Over the three months of Jo Burzynska’s creative multisensory explorations of the Pūharakekenui (Styx) River catchment, five specific sites emerged as particularly resonant. These became five works representing points on a sensory map following the river from the sea to its suburban source. The works presented in this exhbition will later become accessible from the actual sites in the catchment and online through an interactive map.
Engaging with the sensory, cultural, historical and conservational dimensions of the catchment, the soundscapes and nonvisual sensory descriptions draw attention to some of the less conspicuous aspects of the human and more-than-human lives lived on its banks and in its waters. These works encompass underwater sounds, from the bubbling of the springs that feed the river to the frenetic activity of the aquatic invertebrates that thrive in a healthy freshwater ecosystem; to human interactions with the environment, such as traditional rongoā Māori healing practices, and residents navigating life as minority species in a post-eathquake red zone.
Selected works can be listened to below
Flux and Fortitude Te Riu-o-Te-Aika-Kawa (Brooklands) Soundscape 09:52
Pūharakekenui’s mouth; Open, tidal, ever shifting. Calm fresh waters mingle with the Briny tang of the roaring sea. A fluid community Where kōtare converse in the lagoon, And crabs burrow in sulphurous mud. A māhinga kai, a place of migration, a home, where river and land meet the sea.
With thanks to the residents of Brooklands
An Ecological Kete Styx Mill Reserve Soundscape 05:10
OVER hanging watery margins, harakeke, sweet-spicy-green. UNDER its thrashing leaves insects chirrup and buzz. OVER head birds feast and call, while UNDER water creatures pop and click.
OVER is the shrieking mill stripping fibre for rope. UNDER our feet now, booms of a transfer station vibrate. OVER recent years, more species make this home, as we UNDER stand just how much our lives are all entwined.
With thanks to Christchurch City Council Waiata Group
“Odours are invested with cultural values and employed by societies as a means of and model for defining and interacting with the world. The intimate, emotionally charged nature of the olfactory experience ensures that such value-coded odours are interiorized by the members of society in a deeply personal way.” Constance Classen, David Howes, and Anthony Synnott in Aroma: The Cultural History of Smell. Taylor & Francis. (1994): 3.
If we inhale another’s memories, might we understand each other differently or perhaps more deeply? Osmologies brings together a series of olfactory “portraits” drawn from inhabitants of the same Aotearoa city from a range of ethnic, sensory, gender and neurodiverse backgrounds. Using the intimate sense of smell, it invites an embodied transfer of personal and cultural sensory experiences mingling in the shared space of the gallery.
The memories blended within each olfactory composition can expose histories less known, what is passed over when predominant, Western-centric biographical methods are used for documentation, such as writing and visual depiction. Insights gleaned from each of Jo Burzynska’s ‘smell histories’ can offer a challenge to conventional views on how smell operates – its supposed objectivity and inability to hold wider meanings.
Buzynska’s olfactory portraits interact with interiors rather than the exteriors or surfaces picked up by visual sight. They resist containment and so subtly mix with each other, making a larger, immaterial central work in which experiences coalesce.
Jo Burzynska was announced as the Premier Award at this year’s Zonta Ashburton Female Art Awards (ZAAFA) for the Mechanised Quarter audio-olfactory installation from her 2022 exhibition, What Might We Find When We Stop Looking? Jo was the overall winner out of 29 finalists, winning prize money and the invitation to present a solo show at the Ashburton Art Gallery in March 2024.
Mechanised Quarter was created using insights from a series of walks with members of the community exploring the city of Ōtautahi Christchurch using the non visual senses. It highlights the often overlooked sensory experiences of the city at a time of rebuilding after its devastating earthquakes. The sensory interplay between sound and scent encourages a nonvisual understanding of space and aims to foster alternative connections with urban environments.
“It was wonderful to receive this acknowledgment for my work,” Burzynska said, “As art is still so visually dominated, it was even more rewarding that a predominantly audio-olfactory work won this award. I hope this is indicative of the growing acceptance and celebration of art – and knowledge more generally – generated outside the visual realm.”
Images above: Jo with ZAAFA 2023 judges Lauren Gutsell, Kairauhī Curator at Dunedin Public Art Gallery; Professor Jane Venis, artist and academic; and Caroline McQuarrie, artist and Senior Lecturer in Photography at Whiti o Rehua School of Art Massey University (left) & interactions with the work at the ZAAFA 2023 exhibition (right).
Consisting of a sound installation and an interactive multisensory game, Garden of Sensory Exchange draws our attention to the elements of life that often escape our visual sensors. Based in the Fragrant Garden in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, the site specific work captures and amplifies some of the unseen networks of sensory communication within and between species, present and past: from sonic messages shared by organisms in the soil to the chemosensory signals sent by flowers and humans that generate life.
The sound installation, played from speakers set within the pergola, comprises recordings of human and more-than-human nonverbal sensory communication. This starts literally from the ground up, with recordings made using a geophone of the minute vibrations of organisms in the soil. The installation amplifies sounds present at the site such as the worms under the soil, as well as those – such as the song of the tūī and taonga pūoro – that have been largely lost to the area through colonising activities.
Garden of Sensory Exchange also features an interactive multisensory game, which requires visitors to engage in their own crossmodal sensory communication. Crossmodal correspondences are the sometimes-surprising associations people experience between stimuli encountered through different senses, for example the smell of citrus is widely matched with high pitches. The artist also worked with a number of schools in an education programme, where students made a range of scented objects to initiate their own games of sensory exchange.
Images commissioned by SCAPE Public Art. Further documentation about the installation and the SCAPE Public Art Season 2022 can be found here.
2022 Solo exhibition of mixed media multisensory installations The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora
What Might We Find When We Stop Looking? was the question navigated through passages across the colonial city of Ōtautahi Christchurch, New Zealand guided by the nonvisual senses. Using the original methodology of sensuous psychogeography, understandings and materials gathered on these often-playful pedestrian explorations were used to create interactive and overlapping multisensory installations. Made from recorded sounds, foraged wild foods, and materials gathered for their textures or distilled and blended for their aromas, the works could be heard, smelled, touched and tasted.
Initially presented as a solo exhibition at The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora – the site from which these multiple solo and participatory walks started – the personal, social, and political understandings grounded in the nonvisual sensory connections these walks disclosed, were used to reflect and remap the city, encouraging different connections with the urban environment.
The city of this exhibition is reimagined through a series of “quarters”, circled by the ambulant city soundscape, Ōtautahi Drifting, and with the Tactile Border on one perimeter for exploration blindfolded by hand. For example, Kahikatea Quarter is an audio-olfactory meditative immersion set in the city’s only remaining podocarp forest fragment; Empty Quarter an experimental tincture of gravel from one of the many corporate carparks on the city’s bare post-earthquake sites; while the final Nurturing Quarter – made in collaboration with forager, Peter Langlands and chef, Alex Davies – invites people to gather amongst sounds of human and animal feeding to share a tonic made from introduced and indigenous plants foraged from the city.
This project was undertaken during Te Matatiki Toi Ora’s 2021 Arts Four Creative Residency Programme supported by Creative New Zealand and Stout Trust, and proudly managed by Perpetual Guardian. Scented support from Fragrifert and use of the perfume studio at Fragranzi.
