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Events & ExhibitionsFeatured

What Might We Find When We Stop Looking?

What might we find when we stop looking?” was the question navigated over multiple walks through the city of Ōtautahi Christchurch guided by the nonvisual senses. In this exhibition, understandings and materials gathered on these often-playful pedestrian explorations led by multimedia artist Jo Burzynska, are used to create interactive multisensory installations that can be heard, smelled, touched and tasted. Revealing what could remain overlooked on the well-trodden paths of our visually dominated society, these works reflect, remap and reimagine the city, encouraging different connections with our urban environment.


Jo Burzynska conducted the sensory walks during the city’s current unique phase of urban transformation, largely out of The Arts Centre in central Christchurch where she was an artist in residence between May and July 2021. On her travels she recorded sounds, foraged wild foods and collected materials used for their textures and distilled for their aromas, which are incorporated into the exhibition. Some of these walks were made alone, but many were with others from varied backgrounds whose responses inform the works. These include members of the public, the blind and low vision community, and fields of urban ecology and planning, architecture and foraging. The exhibition’s Nurturing Quarter is a collaborative work with forager Peter Langlands and chef Alex Davies, and Temporal Quarter, with the composer/musician and urban planning academic Roy Montgomery.

This project was undertaken during The Arts Centre Christchurch’s 2021 Arts Four Creative Residency Programme, supported by Creative New Zealand and Stout Trust supported by Creative New Zealand and Stout Trust, and proudly managed by Perpetual Guardian. Opening preview refreshments sponsored by Pegasus Bay Winery and Cassels Brewing Company.

Artist biography
Dr Jo Burzynska is a multimedia artist, researcher and writer. Her central practice in sound spans experimental music performance and releases, through to sonic art curation and multisensory installations that regularly use her own field recordings. Also a widely published wine writer, her work in both areas has increasingly converged in the production of multisensory works that often combine sound, taste, touch and scents she has started to distill herself. She is actively engaged in research into sensory interactions and their creative application in her artworks. This research has been informed by collaborations with psychologists and sensory scientists, and was the focus of her practice-led doctoral research. Through her concept of sensory terroir and the contemplative deep sensing techniques she has developed, she is currently interested in how the senses can be used in aesthetic explorations of connections between people and place.


Exhibition preview: Tuesday, 1 February, 5.30pm

Exhibition runs: 2-13 February

Gallery: Pūmanawa Gallery, Boys’ High Building, The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora, 4, Worcester Boulevard, Christchurch

Hours: 11am – 5pm every day

Artist talk: Wednesday, 9 February, 6pm


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