Oenosthesia UK premiere

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10. Recording wine in Irpinia, ItalyMonday, 5 September 2016 from 19:00 to 20:30

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.

Tickets are limited and can be booked here.

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.

Oenosthesia at MAXXI in Rome

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theindependentfoodJo 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.

 

 

Hearing Lips and Seeing Voices in Liverpool

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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.

mcgurksample

The event is part of the European Conference on Visual Perception, but is open to the public.

Tuesday, 25th August

6:00 – 11:00 pm

Camp & Furnace, Liverpool

Mishearings exhibition

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postcard_Mishearings_1-14 – 28 June 2015
The Auricle, Christchurch

“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:

Thursday 4 June (6pm) – Opening event: featuring Carbonic Oscillation in the bar
Saturday 13 June – Oenosthesia III: artist talk and live sound and wine performance
Sunday 14 June – Wine and music matching workshop at the New Zealand Boutique Wine Festival, Auckland
Friday 19 June – Wine and music matching workshop
Saturday 27 June – Sensation: a multisensory dining experience: collaboration between Burzynska, chef, Alex Davies (Shop Eight) and visual artist, Toshi Endo

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).

 

Realtime Arts Review

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reatime 126_coverA review of Stanier Black-Five’s Oenosthesia II performance at the Lines of Flight 2015 Festival by Dr Jonathan Marshall appears in the April/May edition of Realtime Arts magazine.

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Oenosthesia II at Lines of Flight

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11076533_10152851817742672_495935941_oStanier 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.

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Curating the world’s first sound and wine list

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Auricle picJo 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.

 

auricle.org.nz/wine-bar/
Her work at The Auricle on the opening of the bar was covered in an interview piece on New Zealand’s National Radio Morning Report programme.

Resonifying the city at Audacious

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Resonifying the cityOver 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 CameraZOOM-20140302145808716juxtaposition 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! (CD – Entr’acte)

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AVast Cover 158Avast! 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.”

Nick Cain, The Wire

Body Waves Christchurch premiere & NZ album launch

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Seismogram picThursday, November 28, 2013
7:30pm

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)

At The Auricle – 35 New Regent St, Christchurch CBD

Stanier Black-Five live with Merzbow

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Merzbow posterOne 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 

Presale tickets available via Undertheradar – http://www.undertheradar.co.nz/utr/show/SID/34356/N/Altmusic-Presents-Merzbow-with-Acclimate-and-Stanier-Black-Five.utr

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.

 

 

SOUNDING THE SEISMIC IN EUROPE

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Stanier Black-Five & Zeug Gezeugt

Antwerp – Paris – Berlin – Warsaw – LondonSB5-EQ-X
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.

Tour Dates:
13 Sep – Stadslimiet, Antwerp
16 Sep – La Miroiterie, Paris
18 Sep – NoiseAngriff, Berlin
19 Sep – Salon Bruit, Berlin
22 Sep – Kawiarnia Fawory, Warsaw
25 Sep – Club Jigoku, London

Stanier Black-Five’s tour was in part supported by:

CNZ logo

Stepping out: installation

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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.

Silo performance on Touch Radio

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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.

http://www.touchradio.org.uk/touchradio_91_stanier_blackfive.html

The Wire: Christchurch Global Ear column

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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.

UK/European tour

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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: sound and wine

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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    

Here Stanier Black-Five talks about the concept during the installation’s creation.

Listen to Oenosthesia (suggestions of accompanying wines underneath):

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

Erewhon Calling

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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 can be purchased online at: http://cmr.net.nz

About the book

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.

Silo performance at the Here! Now! Festival

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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

Contact admin@audiofoundation.org.nz for more information
Tickets 

Body Waves featured on TV3’s Nightline

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Body Waves, the collaborative earthquake sound project of Stanier Black-Five & Malcolm Riddoch featured on the Nightline programme broadcast on New Zealand’s TV3 on Friday 27th July.


Malcolm Riddoch prepares for Body Waves at the Great Hall, Massey University, Wellington NZ

Chimera, Wellington, NZ

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Sascha Perfect's Chimera -photo by Carrie Alford

Sascha Perfect’s Chimera -photo by Carrie Alford

Stanier Black-Five’s music featured in Sascha Perfect’s dance work, Chimera – premiered at The Body Festival in Christchurch (2010) and performed again at the Whitirea Theatre in Wellington.

 

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Body Waves in Wellington, NZ

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Venue: Great Hall, Museum Building Massey University, Buckle Street Wellington

Date: 8pm Wednesday, July 18, 2012

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.

Thanks to the support of the Sonic Arts programme at the New Zealand School of Music (a joint venture of Massey University and Victoria University of Wellington), Massey University College of Creative Arts  and the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).

Oenosthesia in Campania

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Wine & SoundMy 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.

Mixing things up

 

IAO library

Swotting up with IAO’s perfume library

Having only had one fairly brief foray into making perfume in the past, I was interested to see how I’d fare with more formal training. I hoped that my experience in assessing wine and some blending experience in that realm would stand me in good stead for my residency at the Institute for Art and Olfaction (IAO).

 

Before I started, I had an idea of what I wanted to create to evoke the imagery of La Chevelure, the Charles Baudelaire poem that I was working with. The perfume would have to convey three ideas: that of the sea, a dry fragrant forest and the exotic. But where to start?