What kind of knowledge is disclosed when one navigates a city with the nonvisual senses? Developing the practice of sensuous psychogeography, I explored how these senses might spark different personal, social, and political resonances over multiple passages through Ōtautahi Christchurch, New Zealand. I hoped this would reveal what could otherwise remain literally overlooked in the regular patterns of experience in our visually dominated society.
Over three months I set out on multiple sense-focused walks in which the visual was subordinated to our other senses. This reversed the usual sensorial mode used to move around the city, and was guided by non visual cues that emerged. These could be an intriguing sound far away of close at hand, following a breeze, homing in on a smell, or – as in the walk led by forager, Peter Langlands – led by the wild foods growing in the city’s streets. I called this method, sensuous psychogeography.
Sensuous psychogeography is a new method of creative enquiry, and means of encouraging people to make different, and perhaps deeper connections with their local urban spaces. This draws on the Situationist idea of psychogeography. In his Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography, Situationist, Guy Debord, defines psychogeography is “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals,” (Debord,1955). It was concerned with the urban environment’s psychological effects, challenging the capitalist system through creating actively lived situations to counteract passive image-dominated consumer culture. Sensuous psychogeography particularly embraces the Situationists’ critical walking practice, the dérive (drifting), a playful exploration of urban space that redirects pedestrians away from well-trodden paths to alter awareness of their environments.
Sensuous psychogeography also emerged from the creative research of my recent arts PhD. In this I investigated the aesthetic and emotional dimensions of sensory interactions and how these related to place, both imagined or real. For example in my Risonanze di Vino project, I investigated how the nonvisual senses of winemakers connected them to both their product and the land their grapes were grown on.
As an artist who previously made works responding to the changing environments of Christchurch during the destructive earthquakes over a decade ago and their aftermath, I sought to re-engage with the city’s current unique phase of urban transformation after recently returning from four years overseas. The city’s recent challenges have seen its inhabitants repeatedly forced to diverge from familiar paths due to natural and human disruptions, which resonates with psychogeographical techniques.
The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has also seen residents living much of their lives on screens, some affected by a lingering unease about re-entering urban spaces. This makes a method that encourages such sensory immersion both challenging for some, but also liberating as articulated by a number of those who participated in walks with me.
These sensory excursions took many forms. Some were undertaken alone, sometimes gathering materials en route that I would then use to create the project’s final works. These ranged from the sounds that I recorded, fragrant plants I went on to distil, as well as textural objects, and included following the nonvisual elements of the Ōtākaro Avon River from the city to its mouth at the Pacific Ocean (pictured above). I drifted with individuals from the fields of urban ecology and planning, architecture, music and foraging. I also meandered with members of the public, local iwi and the blind and low vision community.
All the discoveries made were expressed through the project’s ultimate multisensory artworks that I created. These use interactive combinations of sound, olfaction, taste, and touch to answer the central question posed by the project, “What might we find when we stop looking?”, also the name of the exhibition which runs at The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora, Christchurch, New Zealand between 18-29 May, 2022.
This project was undertaken during Te Matatiki Toi Ora’s 2021 Arts Four Creative Residency Programme between May-July 2021. It was, supported by Creative New Zealand and Stout Trust, and proudly managed by Perpetual Guardian. Scented support from Fragrifert and Fragranzi.
In Bass Affects, Jo Burzynska invites an embodied and multisensory engagement with the emotional resonances of low frequency sound, which can be listened to, or remain unheard. Its installations stir and lull through their exploration of the nexus between the exciting and disquieting effects of the bass spectrum. Created largely from field recordings Burzynska has made in recent years of external low frequency phenomena, the sounds used are drawn from nature and human-made sources. These include the Pacific Ocean and electrical storms, to Lulworth Wind Farm, and Sydney Town Hall’s Grand Organ that possesses one of the world’s lowest pitched (8 Hz) pipes.
Low frequencies (below 200 Hz) are a much mythologised and misunderstood region of the sound spectrum. These frequencies – that are felt in the body as much as heard with the ear, and as infrasound (below 20 Hz) often on the threshold of hearing – move in mysterious ways. Bass tones are present in our body, in respiration and the beating of our hearts. In nature they emerge from the surf, and in the rumblings of seismic activity and storms. They’re emitted by machines in the industrial world. Humans actively use low frequencies in spiritual and cultural practices from bullroarers and church organs, to the beats of music we dance to. Attempts have also been made to harness them as weapons.
Yet historically, public research into the effects of low frequencies on humans remained limited. This deep void came to resonate with the repetition of findings from unreliable studies, misinformation, and far-fetched anecdotes, amplified by their regular repetition in sensationalist media coverage. Much of the purported physiological effects have now largely been disproved, with relaxation effects emerging as more likely than adverse health impacts. However, low frequency sound has become newly weaponised in attempts to discredit wind turbines, fanned by the fossil fuels industry. Such emotional manipulation and its psychological effects appear more forceful than any previous endeavours in sonic warfare.
From the sublime to the annoying, the wondrous to the threatening, context has come to direct more emotional power than the bass vibrations themselves. In Bass Affects, low frequencies from natural, devotional and industrial sources combine and converse, creating an expanded contextual spectrum that encourages a more open low frequency listening.
Jo Burzynska would like to thank Grace Kar Man Chan for making the Grand Organ roar; Malcolm Riddoch for his assistance with the recordings; and Sydney Town Hall and Lulworth Farm for providing access.
At: Audio Foundation 4 Poynton Terrace Auckland New Zealand Opens: Friday 6 August 2021, 5.30pm Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 12 – 4pm Closes: Saturday 4 September
Risonanze di Vino:
Exploring the Sensory Terroir of Rural Italy
Editor: Jo Burzynska
Contributors: Jo Burzynska, Gaetano Carboni, Leandro Pisano
Publisher: Interferenze Book Series
Risonanze di Vino, a book documenting two of my wine and sound projects in Italy, has now been published as part of the Interferenze Book Series and is available to purchase here.
About Risonanze di Vino
Risonanze di Vino explores the multiple connections made through a series of artist residencies in rural Italy that unite the senses, culture, and nature, as framed within discussions of the Anthropocene. It documents the residencies – conducted as creative sensory research – through which the multisensory artist Jo Burzynska, identifies and tunes resonances between sound and wine through an interlaced sensuous system that she calls sensory terroir.
Credit: Daniela d’Arielli / Pollinaria
Organised by the Interferenze art research platform in the Irpinia and Sannio regions, and the Pollinaria agricultural residency programme in Abruzzo, the projects were oriented by the artist’s immersions in cultural and personal sensory experience within these agrarian environments. The residencies resulted in sense-focused artworks in which soundscapes – created from field recordings of the winegrowing environments – play in crossmodal harmony or conversation with the local wines.
The projects are contextualised within current discourse around the Anthropocene through the curatorial contributions from Interferenze’s Leandro Pisano and Pollinaria’s Gaetano Carboni. If the Anthropocene is a sensorial phenomenon, sound art could be well placed to expose symbiotic coexistences and initiate resonances that shift perceptions.
Want to boost the body of your Pinot Noir, then turn up the bass!
The latest paper from my current doctoral research exploring the sensory and aesthetic interactions between wine and sound has been published in Multisensory Research. The product of a great project that involved Professor Charles Spence and Dr Janice Wang at Oxford University’s Crossmodal Research Laboratory, with input from my co-supervisor at the University of Adelaide, Associate Professor Sue Bastian.
