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Mishearings – Jo Burzynska

Mishearings
Jo Burzynska
 4 – 28 June 2015

The Auricle, Christchurch, New Zealand

“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).