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Press Release

NEW YORK—The Paula Cooper Gallery is pleased to announce a new video and sound installation by Paris-based artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, on view at 521 West 21st Street, from 10 October through 17 November 2001.

The project, titled Videodrones, is based on the live broadcast of images filmed outside and the transposition of these images into sound.

“Videodrones is the overall title of a forthcoming series of audio and video installations based on a technical principle that makes it possible to listen to the sound of images.

By connecting the image output of a video camera to an audio amplification system – a thoroughly heterodox connection – the video signal (image) produces a humming sound. By moving the camera, and by partly or completely blocking its lens, one alters the amount of light being received by the sensors, thus creating fluctuations in the sound.

I have tried to turn this noise into music. After several manipulations, I have obtained a basso continuo, a “drone.” Other adjustments have enabled me to formulate acoustic textures and a musical and visual system.”

Video cameras will be installed outside the gallery to capture the ambient activity (passing vehicles, pedestrians…). The images will be broadcast live on five contiguous screens, in several combinations, overlaps and staggered patterns. The resulting effect is a kaleidoscopic flow of images translated into sound, immersing the visitor in a second reality, a familiar yet transfigured environment. The continuity of the drone and its simultaneity with the image giving rise to it create an effect of hypnotic suspense.

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, whose background is as a composer, describes his work as “a live sound form in constant evolution.” He creates compositional procedures designed to explore the musical potential of different materials: household objects, machines, living beings. His previous, widely acclaimed installations include sets of inflatable pools with chiming dishware and a structure of wire hangers and piano chords inhabited by live finches (From Here to Ear, first shown at P.S. 1, New York). Boursier-Mougenot’s acoustic works take into account both the spatial environment and those experiencing it, inviting viewers to a creative form of listening, through their movements in the space and the amount of time they devote to listening.

Boursier-Mougenot was born in Nice, France, and lives in Paris. His works have been shown in France and the United States (capc-Musée de Bordeaux, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati), as well as at the NTT InterCommunication Center, Tokyo, and the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Israel. He is preparing an extension of From Here to Ear for the Acquario Romano, Rome, Italy. Concurrently with this show, Boursier-Mougenot will be presenting work at the Ezra & Cecile Zilkha Gallery of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., opening on November 4, 2001.

For more information, please contact the gallery: (212) 255-1105 or
info@paulacoopergallery.com