Taste the Bass: Low Frequencies Increase the Perception of Body and Aromatic Intensity in Red Wine
Associations between heaviness and bass/low-pitched sounds reverberate throughout music, philosophy, literature, and language. Given that recent research into the field of cross-modal correspondences has revealed a number of robust relationships between sound and flavour, this exploratory study was designed to investigate the effects of lower frequency sound (10 Hz to 200 Hz) on the perception of the mouthfeel character of palate weight/body. This is supported by an overview of relevant cross-modal studies and cultural production. Wines were the tastants — a New Zealand Pinot Noir and a Spanish Garnacha — which were tasted in silence and with a 100 Hz (bass) and a higher 1000 Hz sine wave tone. Aromatic intensity was included as an additional character given suggestions that pitch may influence the perception of aromas, which might presumably affect the perception of wine body. Intensity of acidity and liking were also evaluated. The results revealed that the Pinot Noir wine was rated as significantly fuller-bodied when tasted with a bass frequency than in silence or with a higher frequency sound. The low frequency stimulus also resulted in the Garnacha wine being rated as significantly more aromatically intense than when tasted in the presence of the higher frequency auditory stimulus. Acidity was rated considerably higher with the higher frequency in both wines by those with high wine familiarity and the Pinot Noir significantly better liked than the Garnacha. Possible reasons as to why the tones used in this study affected perception of the two wines differently are discussed. Practical application of the findings are also proposed.
For the last ten days I have undergone a sensory immersion in the winemaking process, as the resident artist at Pollinaria. An organic farm and arts research programme in rural Abruzzo, Italy, Pollinaria promotes a productive fusion of art and science, human life and the environment, and includes a number of vineyards, as well as its own winery. It was here, towards the end of the 2018 grape harvest, amongst Pollinaria’s vines and fermenting wines that my oenosonic encounters unfurled.
Credit: Daniela d’Arielli / Pollinaria
My work as a wine writer has obviously meant much time devoted to tasting wine; professionally this has been predominantly within a rational framework: applying the knowledge I’ve built up through two decades of study and experience, and making aesthetic and quality judgments. This role has also seen me spend a significant amount of time in vineyards and wineries, very often accompanied by commentary from and discussion with whoever is my guide. In these professional visits, affective responses can be reduced, sensorial experience subdued and correspondences overlooked in this clamour of the conceptual. In contrast, this residency was very much focused on connection with the senses: with my own, within the wine environments experienced and with each other.
Credit: Daniela d’Arielli / Pollinaria
As my primary mode of enquiry in this residency was the sensorial, I started with a sensory mapping of both Pollinaria’s home vineyard and winery, avoiding the visual, whose dominance can so often blind us to what’s going on in other sensory domains. Much of this simply involved being present in the environments to tune into and note sensations as they arose. Just as I sought to overcome ingrained intellectual approaches within my relationship to wine, I sought to bring fresh ears to the sonic environments which were at once familiar, but quickly offered up many sounds that I’d not attended to before.
Credit: Daniela d’Arielli / Pollinaria
In the recordings that I went on to make in next part of the project, I returned to Pollinaria’s home vineyard and its historic vaulted wine cellar; the oldest parts of the latter date from the 15th Century when it was a monastery, which has been revived in recent years by Poillanria director, Gaetano Carboni. I endeavoured to capture both the audible experiences I’d noticed, as well as uncovering sounds that I’d not been able to hear through using a selection of different microphones; such as ants moving and communicating in the soil under the vines and fermentation deep in the barrels and tanks. I also tasted the wines, endeavouring to move away from mediating my experience through the mental creation of a traditional tasting note, to something that more closely reflected the raw perceptual experience. Given my background, this proved the hardest task of all!
These recordings, mappings, and sensory research will go be used in the creation a new wine-focused multisensory work in the coming year, in which sensory interactions shift perceptions on what is tasted, smelled and heard.
Pollinaria is unique residency programme, in being a working farm – growing the likes of grapes, olives and wheat organically – that offers artists the opportunity to interact with agriculture. This residency is not about an escape from city pressures to a rural idyll, but promotes a direct, creative engagement with the work of the countryside and its regeneration. With its own vineyards and now restored winery, Pollinaria seemed the perfect place for my creative research in the multisensory dimensions of wine. I was therefore extremely excited when I was invited by Gaetano Carboni to have a residency here in October 2018.
The removal of time pressures, combined with the complete understanding and support of Carboni as the vineyard and winery proprietor, was immensely valuable to this research and for the quality and diversity of recordings I was able to make. Much of my research was conducted in the Montepulciano vineyard close to the residency house, which I could walk over to in minutes at any time of the day (or night) that I chose. It was also an amazing experience working within its ancient wine cellar in the town of Loreto Aprutino, historically, aesthetically, acoustically and in terms of the taste I was given of first wines being made here.
Risonanze di Vino was a residency project in which I explored the interactions between the sounds and wines, culture and senses in wine regions within Campania, Southern Italy. Curated by Leandro Pisano and supported by Nicola Carfora, this project sought to uncover resonances between the sensory and affective connections of local winegrowers – predominantly located in Sannio/Valle Caudina areas – and their wines and land. These responses helped guide the making of audio recordings in their vineyards and wineries, which were then used in the creation of site-specific soundscapes for one wine from each of the six producers visited.
Masseria Fratassi’s Pasquale Clemente up Mt Taburno
Cantine Giardino’s Daniela di Gruttola and her amphorae
Each soundscape aims to reflect the connections articulated by the maker of the selected wine through sounds of that wine’s sonic ‘terroir’, sourced from its place and production. The individual soundscape was also designed to harness perceptual correspondences between elements of the sounds recorded and the salient aroma and flavour characters of the individual wine, which is tasted as part of the work. The wine and sound combined offers a sensory transmission of the complex cultural and personal contexts of the wine’s making, heightened by the works’ crossmodal harmony.
The works from Risonanze di Vino were premiered on 7 October, 2018 at Cristina Park Hotel, Montesarchio, Italy. The wines used were:
Masseria Parisi Resolje Moscato Spumante de Baselice NV
Masseria Fratassi SVG920 2017
Vallissasoli 33/33/33 2013
Fontanavecchia Libero Taburno Falaghina 2007
Cantina Giardino Bianco 2017
Cantine Tora “Spartiviento” Aglianico del Taburno Riserva 2011
Further and more detailed documentation may well be forthcoming!
“But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists … the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, ready to remind us, waiting and hoping for their moment, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unfaltering, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.”
Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time
When the narrator of Proust’s novel, In Search of Lost Time bites into a madeleine cake, he is involuntarily transported back to a joyful moment, which he comes to identify as that of sharing the cake with his aunt as a child. This power of taste and smell to powerfully trigger memories and emotions – which has become known as the “Proust effect” after this passage – is likely due to the fact that unlike vision, sound or touch, our olfactory system is directly connected to the amygdala and hippocampus, areas of the brain involved in emotion and memory. These very personal experiences that can be conjured up by smell and taste are something of which anyone working with these senses must be mindful. As an artist using both, I was interested to know how this might influence correspondences with the other sense in my practice, audition.
One of the central parts of my Culture at Work Art-Science residency was an audio-olfactory experiment in which I sought to identify correspondences between a selection of different sounds and aromas and gain insights into how these might be emotionally, conceptually or perceptually influenced. Past studies have identified sound-smell correspondences that people appear to share, and have started to examine what might be behind these. However, while the role of emotion has been explored and identified as one of the factors likely mediating audio-olfactory correspondences, no study to date has examined the personal associations and memories that may play a part in this. Given this gap, I was keen to incorporate this into my own research.
