Homing - Jenna Burchell

An interactive sound installation by Jenna Burchell - touch memories

11 Dec 2014

Homing is an unique instrument that allows an audience to wander through a forest of hundreds of glimmering copper strings, strung from floor to ceiling, to touch, listen and play their memories of home. Dogs barking, laughter, thunder, traffic, a piano - wherever you may be today, wherever you may live, each string of the artist Jenna Burchell’s touch-sensitive instrument Homing triggers familiar sounds that take you back to that place, real or imagined, where you know you belong, feel safe, breathe easily.

The travelling project Homing encourages audiences to talk about what home means to them in the context of diaspora. It is an opportunity to move diverse people to interact and exchange stories, embracing the differences and similarities that unite South Africans. This meticulously hand-built interactive environment has been designed to be an accessible and exciting meeting of contemporary art, sound and live interactive participation. The unique soundscapes are recorded and collected with the local communities prior to each exhibition. Some of these memories, conversations and ambient sounds are heard raw, others processed into intricate musical tones.

Homing began its journey in Johannesburg and has since been featured on the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, the Lovell Gallery in Capetown and most recently at the World Design Capital exhibition at the Capetown Stadium. The project intents to connect with London in 2015 to exchange a South African soundscape with a UK one and in exchange a UK soundscape with South African on its return. "Homing was first conceived a year ago in the isolated, birch forests of Hämeenkyrö, Finland where I spent a month in residence at Arteles Creative Centre. Since then Homing has been developed through generous sponsorships, pro-bono work and in-kind exchanges. I would like to thank; The Ithuba Arts Fund and National Arts Festival, Grahamstown and Lovell Gallery for sponsoring build, travel and exhibition; Leinster Grimes for the electronic engineering; CF and Werner from A Skyline On Fire for the Pretoria audio processing; Sebastian Jamieson for the Grahamstown audio processing; Peter Willers from Walro Flex for the Copper Pigtail; Astro Aluminium for the aluminium ceiling; Maldwyn Greenwood for the audio equipment; Morné Barnardt for photography; Jaydon Meidlinger for assistance with the structural plan; Schalk Erasmus for assistance with building the structure; Tamith Hattingh and Dominic Karayiannis for their support and finally to my parents Rob and Pat Burchell, for their support and unwavering belief in me, I couldn’t ask for more in life." - JB

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