Celeste Boursier-Mougenot at the NGV

I’m in Melbourne for the weekend and yesterday chanced upon Clinamen, the sculptural installation by French artist and composer Celeste Boursier-Mougenot that’s currently in residence on Level 3 of the NGV International.

My first encounter with Boursier-Mougenot’s practice was back in 2010, when I experienced his commission for The Curve at the Barbican in London. A trained musician, Boursier-Mougenot’s acoustic installations employ chance and indeterminacy in a contemplative dance of parts that explore the laws of nature and the rhythms of everyday life. At the Barbican, it was a walk-through aviary of zebra finches. The space was full of cymbals and electric guitars that transformed the feeding, bathing and nesting activities of the finches into a delicate and joyful soundscape that was honestly like no other.

Celeste Boursier-Mougenot, Clinamen, 2013.

In Clinamen, Boursier-Mougenot presents a collection of white porcelain bowls, which are gently and continuously swept around a bright blue pool of water by submarine currents. The bowls – there may have been 100 of them – each have different depths and scales that affect the depth of the chimes they produce upon collision.

These deep and meditative peals recall the strange nostalgia of old clanging church bells and this ad hoc score is unsurprisingly conducive to moments of profound contemplation.

 Visually, the swirling bowls suggest everything from junk boats on the harbour to universes in orbit. Perhaps it was the headspace I was in, but these circling bowls, moving silently through the water, only to chime deeply and repeatedly upon chance collision, spoke to me of loneliness, and then fate, and then hope.

I don’t know how long I sat there for – it wouldn’t have been especially long – but I left feeling moved, calmed and quietly elated that art, once again, could offer such a space for reflection.



Educating People Like Us

Since late 2014 I’ve been working with UNSW Galleries as an education consultant to develop a series of educational resources for their touring exhibition People Like Us. It’s just opened at UNSW Galleries and will set off on a 15 stop national tour from January 2016.

Su-Mei Tse, Sound for an Insomniac, 2007

I’ve just written an article about the process for Museums & Galleries New South Wales which you can read here.



What It Means to be Me, Western Plains Cultural Centre, Dubbo, 26 July 2015

Kaldor Public Art Project’s pilot regional engagement program wrapped up last weekend. I’m elated, exhausted, proud and a bit overwhelmed by its success and all the very positive feedback we’ve received from the participants and various stakeholders.

Below are some images from the final exhibition, held last weekend at the Dubbo Regional Gallery, Western Plains Cultural Centre. The exhibition was opened by the Hon. Troy Grant, NSW Minister for the Arts and John Kaldor, director of Kaldor Public Art Projects.

Photos: Alex Wisser / Kaldor Public Art Projects


There’s an immediacy and honesty to performance art that lends itself, perhaps more than any other form of art, to an exploration of what it means to exist in any one particular moment in time.

Over the last 10 weeks, seven rather extraordinary local teenagers have pioneered their own understanding of performance art as part of Kaldor Public Art Project’s Pilot Regional Engagement Program. This pilot, which has formed a central part of the wider education and public program for the recent Project 30 – Marina Abramovic: In Residence at Sydney’s Pier 2/3, culminates today in this very special one-day exhibition, What It Means to be Me.

Throughout the program, the participants have explored and tested ideas of presence, movement, the role of the body in art and how we interrogate and construct ideas about ourselves and about the world around us.

The seven works presented here express their very personal experiences and enquiries about love, misunderstanding, imagination, disconnection, social expectation, empathy and something of the magic of Marina.

In presenting these beautifully deft explorations of what it means to be them at this moment in time, they hope also to ask, what it does it mean to be you?


Justen Beehag

Caitlyn Coman-Sargent

Grace Farmilo

Shanae Gosper

Kate Hagan

Clare Noonan

Sam Read


The Kaldor Public Art Project Pilot Regional Engagement Program has been supported by Arts NSW and the Federal Ministry for the Arts in partnership with Western Plains Cultural Centre and Orana Arts.