Assisting me in the experimental design, was my residency science partner, the cognitive neuroscientist and specialist in sensory processing and synaesthesia, Associate Professor Anina Rich of Macquarie University, and her colleague Mem Mahmut, a psychologist specialising in olfaction. On 19th July, 14 participants progressed round my series of ten “smelling stations”, where they’d rate an unidentified aroma for a number of characters. These characters included personal preference and perceptual characters such as harshness/softness. They were also asked to guess what they thought the aroma might be and whether the aroma evoked any personal associations or memories. A similar set of questions was asked for the six sound/music samples that were played over the course of the experiment. Participants went on to rate the match of each of the ten aromas that they encountered with each of the sound samples, and select a sound frequency level on a tone generator that they felt best matched each aroma.
A taste of the experiment is available at the Osmic Resonance exhibition
The results provided some fascinating new insights into audio-olfactory correspondences, which I went to apply in the creation of my residency exhibition, Osmic Resonance. I will be discussing these, and how I integrated them into the work, in the Osmic Resonances and Sensory Correspondences Talk that I’m giving on Thursday 9thAugust, which Anina Rich will be illuminating with perspectives on sensory interaction from her perspective as a cognitive neuroscientist.
The research continues within the exhibition, as participants are invited to provide feedback on their experience of the Osmic Resonance installation itself.
4-12 August, 2018 – 11am-4pm
Scott St, Pyrmont, Sydney
My audio-olfactory work, La Chevelure is part of reminiSCENT, an ambitious olfactory art exhibition curated by Megan Fizell at Sydney’s May Space, which surveys contemporary artists initiating multisensory experiences through olfactory encounters. As well as the 2016 audio-olfactory installation, this iteration includes La Chevelure Boîte à Souvenirs, a vintage hand-carved box containing a copy of the sound work, the scent and the Charles Baudelaire poem, La Chevelure.
“…mon âme peut boire / À grands flots le parfum, le son et la couleur” – Baudelaire, La Chevelure.
La Chevelure is an exploratory, immersive audio-olfactory installation that charts a sensuous journey through the waves of ‘synesthetic symbolism’ in the Charles Baudelaire poem of the same name. In his poem from the mid-1800s, Baudelaire created a dense tangle of multisensory imagery to evoke the poem’s conceptual and emotional content using the central symbol of a lover’s head of hair. This wafts layers of exotic sensory symbolism through the poem’s inner and external worlds, much of which is evoked through scents and sounds. In this contemporary interpretation, the poem’s mental imagery, symbolism and conceptual elements are transposed to actual sounds and scents, and current understandings of crossmodal correspondences – the universal tendency of a sensory feature in one modality to be matched with one from another sensory modality – are applied and explored. Sensory interactions are harnessed to elicit states of mind, creating subconscious connections that provoke powerful conscious perceptual experiences.
This week I have started a month-long Culture at Work Art-Science residency. This culminates in an exhibition of the resulting work between 4 – 12 August at The Accelerator Gallery in Pyrmont, Sydney.
In this residency, I am seeking to identify correspondences between sounds and aromas, examining what might be shared and what is personal, and how memories, emotions, preferences and culture may affect these correlations. I’m teaming up with the cognitive neuroscientist, Associate Professor Anina Rich of Macquarie University, who will be offering me insights into her specialist areas of multisensory processing and syneasthesia, which will both inspire and inform the final audio-olfactory artworks I produce.
The residency will also include a talk that’s part of the Sydney Science Festival, in which Anina Rich and I will discuss our approaches to the multisensory in our work. I will also be leading a Sound and Aroma Tuning Workshop during National Science Week, where participants can create and explore their own audio-olfactory harmonies.
Live audio-olfactory performance
28th January, 2018 – NOW Now Festival, Sydney, Australia
28th April, 2018 – Selectors’ Records, Vancouver, Canada
“When Locomotion No1 made the world’s first commercial steam journey in 1825 it created the first movement in the history of the railways, and of a whole body of musical work inspired by the iron horse’s subsequent noisy passage through the world’s once peaceful open country. While the train came to symbolise order, progress and freedom, its potential for unpredictability and disaster on the other – from runaway trains to derailments and crashes – evoked a mixture of fear and fascination reflected in and provoked by some of the sublime musical journeys which have incorporated its aural imagery.
Jo Burzynska, “The Sound of Steam.” Noisegate 13 (2006).
In preparation for the performance
Jump on board for a dromological journey illuminated by the sonic, kinetic and olfactory energy of locomotion and landscapes passed through at speed. In this live audio-olfactory performance – which follows the Stanier Black-Five vinyl release of Alone with the Black Spirits on the UK’s Rail Cables last year – I’m returning to my longstanding fascination with trains in my first ever rail-based work in Australia and featuring aromatic elements. The sound component will use my field recordings of trains made around the world, which is entwined with a congruent shifting aromascape that I’ve blended that applies my own and existing research into crossmodal correspondences, the universal tendency of a sensory feature in one modality to be matched with one from another sensory modality.
A few copies of the Rail Cables vinyl still available to purchase.
The Auricle Sonic Arts Gallery, Christchurch, New Zealand
June 1-24, 2017
Jo Burzynska’s Amazuppai work for sound and wine was part of An Audacious Decade exhibition at The Auricle Sonic Arts Gallery in Christchurch, NZ. Amazuppai uses the interactions between sound and wine to explore the physical sensations, conceptual contrasts and subconscious synergies of ‘sweet and sour’. The knife-edge balance between these two contrary but often complementary tastes and their semantic associations is explored in Amazuppai (the Japanese for sweet-sour, comparable to the idea of bittersweet). This is reinforced and destabilised through the interplay of a crisp off-dry Riesling with a modulating soundscape.
This work was created as part of Jo’s current doctoral research at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. In this, she is investigating the interactions between sound and taste and applying this in the creation of installations that work at the intersections of the senses.
Experience the fascinating transformations that occur when wine and sound combine at the inaugural Australian presentation of Jo Burzynska’s Oenosthesia, sound and wine project. Created from blending a soundscape of recordings made from the winemaking process with wines tasted during the piece, the work will premiere in Sydney on 1st March 2017 as part of the launch of the Writing Around Sound journal that Jo co-edits.
In Oenosthesia, Jo explores the way in which sound influences the perception of a wine’s taste and texture through the changing timbres and frequencies of the sonic element in combination with different styles of wine tasted during the work. Oenosthesia brings together Jo’s two professional interests as a sound artist and wine writer to create a unique experience based on the science of sensory interaction. The work was initially created as an installation from a “Suoni dal confine” artist residency in Irpinia, Italy and premiered at the Interferenze New Art Festival’s Factory of Art Rurality and Media 2012 in Tufo, Italy. It has since been presented at Rome’s MAXXI National Museum of 21st Century Arts, at Studio Sienko in London and at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and Physics Room Gallery in New Zealand.
Jo is currently engaged in research into the interaction of sound and taste as part of a PhD at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). This presentation is being made as part of this research, with participants invited to provide feedback via a short questionnaire at the end of the work.
