“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 environments. 

Jo Burzynska conducted the sensory walks during the city’s current unique phase of urban transformation, largely out of Te Matatiki Toi Ora The Arts Centre in central Ōtautahi 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.