Art installation features 70 guitar-playing birds

70 birds and 14 guitars (Screengrab from YouTube)
70 birds and 14 guitars (YouTube screengrab)

A new exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts features 70 zebra finches — and 14 guitars.

French artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot developed the concept which he calls ‘living music’. “Looking through the window, my feeling was that I want to make music from these birds on the wire, and 30 years later I did this,” the artist stated in a recent interview.

The installation takes place in a makeshift aviary, where the only perches available to the birds are the strings of the 14 guitars. The guitars (10 Gibson Les Paul guitars and 4 Gibson Thunderbird basses, to be precise) are plugged into amplifiers stationed around the space, and music is made as the birds land on the strings.

A veterinarian is on hand to give the birds periodic checkups to ensure their health and happiness.

This is the 19th time Boursier-Mougenot has staged the exhibit, but the first time it will take place in Canada. Check out the video below to see a glimpse of last year’s installation at the Barton Gallery of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass.

(h/t Charlie McCarron)

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