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Sight And Sound Marry To Make Artworks Sing

From Kay Bazzard

It's a really interesting idea - to blend an artist's two consummate passions, the composition of music and painting, into an artwork which can be accessed by a specially designed app that reads an image and plays music specially designed for it. Serj Tankian, an Armenian-American musician and artist, will be in Napier to to exhibit his interactive artwork at Boyd Dunlop Gallery in Hastings Street over the Art Deco Festival.

Many will know him as the frontman of the metal band System of a Down. Each of the exhibited paintings is accompanied by a musical score composed by Tankian that can be accessed via the use of a mobile app called Arloopa, available free for iOS and Android devices. Using optical recognition, the app recognizes the painting and allows those at the exhibition to listed to the complementing musical score played through a smartphone or tablet and best experienced using headphones. The Boyd-Dunlop Gallery exhibition opens on February 16 and runs to March 6.

Richard Boyd Dunlop says, "I am excited about the show because it's very original and unusual work that fits well with this gallery."

Entitled 'See Music, Hear Art', the exhibit highlights Tankian's paintings and limited edition archival prints. Powerful, thoughtful and bold, Tankian's visual works and attached musical scores allow guests to have a multi-sensory experience and "hear" a composition. 

Tankian says, "The urge came to me in the discovery that music has become so temporal and devalued in the world today, so I wanted to create an exclusive experience...something unique for someone to hold so they become the only person to experience this. I'm aiming to have people SEE the music and HEAR the art, using a modern app."

Original artworks will be available for purchase with a selection of limited archival prints for sale. For details, see Visitors are encouraged to download the app ahead of visiting the gallery and to bring along with them a set of headphones to be fully immersed in the sight and sound user experience. To download the free Arloopa app, please visit