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Plugging into Image, Sound, Fiction by Wellington Artists

Plugging into Image, Sound, Fiction by Emerging Wellington Artists

Notes Architectonic: an upcoming exhibition interpreting the stories and places of Italo Calvino through illustrations and soundscapes
WELLINGTON, NZ, 1 August 2012 — A new exhibition at Wellington’s Thistle Hall Gallery 11-16 September will draw on ten stories from post-modernist Italo Calvino’s 1972 literary masterpiece Invisible Cities
Notes Architectonic, a collaborative project between illustrator Becky Routley and sound artist/composer Emi Pogoni, aims to capture worlds which traverse the real and imaginary.

"On the walls ten stories and ten discmans will accompany ten illustrations," says Pogoni. "Gallery sitters equip gallery goers with a pair of headphones (if they don’t have their own) to receive the works, enhancing the traditional gallery viewing experience through intimate amplifications. The reception of the works will each be bracketed by the act of plugging in and un-plugging. Elaborate black-and-white ink drawings and warped soundscapes layering binaural environmental recordings encourage goers to consider its sum: the personal act of reading, real and imagined worlds, and post-Internet era plug-in escapism."

In Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino uses dialogue between the two main characters as a meta-narrativic device to call attention back to the nature of reading or interpreting. Explorer Marco Polo tells the emperor Kublai Khan, with some creative license, of the cities he sees and how he understands them. They differ in opinion at times as they are both subjectively interpreting the cities. This is mirrored by the relationship between Italo Calvino and his readers, and the interpretations by Routley and Pogoni, and their respective arts practices.

“Part of the collaborative process is the clash of ideas, which is particularly apparent working with different media,” Routley says. “How these are settled makes or breaks the final work.”

The opening lines of Invisible Cities read: “Kublai Khan does not necessarily believe everything Marco Polo says when he describes the cities visited on his expeditions, but the emperor of the Tartars does continue listening to the young Venetian with greater attention and curiosity than he shows any other messenger or explorer of his.”

Notes Architectonic || A dialogue between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan; Italo Calvino and His Readers; Becky Routley and Emi Pogoni

6pm onwards, 11 September: opening night featuring acoustic sets by Wellington bands Fuyuko’s Fables and Other, plus drinks and nibbles
Fuyuko’s Fables are soon to release their new EP Everybody Is Weird
Other are soon to release their new EP What Use Is A Mouth To A Moth
Exhibition runs daily 10am-6pm, 11-16 September
Thistle Hall Gallery, corner of Cuba and Arthur Streets, Wellington City
Following the exhibition, prints and audio will be available online
For more information go to

About the artists:
Becky Routley is a freelancing illustrator and designer, holding a Bachelor of Design with Honours (First Class) in Visual Communication from Massey University. She designs the album covers and art for Wellington alt-folk band Fuyuko’s Fables (who are soon to release their second EP Everybody Is Weird), and accepts commissions.
Emi Pogoni is currently working towards a Bachelor of Music with Honours in Sonic Arts/Composition at the New Zealand School of Music. Emi recorded and mixed Wellington outfit Richter City Rebels’ debut album earlier this year, composed the soundtrack for the Try This dance production (choreographed by Fleur Cameron; Bats Theatre, June 2012), and is currently working on the soundtrack for the dance How To Make Friends And Still Appear Normal (choreographed by Natalie Clark; confirmed for Body Festival Christchurch September 2012; Tempo Festival Auckland, October 2012; Fringe Festival Auckland, February 2013 with other Fringe Festivals unconfirmed). She also volunteers time at the Adam Art Gallery, and as music director for the VBC radio station.
Technical explanation:
Binaural recordings are created by placing microphones into the ears, much like earbuds for iPods. Depending on the distance and direction of the sound source, sound travels to one ear and microphone before the other. Because of this and other acoustic phenomena, such as sound reflecting off the shoulders before entering the ear, when listening back to the recordings, it is as if you are in the original space. These work best played back through headphones.


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