Jo Burzynska has a career spanning two decades in wine and sonic art. As a wine writer and wine judge she has contributed to wine magazines and competitions internationally and is the author of the book, Wine Class (Random House). She is also an active sound artist, whose work in recent years has increasingly drawn on her interest in taste and olfaction in projects that include multisensory installations and performances, as well as establishing of the world’s first “oenosthetic” bar at The Auricle in New Zealand where she matched wines with the exhibitions and the sounds in the space. She also writes on sound and has had articles published in magazines such as The Wire and is the co-editor of Writing Around Sound sonic arts journal, the third issue of which is launched at this event.
New Zealand winery, Crown Range Cellar commissioned me to create a series of pieces of music specifically composed to complement its wines. The project employs both my own studies into the way perceptions of taste can be influenced by sound, and the current findings of scientific research into crossmodal correspondences. In the presentation on sound and wine that I am making at Pinot Noir NZ 2017 in Wellington, NZ, delegates will be able to experience the synergies between the music I composed for Crown Range Cellar Signature Pinot Noir and the wine itself.
The piece for the Crown Range Cellar Signature Pinot Noir was inspired by its rich and silky notes. A legato melody is played by a cello over a soundscape created from field recordings of the rich but bright tones of bells and the higher pitched sounds of birdsong. The deeper notes bring out the savoury character, while the treble of the birds enhance the aromatics and freshness, and the bell drone its smoothness.
For the Drowsy Fish Pinot Gris, I collaborated with electronic pop artist, Misfit Mod. The resulting music is an upbeat track with an ethereal pop sensibility that echoes the fresh and bright character of the wine.
To accompany the light and bright China Girl Central Otago Pinot Noir, I collaboration on a piece of music with Malcolm Riddoch. This features the smooth timbre of the traditional Chinese Hulusi flute that suits the supple texture of the wine, while the wine’s freshness is accentuated by the high-pitched backing to the traditional Dizi flute. The choice of instruments are also linked to both the wine and the label’s Chinese roots.
Jo Burzynska’s Alone with the Black Spirits has been released under her Stanier Black-Five moniker by the UK-based Rail Cables label on Rail Cables 2016. Those who know Jo’s longstanding interest in the sound of trains will appreciate what a great fit her work is with Rail Cables, a label devoted to showcasing new music inspired by train travel. Given her background, Rail Cables’ Stu Metcalfe also invited her to contribute the personal story of her sonic connection with the locomotive, which was beautifully transcribed by Kiran Dass and forms part of the stunning gatefold vinyl package. Copies of the album are available as a limited edition double vinyl gatefold LP or digital download from Rail Cables.
“Her piece ‘Alone with the Black Spirits’ is a 20 minute exploration of the sounds of a moving train. Since the conception of Rail Cables I have been hoping a musician / sound artist would attempt this. It seems so perfect that the task has been undertaken by somebody who cares so much about the attention to detail in the sonic manipulation of the sound of our chosen form of transport. Reminiscent of the work of Tod Dockstader, it is fascinating wondering how much of Burzynska’s piece is created from field recordings and how much editing has been involved. At times the hypnotic rhythms seem too perfect to have naturally occurred from the train itself. Yet this just helps remind us what a surprisingly musical experience travelling by train can be.” Stu Metcalfe
The recordings used on Alone with the Black Spirits were made on trains of varying eras and platforms in the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, Poland and New Zealand.
A train story (As reproduced in the inside cover of the release)
Curlews call and the soft syncopated panting of a steam train comes into earshot. As it builds in volume, the wheels on jointed tracks fall into a regular metrical beat, whistles blow and the birdsong is drowned out as the Stanier Black-Five thunders past.
A lull follows and then rain, through which another locomotive can be detected. This time its approach is an irregular jolting as it slips and labours on the rails before a loud hiss heralds its screeching halt. Then there’s a crackle and the sound of a needle hitting the end of the record. “Turn it over!” I urge, and my grandfather carefully flips the 45.
“Now this gradient is not as steep,” he explains as the B Side train breaks into a steady rhythm. “But hear how it changes as it goes over the bridge … and listen out for the bird when it reaches the other side.”
Many days of my early childhood I would travel like this, speeding through the British countryside and its towns with my grandfather, Stanley. Our only conveyance in most instances would be one of his train records; recordings made long before I was born of the last steam engines as they cut their final noisy passages across the country.
Sometimes these would have visual accompaniments, in the form of one of Stanley’s model train sets. I’d give the “right away” to a miniature engine, starting it on its trip as Stanley set off the record he’d cued up, breathing thrilling sonic life into their muted circuits.
Our excursions were driven by Stanley’s desire to share his passion for the railways on which he’d been raised. The son of a stationmaster, he’d longed to drive steam trains. It was a career derailed by a short sightedness that saw him become a teacher instead and the stridence of steam replaced by the subdued whirring of diesel. However, when he retired, he found in his similarly myopic granddaughter a willing companion to guide down the tracks he’d enjoyed travelling when young on these now decommissioned locomotives.
Forget the simple melodies of nursery rhymes and children’s songs; I revelled in the rich roar of the footplate’s fire. My lullabies were the pounding of pistons. I heard symphonies in the clatter and grinding friction of steel on steel.
When I was a little older, while the trains themselves were reduced to a distant rumble in my memory, they seemed to incline me towards similarly visceral and rhythmical soundscapes. But they were to return in full force on the eve of my family’s move overseas that heralded the start of my solo adult journey, when Stanley passed away and left me his record collection.
Alone with the black spirits which rage in the belly of rogue locomotives, the 33s, 45s and 78s offered comfort, conjuring fond memories of the happy hours I’d spent sonic trainspotting with Stanley. They didn’t simply hark back to a nostalgic age, but were heading forward to my next decade when they were to run through the sounds I myself would create.
Living with the vibrations of the Northern Line beneath me and Kings Cross Station metres from my house, my early adult years saw me once again immersed in train noise. It seemed fitting to mix Stanley’s records into this domestic environment, and before long I began incorporating them into my DJ sets. I found myself often playing only train records, which developed into performance pieces in their own right, culminating in the release of the Train Tracks 7” in homage to Stanley and his beloved historic recordings.
Fascinated by the sound of trains of all types I started documenting them myself: from steam trains on British heritage lines, through trans-European rail travel to Alpine crossings in New Zealand and the high speed bullet trains of Japan. These sounds have provided the material for numerous performances in recent years, as well as the track on this record.
I may now make my own recordings, but the impact of my grandfather’s vintage vinyl collection remains. It resonates in the way I hear the world and create my own work, living on as a powerful family legacy passed on to me in sound.
Studio Sienko – 57A Lant St, Borough, London, SE1 1QL, UK
Experience the fascinating transformations that occur when wine and sound combine at the UK premiere of Oenosthesia. In this multisensory sound and taste work created by Australasian-based sound artist, wine writer and multisensory academic, Jo Burzynska a soundscape created from recordings made in vineyards across the world works in harmony with a selection of wines that are tasted by the audience thoughout the piece.
In Oenosthesia, Jo explores the way in which sound influences the perception of a wine’s taste and texture through the changing timbres and frequencies of the music in combination with different styles of wine. It’s a work that both includes and is created from wine, bringing together Jo’s two professional interests to create a unique experience that draws on the science of sensory interaction.
