offroad, v.2 features three grand pianos that drift at different speeds and in different directions within the limits of the physical space where they have been temporarily placed. Moved by means of a computerised electromechanical system under the influence of their mutual interactions and that of the wind outdoors, the instruments progressively shape their own world within the contours of the existing architecture. Building an immediate relationship between the indoor pianos and the outside world by way of an anemometer that registers the direction and speed of the wind outdoors, the installation shapes a common living area that blurs the distinctions between inside/outside, living/inert things. Contact microphones that are placed onto the bodies of the pianos audibly trace their trajectories, and their physical interactions with each other and their environment. The audience is invited to experience the work visually and/or acoustically either by stepping into the pianos’ territory or by contemplating from the platform the connections that they make/unmake as they drift and meet. The anemometer which interacts with the pianos’ movement as well as the resulting surround sound can be seen on Arter’s fourth level terrace. For this second version of the work, the first version of which was presented in 2014 at les Abattoirs in Toulouse (France), Céleste Boursier-Mougenot brings the pianos to life with a site-specific choreography that is in dialogue with the architecture of Arter's Karbon space. Like most installations by Boursier-Mougenot, offroad v.2 enters in a unique and dynamic relationship with the space it inhabits, thus unfolding a new composition each time it is exhibited. In other words, the work materializes a number of the infinite possibilities existing within a limited space and a preconceived frame. With technical contributions by Guilhem Saurel (robotics, LAAS CNRS) and Guilhem de Gramont (electro-mechanics), the artist creates an environment in which the moving pianos continuously interact for the duration of the exhibition.
offroad, v.2 pursues his exploration of agency in the process of action and sound production by endowing an inanimate instrument with the capacity to move, and the ability to produce sound without being played. Making connections with contemporary experimentations that emphasise the correlation between sound and space, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot's installation creates an acoustic landscape made of intended and non-intended sounds. Creating a network of relations, the work forms an open system that offers the possibility for the random and the unexpected to arise from within an ensemble of established rules and pre-determined behaviours. Rather than being a performance without performers, offroad, v.2 provides the grounds to consider agency beyond human limits, inviting us to redefine the living, and to lend an attentive ear to the objects, things and phenomena that surround us. Céleste Boursier-Mougenot (born 1961 in Nice, France) is a discipline-crossing artist who started his career as a musician and composer, working often in close collaboration with dance and theatre companies. Keen on subverting conventional ways of producing and perceiving sound, and on connecting means of perception Boursier-Mougenot creates process-based acoustic devices with a strong visual aspect. His works often involve inanimate objects or non-human living beings and challenge the anthropocentric approach to sound production, agency and will. In addition to his numerous worldwide shows, which include solo exhibitions at MoMA PS1 (New York), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), SFMOMA (San Francisco) and more recently HAB (Nantes), Céleste Boursier-Mougenot represented France at the French Pavilion during the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015 with his work Rêvolutions, which featured an experimental ecosystem with kineticised trees.
With technical contributions by
Guilhem de Gramont (electro-mechanics), Guilhem Saurel (robotics, LAAS CNRS)
With the kind contribution of Istanbul French Cultural Institute