Art Processors partners with the Art Gallery of New South Wales

Art Processors, the experiential design consultancy, has partnered with the Art Gallery of New South Wales for a third audio experience, entitled Japan Supernatural.

Art Processors is pleased to have worked on another successful partnership with the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. The company produced the mobile experience for the gallery’s latest blockbuster show, Japan Supernatural, which is billed as a “cinematic experience for the ears” and has been enjoyed by nearly 40,000 visitors.

This show looks at the role of supernatural beings such as ghosts and spirits in Japanese art. The exhibition includes more than 180 works by Japanese artists, both past and present, including Takashi Murakami.

Japan Supernatural

Art Processors produced the audio experience for the exhibition, which guides visitors through the experience. The original score features haunting melodies combined with festive notes and dramatic percussion, as well as a ghostly lullaby. This all works to support the narration, provided by curator Melanie Eastburn alongside history and folklore experts Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt.

Toshi Sakamoto, one of the musicians behind the audio experience for Japan Supernatural at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, produced by Art Processors

The score was created in collaboration with Noriko Tadano, a Japanese vocalist and master of the Japanese shamisen, and Toshi Sakamoto from the famous Japanese Taiko drumming ensemble Wadaiko Rindo. Extra composition and arrangements were provided by Natural Progression Studios from Melbourne. 

Musical direction

From Art Processors, Creative Producer Becky Sui Zhen was responsible for the musical direction of Japan Supernatural. A team of Japanese and Australian musicians composed several tracks to complement the exhibition’s focus. The score combined traditional Japanese vocals and instruments with ambient sound.

Noriko Tadano, one of the musicians behind the audio experience for Japan Supernatural at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, produced by Art Processors

“It was an unusual project for the musicians in that it wasn’t scored in the traditional sense,” says Sui Zhen. “It involved quite a lot of improvisation on their part because we wanted their musical responses to the themes of the artworks.”

“We also worked very closely with the curatorial team, identifying in an early content workshop what curator Melanie Eastburn was hoping for the audio experience; her ideas and the tone of the exhibition. During recording, we were able to come back to that, the curatorial intent, and work out what we wanted to say through the music.”

“The Gallery was very involved in the process, providing feedback. But there was also a lot of trust and that comes from having worked together on a few projects now.”

A successful partnership

Art Processors has worked with the Gallery on two previous projects before this one. It created the Masters Audio Guide for Masters of modern art from the Hermitage show, as well as the John Russell Audio Experience for the John Russell exhibition.

The company worked closely with the Gallery to create immersive content, as well as providing the audio delivery platform which enables location-aware experiences.

“We’re not just working with Art Processors as a technical solution,” says Brooke Carson-Ewart, Head of Digital Engagement at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

It’s about collaborating around creating original content. That’s how we like to work. We don’t just call up and say, ‘This is what we want. Go away and create it.’ We are there every step of the way. Art Processors understands how we work and we’re able to create experiences for our visitors that get better each time.”

“For Japan Supernatural, Art Processors, and Becky in particular, worked very closely with the musicians to come up with something very beautiful, unique, and tailored to our product.”

Accessible audio content

Since the exhibition opened, guests have listened to the audio experience more than 39,000 times. 1,295 of these were on the show’s opening weekend. On average, visitors spend 62 minutes listening to the audio experience as they enjoy the exhibition. It is available in English and Japanese and is able to deliver content seamlessly as visitors progress through the exhibition, thanks to location-aware technology. 

The audio experience is easy to use and does not impact on the visitor experience – there is no need to press buttons as it plays automatically when it senses where the visitor is. Guests can also listen again after they leave, thanks to the ‘off-site’ mode.

Japan Supernatural is on show at the Art Gallery of New South Wales until March 8, 2020. The audio experience is free, and can be downloaded onto visitors on phone or listened to through devices available at the entrance. 

Art Processors also recently worked on Josh Muir’s WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND exhibition alongside digital animator Isobel Knowles at Victoria’s Bendigo Art Gallery.