Join multimedia artist, Jo Burzynska for a hands-, nose-, and ears-on exploration of her exhibition, “What might we find when we stop looking?”. The show is the culmination of a three-month project that sought to answer that question using a series of walks through the city of Ōtautahi Christchurch guided by the nonvisual senses. Jo will be talking about the project and the novel processes behind its interactive multisensory installations.
In this project Jo developed a new method of creative enquiry, which she calls sensuous psychogeography. This draws on the ideas of psychogeography and its critical walking practice, the dérive (drifting), a playful exploration of urban space that redirects pedestrians away from well-trodden paths to alter awareness of their environments. These took the form of sense-guided walks through the city; both alone and with others that included members of the public, the blind and low vision community, and fields of urban ecology and planning, architecture and foraging. Their responses informed the final artworks, whose sensory connections were further heightened by the contemplative practice of Deep Sensing Jo has also been cultivating.
As an artist who previously made works responding to the changing environments of Ōtautahi during the earthquakes and their aftermath, Jo sought to re-engage with the city’s current unique phase of urban transformation after recently returning from four years overseas. The city’s recent challenges have seen its inhabitants repeatedly forced to diverge from familiar paths due to natural and human disruptions, which resonates with the psychogeographical technique she developed during an Arts Four Creative Residency Programme between May and July 2021 at Te Matatiki Toi Ora The Arts Centre. The project was supported by Creative New Zealand and Stout Trust.
Dr Jo Burzynska is a multimedia artist, researcher and writer. Her 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 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.