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)
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
OVER hanging watery margins,
UNDER its thrashing leaves
insects chirrup and buzz.
birds feast and call, while
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
Suburban Odyssey (An Outset)
Pūharakekenui Source (Nunweek)Soundscape 05:16
Here raupō once whispered and a river flowed.
Then strange plants escaped surburban gardens
Colonising the riverbank,
And the city’s thirst drained these once wet lands.
Achilles heel is dry.
Inhale and listen.
Incense from an ancient Church blends
with the sweat and cut grass of the sports field.
Cheers coalesce with hymns,
and young voices offer a karakia.
With thanks to Father Barsom Ibrahim and the congregation of St. Mary and St. Athanasius Church, and pupils and staff of Harewood School