Jo Burzynska – who also performs and records under the name Stanier Black-Five – is an Australasia-based sound artist and wine writer whose work in these areas has increasingly converged in the production of multisensory art. As a sound/multisensory artist she has exhibited, performed and released her work around the world, while in her role as an international wine critic and judge, she has written widely read wine columns and is the author of Wine Class: All You Need to Know About Wine in New Zealand (Random House).
Her installations and performances are regularly created at the intersection of the senses, often combining audition and the chemical senses (taste and olfaction). These include the sound and wine installation, Oenosthesia created from a Suoni dal confine artist residency in Irpina, Italy, which was premiered at the Intereferenze FARM Festival in Tufo, Italy (2012); went on to be exhibited at Italy’s national museum of contemporary art, MAXXI in Rome (2015); and presented in galleries in London (Studio Sienko) and New Zealand (Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Audio Foundation, Physics Room).
Her solo exhibition, Mishearings, was a series of multisensory installations that drew both on her own studies of sound and taste and the current psychological research into crossmodal correspondences that have shown that the senses can have a powerful influence over each other. In this, the sensorial and conceptual elements of the works were achieved by the interaction of sound with different sensory stimuli, which when combined, altered or intensified participants’ perceptions.
Jo performs regularly both in Australasia and internationally, often mixing her own field recordings live to create dense and visceral soundscapes. She has played alongside artists such as Chris Watson, Merzbow and Daniel Menche and presented her work at festivals such as London Musicians Collective’s annual Festival of Experimental Music in the UK to New Zealand’s Lines of Flight Festival. She has also had her music released, which includes the solo album Avast! (CD) on Belgium’s Entr’acte and Alone with the Black Spirits (Vinyl and mp3) on the UK’s Rail Cables label.
She was one of the founders and a curator of The Auricle Sonic Arts Gallery in Christchurch, New Zealand, the South Island’s only sonic arts gallery and public multichannel performance space. This included the world’s first dedicated wine and sound bar where she curated an “oenosthetic” wine list, in which wines were matched to the current exhibition and the music playing in the space.
As a writer she is actively involved with communicating about sound art, experimental music and wine. She is the co-editor of Writing Around Sound and has written for the likes of the UK’s The Wire magazine, Noisegate sound art journal, Berlin’s Datacide and contributed a chapter to the book Erewhon Calling: experimental sound in New Zealand, edited by Bruce Russell. In the area of wine, as well of writing a book on wine in New Zealand, she has edited a number of wine magazines (most recently WineNZ); was the wine editor for nine years of the New Zealand Herald’s Viva magazine; continues to contribute to specialist wine publications around the world and is an active senior wine show judge and panel chair at the International Wine & Spirit Competition. She has also worked in radio, hosting a number of experimental radio shows, on the UK’s Resonance FM to Christchurch’s RDU, and as a wine commentator on Radio New Zealand.
She is currently based in Sydney, where she is researching the interaction between sound and taste/aroma and the creative application of this for a PhD at the University of New South Wales Art and Design.