 

IAO’s Saskia Wilson-Brown suggested my first task should be nosing through the samples in the perfume organ. As sniffing everything would prove impossible, and likely lead to temporary anosmia, I check out the vials that hold scents I think might suit my brief. The organ’s aromas provided an intriguing experience – from Cashmeran with its wood earthy almost fungal notes – that I earmarked for my fragrance – to more divisive aromas such as Indolene – redolent of decay with a whiff of the faecal – not appropriate for this piece but something I’d like to experiment with in the future!

 

After assembling my aromatic palette I set to work making the three “accords” that would combine to create my final smell-track – these are a number of aroma “notes” that are combined to create an effect akin to a musical chord. First up was the wood, which given there are so many woody extracts available, I thought would be the easiest to start with.

 

Wood accord blends

My top four wood accord blends – but which one to choose?

The process was one of trial and error, with each version’s ingredients and their proportions noted down for reference. After nine attempts I reached a combination that I was pleased.

 

This first attempt at fragrance mixing hadn’t been quite as hard as I’d feared. I’d made swift progress, possibly due to being smell-fit from my wine assessments. But I also certainly noticed similarities between this and my experiences of wine blending and even with the mixing and layering of the recordings in my music too.

 

With and with a decidedly worn out snout I called it a day, then well into the evening I was still haunted by – albeit pleasant – aromas of earth and wood.

Making crossmodal connections

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A visit to Occidental College’s multisensory labSasha & carmel small

While in LA I took the opportunity to catch up with cognitive scientists Carmel Levitan and Sasha Sherman at their multisensory lab at Occidental College. I was keen to learn more about their research into sensory interaction given Carmel’s previous research into crossmodal correspondences between music, odour and emotion and Sasha’s interest in the brain and art.

 

As well as pursuing their own research in the multisensory labs, Carmel and Sasha use with students to study how the different senses interact to influence a range of perceptual and cognitive states, and the role of social and emotional factors in mediating these states.

 

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Sasha demonstrated an interesting experiment investigating whether priming participants with the same rhythm before a task made them work better together in performing it. With Carmel I sniffed some of the unfamiliar scents created for one of her olfactory experiments – Sasha’s dog Nacho also got in on the act, who I suggested likely had the best nose in the room. However, they told me about a study that suggested that the power human’s sense of smell could be more akin to a dog’s if our noses were closer to floor level!

 

I discussed with them my hopes that the crossmodal congruency between the smells and sounds that I would be using in my project at the Institute for Art and Olfaction would result in bringing different elements of its scent component to the fore. We also discussed the issue of olfactory adaptation, which is when you stop smelling something after prolonged contact. I’d aimed to keep the sound piece I’d made fairly short, but at around 12 minutes, one would expect this to occur. However, I wondered if sounds could retrigger the perception of smells within the work.

 

It was a great meeting with some exciting common research interests that may well develop into future arts-science collaborations.

In residence at the Institute for Art and Olfaction

IMG_1869When I heard about Los Angeles’ Institute for Art and Olfaction a few years back it seemed like a dream establishment in which to explore the exciting potential of olfactory art. Now this month I’m its resident artist, learning about creating aromas to integrate into my multisensory practice with the resulting work opening at its gallery on 25th August.

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I have IAO director and founder Saskia Wilson-Brown as my tutor and the institute’s extensive perfume organ at my disposal. These first days I’ve been sniffing my way though the collection and selecting aromas I may want to work with as the aromatic element of my project at the space.

 

IMG_1873This work is inspired by the poetic imagery of the symbolist poets, and more specifically La Chevalure, a poem by Charles Baudelaire. The multisensory work I’m creating, like those of the symbolists, draws on the interactions between sound and scents to evoke states of mind. However, in this work, this state will be created not by words but by the sounds and scents themselves in an immersive sensory environment that sets out to blur the boundaries between its own artifice and the subconscious reactions provoked by the participant’s sensory responses.

 

As in my past work – in which I have created installations applying contemporary scientific knowledge of the psychological interactions of certain sounds and tastes -in this new installation I’m again applying some of the findings of current research into crossmodal correspondences between sound and odours.

 

Surrounded by so many intriguing aromatic components I’m feeling in my element and hoping this bodes well for my perfume blending skills!

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Resounding the Timeball

DSC03943Lyttelton-based sonic artist, Jo Burzynska is reconstructing the Timeball Station out of sound as part of the Lyttelton Summer Festival. Using recordings made throughout the historic building when it was standing, she will be creating a multi-speaker installation on its site in the footprint of the original building.

 

Before Lyttelton’s Timeball Station was destroyed in the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, Burzynska made extensive audio recordings of the building that were originally used in a performance at an event in the building hosted by the Borderline Ballroom. These ranged from the sound of the timeball itself being wound up and then dropped to documenting the audible environment of the building.

 

Completed in 1876, the Timeball Station was built to signal the time to ships in Lyttelton harbour, by dropping a large ball from its mast on its stone tower. This castle-like structure also included three storeys that provided accommodation, work areas and housed the clock.

 

While the building is no longer there physically, it will be present in sonic spirit for visitors to wander around all afternoon on 14th February. Burzynska will also be leading a one-hour sound walk around Lyttelton starting from the site at 1pm that day, which will explore the exciting acoustic terrain of this natural amphitheatre and encourage walkers to tune in to the shifting port soundscapes.

 

This event is being held in conjunction with Heritage New Zealand, who will also be on site to provide information about the building and the rebuild of its tower, which starts this year. The project is also supported by `funding from the Christchurch Community Arts Council.

 

Date: Sunday 14th February

Time: 1-5pm

Place: Timeball site, 2 Reserve Terrace, Lyttelton

Koha

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