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The Polyphonic Sea


8 July – 8 October 2023

The Polyphonic Sea presents the recent work of twelve artists from Aotearoa New Zealand. It explores the wealth of languages around us, from speech and writing, gesture and music, to the ongoing flow of communications from the natural environment.

The exhibition reflects two of Bundanon’s guiding principles: to create a working environment for artists through its onsite residency program, and to support a diversity of art forms. Many of the works were created or transformed at Bundanon from existing ideas and in conversation with the site. Some artists acknowledge their Māori heritage, drawing on First Peoples’ knowledge and language in the creation of their work. Others respond more broadly to the diversity of communication that surrounds us, from the human to the environmental.

Throughout the exhibition the artworks themselves speak multiple languages, jumping between art forms. A sculpture might temporarily become a musical instrument, a field recording could take physical shape, and a drawing might become a performance score. The artists embrace collaboration, drawing variously on a wide range of practices: photography, design, documentary and narrative film, choreography, music composition, field recording, weaving, painting and sculpture.

The Polyphonic Sea is choreographed to include moments of both sound and silence as individual works are activated throughout the museum. Engaging our senses, the artists invite us to consider the transformational power of listening. Their works draw our attention to the languages we overlook or fail to hear, recognising a world of non-verbal cues that are rich with meaning and celebrating the music of the natural world.




Recurring Program


Bundanon acknowledges the people of the Dharawal and Dhurga language groups as the traditional owners of the land within our boundaries, and recognises their continuous connection to culture, community and Country.

In Dharawal the word Bundanon means deep valley.

This website contains names, images and voices of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.