The work was initially created as an installation from a “Suoni dal confine” artist residency in Irpinia, Italy and premiered at the Interferenze New Art Festival’s Factory of Art Rurality and Media 2012 in Tufo, Italy. It has since been presented in Australasia, as part of an exhibition at Rome’s MAXXI National Museum of 21st Century Arts and this special one-off London event is its UK premiere.
Before the presentation of Oenosthesia, Jo will provide a brief overview of the project and current research into the often powerful interactions between sound and taste. She’ll also demonstrate through the tasting of a couple of initial wines how music can enhance or detract from what you have in your glass and offer tips on matching wine with music at home.
The event is supported by Lant Street Wine and Sienko Studios with wines kindly supplied by Waipara West and Cloudy Bay.
Jo Burzynska (Stanier Black-Five) has a career spanning two decades in wine and sonic art. After starting her wine writing career in the UK, after moving to New Zealand she’s penned one of the country’s most widely read wine columns in the New Zealand Herald and is the author of Wine Class: All You Need to Know About Wine in New Zealand (Random House). She is also an active sound artist, whose work in recent years has increasingly combined her professional interests in multisensory installations and performances; the founding of the world’s first “oenosthetic”bar, at The Auricle in New Zealand where she curated a wine list to match the music in the space; as well as and running regular wine and music matching workshops. She is currently engaged in research into the interaction of sound and taste thorugh a PhD at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.
Jo Burzynska’s multisensory sound and wine work, Oenosthesia is being shown at Maxxi, The National Museum of XXI Century Arts in Rome. The work is presented under the umbrella of the gallery’s ongoing FOOD dal cucchiaio al mondo and is part of The Independent exhibition between October 27th and November 6th, 2015 showcasing the themes explored by the Interferenze Festival, for which Oenosthesia was originally created as part of an artist residency.
Developed on the basis of the project The Independent, dedicated to the mapping and presentation of independent spaces and thinking, this exhibition analyses the issues of food and nutrition, explored by the museum in the exhibition FOOD dal Cucchiaio al mondo.
The exhibition presents the interventions of three groups – Pollinaria, Aspra.mente and Interferenze – regarding three fundamental ingredients of the Mediterranean diet: wheat, tomatoes and wine. Each is added progressively to the other to produce a transparent palimpsest, visible in its entirety at the end of the project. A round table at the centre symbolically represents the convivial dimension within which the project exists. Each participating group has involved artists and architects to interpret the multiple and complex declinations of food: it becomes the vehicle for examining broader issues that affect the social, political and economic spheres of the present.
Following its premiere as part of the Mishearings exhibition at The Auricle in June, I will be presenting the film of my McGurk poem, Hearing Lips and Seeing Voices in Liverpool at the Illusions Parade in Liverpool on 25th August at Camp and Furnace.
The event is part of the European Conference on Visual Perception, but is open to the public.
“The ear subtly and actively connives to make what it takes to be sense out of what it hears, by lifting signals clear from noise, or recoding noise as signal… Perhaps, in this sense, all hearing is mishearing, and a kind of deterrence of sound.” Steven Connor, Earslips: Of Mishearings and Mondegreens
In Mishearings sounds are often not as they seem. In Jo Burzynska’s multisensory exhibition of sound-based installations employing auditory illusions, what is heard is manipulated or interacts with other sensory stimuli in a way that alters or intensifies the listener’s perceptions.
Jo Burzynska draws both on her own studies on the intersections between sound and taste, and current psychological research into crossmodal correspondences, which highlight the powerful influence the senses can have over each other. All the works in Mishearings harness multiple sense modalities to create experiences that function on sensorial, emotional and conceptual levels.
In Hearing Lips and Seeing Voices Burzynska presents an audio-visual poem that can be perceived in three ways that offer up very different meanings. This uses the “McGurk Effect”, an illusion that occurs when the auditory component of one word is paired with the visual component of another, leading the viewer to perceive a third different word.
Bittersweet is a work for 8 speakers and chocolate. Using field recordings made in Irpinia, Italy, the soundscape cycles between the low drones of modern equipment in the region’s wineries and the high pitched, traditional bells of dairy cows in its mountains. The fluctuations between pitch change the perception of the chocolate’s taste from bitter to sweet.
The brain’s ability to construct meaning through noise is harnessed in Poetry as I need it, an exploration of sound, silence, form and time using John Cage’s Lecture on Nothing. And all the senses entwine in Carbonic oscillation, a chamber offering a multisensory experience of effervescence, which participants are encouraged to experience with a glass of sparkling wine.
Burzynska will also be hosting a series of multisensory events over the month of the exhi-bition:
Jo Burzynska – who also records and performs under the name Stanier Black-Five – is a Lyttelton-based sound artist and wine writer whose work in these areas has increasingly converged in the production of multisensory art. Regularly combining sound and taste, her installations and performances are largely created from her own environmental recordings. She is also wine editor and columnist for the New Zealand Herald’s Viva magazine, and author of Wine Class: All you need to know about wine in New Zealand (Random House).
Stanier Black-Five performed Oenosthesia II at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery as part of the Lines of Flight Festival 2015.
This was a development of the Oenosthesia project that started at an artist residency in Irpinia, Italy and was the first time Stanier Black-Five had created a wine soundscape live around the flavours and textures of three different wines: in this instance a sparkling wine, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir from Quartz Reef.
A review of the festival by Dr Jonathan Marshall, which includes Stanier Black-Five’s performance, appeared in Resonate.
Jo Burzynska (Stanier Black-Five) is one of the founding members of The Auricle, the world’s first dedicated wine and sound bar. Every month she curates its wine list to complement the current exhibition, with wines matched to the sonic works playing in the space.
“There are strong synergies between sound and taste, with recent scientific studies confirming that what you listen to when you taste something – such as a glass of wine – has a profound effect on the perception of what you’re tasting,” explains Jo, a wine writer, sound artist and Vice President of the Cantabrian Society of Sonic Artists (CSSA), the group that established The Auricle.
“At The Auricle’s bar, the wines are specifically selected to match the music in the venue in order to enhance the appreciation of both,” says Burzynska, who will be drawing on both her own studies and scientific research in the area when choosing the wines on its list. “While wine and music matching events are gaining popularity around the world, as far as we’re aware this is the first bar entirely devoted to this concept.”
The Auricle bar opened its doors on Thursday (7 August), which coincides with the opening of its August exhibition, No Mean City by prominent local artist and CSSA President, Bruce Russell. It will then be open during gallery hours and evenings Thursday to Saturday.
The Auricle is an artist-run venue established by the CSSA, a group of local practitioners working in the area of music and sound. A charitable non-profit organisation, all proceeds from the bar will be reinvested into the running of the space and its gallery.
Over three years ago the bells of Christchurch Cathedral ceased tolling when the iconic building was destroyed in the major earthquake that shook the New Zealand city in February 2011. In Resonifying the City, Stanier Black-Five brought this integral part of the city’s soundscape back for the weekend of the Audacious – Festival of Sonic Arts, which joined her ongoing installation in Colombo Street that reflects the sounds of a once noisy thoroughfare back into the street.
The earthquake transformed the city soundscape dramatically, for a while muting the noise of daily life and removing some familiar sounds altogether. Resonifyng the City returns sounds to their old locations through a series of installations created from archival material and personal recordings.
Many people in Christchurch miss the sound of the cathedral bells. These returned to haunt the ruins of the building, evoking a nostalgia for what has been lost. The juxtaposition of this sound from the past chiming in what is now a very different city also aimed to provoke reflection on the change that has occurred since the bells were last heard and pose questions about the past and its relevance to the present.
