Sway by Katherine Joyce-Kellaway

January – May 2016
Presented at 30Upstairs Gallery, Courtenay Place, Wellington
By Katherine Joyce-Kellaway
Composer Iain Gordon

This project, through an immersive installation, explores the shifting perceptions that we experience when we are in an unfamiliar space.

The project has its background with Katherine’s fascination of the ‘felt experience’ – when your mind and language are impalpable. An experience that is innately of the body of our bodily sensory perceptions – the practical physical interaction that we have with the world and the perceptions created by individual provocation of an environment. How our mind maps its orientation through our total body, our movement. Our sensory perception signals and our mind’s interpretation. It’s an exploration of what happens to our usual sense of what is “real” when immersed in a space distinct from the ordinary – where the editorial place of our senses takes control.

In this project, Katherine explores the use of materials outside of their original context to create a sensory dialogue for the visitor. A constructed transitional room allowing adjustment from the metropolitan bustle of Courtenay place, to a space appearing ethereal and fragile – one that is quietly fluxing. A room where walls and delineation of the space are disrupted. Where faintly glowing trees turned upside down, hanging like carcasses gently sway from the touch of visitor. A haunting soundscape evoking your past into the present. It is also a scentscape invigorating memory with notes of melancholy. This immersive environment intentionally takes the visitor somewhere briefly recognized yet unknown; producing subtle experiences of disorientation, displacement and dislocation.

Visitors to the work described it as…

Beautiful and magical…
Very disorientating…
Brought about creepy associations…

‘Smell made me think of lots of different things sometimes nice sometimes awful…’
‘I hadn’t thought about how we look for associations in sound like we do in an abstract painting until I was with your work – awesome!’

‘I couldn’t work out where I was in space, the size of the space was constantly in flux it appeared small and then you reached out and it was bigger. Then you thought there was space and there wasn’t.’

‘The combination of the elements of smell, sound and the use of things (tree’s) that are familiar to the everyday, that are turned upside down and from their normal state created an atmosphere, a space whilst beautiful was uncomfortable.’