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Exhibition opening: Sarah Callesen, 'Drawing, Synopsis and Song'

12 Feb 2020 to 7 Mar 2020
Opens – Wednesday 4 July, 5.30pm (w. refreshments)
'Drawing, Synopsis and Song' celebrates the life and legacy of German astronomer and mathematician, Maria Cunitz, whose work was pivotal in the popularisation of Johannes Kepler’s 'Rudolphine Tables'.
Event type: 
Art, Exhibition, Live event
The Audio Foundaiton
The Audio Foundation 4 Poynton Tce. Sub-basement of Parisian Tie Factory Auckland


For the first exhibition of the 2020 Gallery Programme we are pleased to be showing Drawing, Synopsis and Song, a series of works by Sarah Callesen celebrating, through poetic translations as visual and aural artworks, the life and legacy of German astronomer and mathematician, Maria Cunitz.

“Just as matter makes sound, then, so does any process in which two or more material bodies come into contact with each other … Everything then is expressive, not only embodying a form but for ever forming an embodiment … Everything is in noise, and noise is in everything.” (Greg Hainge ‘Noise Matters’)

Taking inspiration from the numeric systems of musical notation developed by German conceptual artist Hanne Darboven (whose 1974 artwork gives this exhibition its name), Sarah Callesen has for several years been exploring the translation of image and sound, culminating in this collection of astrological data sets, represented as kinetic sculpture, sound, video, diagram, and drawing.

This collection of works is also informed by the life and legacy of 17th-century German astronomer and mathematician Maria Cunitz, whose contributions to astronomy were recognized in the naming of the Cunitz crater on Venus.

Central to Cunitz’s legacy is her treatise of 1650, Urania Propitia. The Urania consisted principally of a series of tables, refining and correcting the observations of Johannes Kepler’s Rudolphine Tables. Due largely to her immense capacity for understanding and clarifying Kepler’s tedious and complex logarithms, and also to her ability to write in both Latin (the then lingua franca for all things scientific) and also German, it is fair to assert that without Cuntiz’s contributions, the reach of Kelper’s work would likely have remained limited beyond the world of scientists and stargazers.

Opens: Wednesday 12 February, 5.30pm (w. refreshments from Liberty Breweries) with live performance from 7pm.
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 12.00pm – 4.00pm.
Closes: Saturday 7 March, 4.00pm


Sarah Callesen is an artist based in Tāmaki Makaurau, from Manawatū. She is currently studying towards an MFA at Elam, the University of Auckland where her research-based practice focuses on the work of influential women whose contributions have been lost, forgotten or otherwise maligned or concealed.
Sarah has participated in the 2018 & 2019 Projects exhibitions, Auckland Art Fair; group shows at RM, George Fraser, and Projectspace galleries. She was a finalist in the Molly Morpeth Canaday Award, the Wallace Art Awards, a merit winner and multiple finalist in the Parkin Drawing Prize.



Live performance, Wednesday 12 February

As part of the opening for this exhibition, Sarah has invited audiovisual artist Kitt McGregor to collaborate on a live sound visualisation, combining analogue audio signals with digital mark-making. Using modular synthesis and TouchDesigner, the artists will create an immersive 30 minute audiovisual experience, drawing out sine waves, notes and temporal frequencies. Callesen has previously explored the translation of image to sound in her art practice, referencing graphical sound experiments by Russian avant garde composers in the 1920s.

Kitt McGregor is an audiovisual artist based in Tāmaki Makaurau. Since the 1990s, McGregor has curated a number of multimedia events and festivals featuring international innovators. His work spans soundtracks, projection, sculpture and custom applications, with recent projects combining computer programming and modular synthesis to create real-time software environments.

Public discussion, Thursday 27 February

On Thursday 27 February, 7 pm, we are honoured to host Sarah and Carolle Varughese, Massey University STEM Engagement Leader, in a discussion of the exhibition’s themes and how they intersect with notions of sustainable diversity within the STEM sector in Aotearoa.

Carolle Varughese bio:
Carolle Varughese is an educator and a science communicator within the STEM sector. Being the only female Bachelor of Science student to graduate in Astronomy at her ceremony, in Aotearoa, she aims to break perceived stereotypes and encourage sustainable diversity within STEM.
In 2019 Varughese co-organised the event ‘Her Story – Defining Women in Astronomy’ which brought together successful NZ women/female-identifying astronomers for a panel discussion on how marginalised groups can engage in astronomy and do well at it. A core topic being inclusivity, diversity and intersectionality in STEM workplaces. She has also written about the lack of women of colour in science communication. Varughese is currently a STEM Engagement Leader at Massey University, educational group leader at the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand, council member for the Auckland Astronomical Society and founding member of the Space & Science Festival Society.