Mishearings exhibition

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Lips image4 – 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).

 

Music 101 Interview

Jo Burzynska and Auricle manager, Malcolm Riddoch

Jo Burzynska and Auricle manager, Malcolm Riddoch

Jo was interviewed about her work with wine and sound for a feature on Radio New Zealand’s Music 101 programme:

“This week, The Auricle Sonic Arts Gallery in Christchurch opened what it claims to be a world-first – a wine bar geared up to marrying quaffing with listening. Jo Burzynska, a leading wine writer and sound artist, curates a monthly wine list to match music, aiming to heighten the experience of both.

Gemma Syme went to the gallery to check out ‘No Mean City’, the new work by Bruce Russell, and ask curator Burzynska about matching wine and sound.”

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