-Mougenot’s installations combine the technical with the aesthetic and sensorial; he refers to them as functioning like a ‘dispositif’ rather than an installation. The term, loosely translated as device or structure, foregrounds the potential of a work to engage viewers in both the operational and aesthetic components of a work. from here to ear, (v. 13) 2010 explicitly orchestrates a space for listening and experiencing within a technical and organic apparatus of sound production. ‘Instruments’ have been constructed and tuned to create an environment for finches to feed, fly, rest and make music through interacting with them as spaces for living. Rather than ‘participation’ on the part of the viewer, the artist is particularly interested in the quality of human attention that arises in the viewer through experiencing being within the installation.