The sounds for the installations were recorded around Christchurch by Stanier Black-Five, except the historic Christchurch Cathedral bells recording, made and kindly donated by Mike Clayton.
Avast! was created from field recordings made between 2009 and 2012 in Lyttelton, a volcanic harbour on the South Island of New Zealand. Sounds were captured at sites around the natural amphitheatre of this extinct caldera: from abandoned wartime bunkers on the top of the crater rim to the port and its cacophony of cargo ships, tugs and workshops. The work is also haunted by the resonance of buildings such as the Timeball Station, which were destroyed when the town was at the epicentre of a major earthquake in 2011.
Stanier Black-Five is the solo project of New Zealand sound artist, writer and curator, Jo Burzynska, whose audio work is largely based on her own minimally processed environmental recordings. She uses these to create dense soundscapes that use both industrial sources such as the pounding rhythms of trains to natural phenomena, such as seismic activity.
“Don’t be fooled by its mock-historical title, the album’s three pieces zero in on the disembodied sonic textures of modern capitalism. As ships dock and steel containers move in transit, engines whirr and grind, and relentless mechanical rhythms are punctuated with sundry creaks, bleeps and clangs.”
The Auricle presents an evening of seismic sound with Christchurch premiere performances of Stanier Black-Five and Zeug Gezeugt’s Body Waves – a work created from unique recordings of the Christchurch’s earthquakes – and Austrian artist, Klaus Filip’s 36 Days of Earthquake in Japan. The performances will be preceded by a talk by the artists on the music and acoustics of earthquakes.
Body Waves is a work created with the powerful field recordings of earthquakes and seismic phenomena made by Lyttelton sound artist, Stanier Black-Five near the epicentre of the February 22nd 2011 earthquakes. These will be tuned by local electroacoustic artist, Zeug Gezeugt to the unique resonant frequencies of the performance space, creating an infrasonic soundscape in which the audience is immersed in a visceral music that goes beyond the auditory system to be felt in the body.
Body Waves has generated considerable international interest and was the subject of a feature on TV3. After touring Body Waves around the world, the duo will be bringing it back to its Christchurch source for its first and final performance in the city. The event is celebrating the launch of their Body Waves album by the European Entr’acte label.
They will be joined on the bill by highly regarded Viennese performer, composer and programmer, Klaus Filip who will be performing 36 Days of Earthquake in Japan. In this sonification of the magnitude 9 Japan 2011 earthquake, Filip will be creating a live mix using raw seismological data from four different seismic stations played 4000 times fasterto make it audible.
Filip’s installation, Photophon is also being exhibited at the Auricle in the week leading up to the performance. Using the principle of Graham Bell’s invention of the “photophone”, the installation features a direct translation from sound into light and vice versa: you see what you hear, you hear what you see. Listen through headphones as the light signals are transformed into sound and every light bulb transmits a different frequency. The installation can be experienced on Sunday 24th: 2-5pm, Wednesday 27th 12-5pm & Thursday 28th 12-6.30pm
Artist Talk: 7.30pm
Performances start 9pm sharp ($5)
One of the most extreme and uncompromising musicians of the 21st Century is coming to New Zealand this November, performing in Christchurch on 21st November at the Dux Live with Stanier Black-Five and Acclimate.
Delving deep into otherworldly extremes of industrial, metal machine noise and beyond, Merzbow’s blistering output runs the gauntlet of his definitive brand of Japanese noise – from charred and blackened subterranean lows to interstellar cosmic highs. Punishing, remorseless frequencies pour forth in a relentless onslaught of pure sound, decomposing electronic textures devolve into tsunamis of brutal guitar wreckage.
Stanier Black-Five (Lyttelton)
One of the noisiest women in New Zealand music, Stanier Black-Five has been performing her unique brand of industrial musique concrete across the world for over two decades. Her work is largely based on the manipulation of her own environmental recordings, which she uses to create dense soundscapes that use sources such as mesmerising aircraft drones to the pounding rhythms of trains and more recently the sounds of the earthquakes that have shaken her city. This will be her first performance on home turf since her tour of Europe this September to promote her recent album releases on the UK/Belgian Entr’acte label. www.stanierblackfive.com
Acclimate (Rotorua) Without following clear guidelines, Acclimate marks its style by combining more aggressive and dark sounds of electronica with disorder and chaos, merging experimentation with confusion but managing to transmit a worthy solidity of the most academic artists. Noisy abrasive sounds collide with atmospheric patterns of tranquillity, layers of dark low-end rumblings hover over minimal textures of electronic experimentalism, and rusty and scratchy power noise beats clash with synthetic interstellar pad work to create a whole new dimension of sonic pleasure. www.samboygethelp.co.nz/#!acclimate
Special thanks to Asia New Zealand Foundation for their support of this tour.
Altmusic is a programme administered by the Audio Foundation www.audiofoundation.org.nz/altmusic with this tour part of Altmusic’s programme of independent & adventurous international musicians touring New Zealand in 2013 – special thanks to CNZ for their continued support.
Antwerp – Paris – Berlin – Warsaw – London
13 – 25 September 2013
New Zealand sound artists,Stanier Black-Five and Zeug Gezeugt are touring Europe this September to celebrate the release of their collaborative Body Waves album on the Entr’acte label. The album is the product of an initial series of live performances for which Stanier Black-Five created soundscapes from recordings she made at the epicentre of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, that were then transformed by Zeug Gezeugt to accentuate the lower frequency harmonics.
On their September 2013 European tour, they are proposing to make the final live international performances of Body Waves, creating a vibroacoustic environment in which the audience is immersed in a visceral music that goes beyond the auditory system to be felt in the body.
Body Waves has already attracted considerable interest both in Australasia and internationally. It was covered in the January edition of The Wire magazine and was the subject of a report on one of New Zealand’s major television channels.
Stanier Black-Five has created Stepping Out, an installation injecting the noise of daily life back into the earthquake ravaged CBD of Christchurch, New Zealand. Situated under a walkway, it reflects the sounds of a busy city back onto a once bustling central thoroughfare. As people increasingly return to the street the installation will gradually disappear into the clamour of a revitalised city centre..
“This work brings back the once rich sonic life of this central stretch of Colombo Street, which was once full of shoppers, travellers, revellers, cars and buses,” explains the artist of the work, which opened on Sunday 14th July under the walkway linking the reopened Ballantynes store with the abandoned The Crossing Centre. “The installation is created from the sounds of daily life that vanished from the area following the earthquakes.”
“However, with the reopening of the street and the rebuild of the area, these sounds will naturally return,” she notes. “They will merge with the installation, which will effectively be erased when the area returns to its former levels of noisy activity.”
The installation is ongoing over the coming months and is situated under the bridge in the block between Cashel & Lichfield Streets in the Christchurch CBD.
Stanier Black-Five’s performance at Silo 6 at the Audio Foundation’s Now! Here! Festival in Auckland has been released on the Touch label’s online arm, Touch Radio.
This performance in one New Zealand’s most reverberant spaces, harnesses the amazing acoustic properties of a complex of six disused cement silos on Auckland’s waterfront. After making a series of initial field recordings within the silos, Stanier Black-Five then re-introduced these into the same space as the source material for this powerful live work.
