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kkraaaang… thwaaaangg…

March 23, 2010

Currently showing at the Barbican’s Curve Gallery is an installation by French artist and composer Céleste Boursier-Mougenot. You may have heard about it – it’s the one with 100 live zebra finches playing electric guitars. Gimmicks and animal welfare issues aside, the work is a thing to behold. I’ve never been to an exhibition where I’ve seen so many people smiling. The birds seem only too happy to participate, hopping between their six-stringed perches, unfazed by the rawks and drones. The effect of the whole – with boardwalk planks, sandy banks, and desert grasses – made me feel like extra from Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man (1995), a dreamlike psychedelic western, with a minimal Neil Young soundtrack which closely resembles the music of our feathered performers.

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