Writing as Jo Burzynska, Stanier Black-Five’s Global Ear column on the sound scene in post-quake Christchurch appears in the January 2013 edition of The Wire. She’s also curated a compilation of Christchurch music – including her Body Waves collaboration with Malcolm Riddoch – which can be listened to on The Wire website.
Stanier Black-Five is touring with Malcolm Riddoch in Europe: September 2012, with the following dates:
Ljubljana 14.09.12: Earzoom Festival – Body Waves
London 17.09.12: noise=noise – Global Resonances
London 18.09.12: ABA @ Goldsmiths University – Body Waves
Ljubljana 14.09.12 Earzoom Festival @ International Computer Music Conference – http://www.icmc2012.si/
Body Waves Body Waves is a live infrasonic performance whose primary sound source in this exploration of vibroacoustic perception are the unique recordings made by Stanier Black-Five at the epicentre of the recent earthquakes in New Zealand, which capture the vibrations of its massive aftershocks, collapsing buildings and subsequent demolitions. These are transformed by Riddoch to accentuate lower frequency harmonics in a spatial work spatialised through a quadraphonic set-up to immerse its audience/participants in this visceral music of the body.
London 17.09.12 noise=noise – http://nnnnn.org.uk/doku.php?id=noise_noise_170912 “Global Resonances”
Australasian sound/noise artists Stanier Black-Five (NZ) and Malcolm Riddoch (Aus) will be collaborating on a live work in three parts using both the natural acoustic resonance of the space in which they perform and that of a location on the other side of the world. Stanier Black-Five will start proceedings using field recordings made in disused cement silos in Auckland, NZ that harness their amazing natural reverb. Riddoch will then enhance this reverberant soundscape using live feedback techniques exploring the resonant frequencies of the soundscape within the performance space. Finally the feedback residue will play out within the space itself. From Auckland to a synthesis of Auckland-London to London acoustic spaces, Global Resonances traverses space-time through electroacoustic noise.
London 18.09.12 ABA @ Goldsmiths University, New Cross – Body Waves – http://aaaabbbbaaaa.wordpress.com/2012/07/19/aba08/
Oenosthesia is a multi-sensory installation exploring the synergies between sound and taste. The work was created during a Suone dal Confine artist residency in Irpinia, Italy in July 2012 from field recordings made by Stanier Black-Five within the region’s wineries and vineyards. Their different frequencies and timbres were designed to interact with selected local wines served at specific times during its performance. The installation was premiered at Interferenze’s Farm 2012 Festival in Tufo
Listen to Oenosthesia on Soundcloud. For the full multisensory experience, suggestions of wines to accompany its three sections are:
00:00 A mature Greco di Tufo or similar mid-weight white wine with some richness eg Chardonnay
06:00 A youthful Greco di Tufo, spumante/sparkling or comparable minerally high acid white eg Riesling
12:00 Requires a full bodied red, such as Taurasi or a Cabernet Sauvignon/blend
Writing as Jo Burzynska, Stanier Black-Five has contributed a chapter to Erewhon Calling: Experimental Sound in New Zealand, the recently published book edited by Bruce Russell, which offers a broad and fascinating insight into New Zealand’s experimental audio culture.
Erewhon Calling: Experimental Sound in New Zealand is a lavishly-illustrated new publication from the Audio Foundation and CMR. It is a survey of how a bunch of antipodean misfits and malcontents have forged new ways and new reasons to make noise, here at the end of the earth. Edited by Bruce Russell (the Dead C.), in association with Richard Francis and Zoe Drayton; the aim of this volume is to survey the full range of ‘non-standard’ audio practices in contemporary NZ culture. The book’s remit runs from the borders of composed art music, through improvised noise, to deconstructed ‘rock’n pop filth’; and every genre, every scene, every permutation of unconventional audio practice in-between. The aim is not to be comprehensive (there is literally too much vitality and diversity for any book!). The hope is to ‘throw a good handful of gravel into the pool’. While not every eel will have been hit, the surface will have been rippled from shore to shore, which is more than anyone else has even attempted before.
Erewhon Calling makes room for many voices, allowing multiple and possibly conflicting voices and points of view. A range of artists and informed commentators mainly tell their own stories, describe their own work, and outline their own goals in working on the fringes of audio culture. The readers of this important new source book will be able to discern their own meanings and make their own connections from this thought-provoking and unique publication.
Performing at the Now! Here! Festival on Sunday August 12th, Stanier Black-Five will be harnessing the amazing acoustics of the cement silos of Auckland’s Silo Park. In this performance, she will be building a soundscape using earlier recordings made at the site, re-introduced into the space with its phenomenal reverb.
THE NOW! HERE! FESTIVAL
August 10 – 12 2012
Tune into outrageous dimensions of audible activity!
Audio Foundation is very excited and proud to present the Now! Here! Festival – a three-day celebration with New Zealand / Aotearoa’s inventive and accomplished sound artists and musicians championing the experimental and avant-garde in all its multitudinous, intriguing and unpredictable forms.
Now! Here! Festival features a range of emerging and established sound artists who contributed to Erewhon Calling, a new publication surveying the vital experimental music scene in NZ to be launched on the opening night.
Legendary and internationally regarded artists such as trailblazing noise-rockers The Dead C, Coolies and Bad Statistics, experimental electronic figureheads Rosy Parlane, Omit and Rachel Shearer, exponents of adventurous improvisation Jeff Henderson and Peter Stapleton, innovative guitar expansionists Greg Malcolm and Bruce Russell; and such liminal talents as Sean Kerr, Stanier Black Five and Mr Sterile Assembly – plus many more visionary NZ artists over three days and nights will provide a rare treat for adventurous listeners!
Alongside the many performances will be Children’s workshops, Mongolian vocal classes, Sound Walks, Discussions, a live Cinema Event in collaboration with Film Archive and free daytime performances in the unique echo chambers of the Silo space in Wynyard Quarter
The New Zealand premiere of Body Waves, Stanier Black-Five’s collaborative earthquake work with Dr Malcolm Riddoch – part of a programme of experimental electronic music works exploring the natural harmonic resonance of one of the largest acoustic spaces in New Zealand – the Great Hall at Massey University in Wellington.
In Body Waves Stanier Black-Five and Riddoch tune Stanier Black-Five’s Christchurch earthquake infrasonic soundscape into the lowest fundamental resonant frequencies of the Great Hall to create music that goes beyond the auditory system to be felt in the body.
This is preceded by three solo works by Riddoch, in which he uses the Larsen effect (microphone feedback) to ‘ring out’ the unique resonant frequencies of an acoustic space. The four works track the evolution of his practice from simple pure tones through interference effects with acoustic instruments to the use of acoustically derived digital feedback controllers driving the electronic manipulation of sound. The only audio source for these first three works is the ambient noise within the acoustic space itself.
My journey in sound and wine leads me to Italy this week, where I’m taking up a “Suoni dal confine” residency in Campania. Over the period of the residency I’ll be working on a multi-sensory piece which will be performed in Tufo on 7th July. The work – which I have provisionally titled Oenosthesia – will be created from the field recordings I’ll be making in the vineyards and wineries of the region with the frequencies of the final piece designed to interact with selected local wines tasted by the audience at specific times during its performance.
It’s an exciting project given my strong personal and professional interests in both areas and could well be the first time a piece of gustatory/sound art has been created that employs both the sounds of wine as well as the wines themselves.