Mexican artist puts voice and sound in honoring the dead found along US-Mexico border

LatinaLista — The dead bodies of hundreds of immigrants found along the US-Mexico border is a haunting reality by itself but Mexican artist Luz María Sánchez has created a special sound-based art installation that makes 2,487 of these dead souls hauntingly come alive.

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The sad statistic reflects the number of dead who were found in the year 2004 along the southern US border. Like other years, the dead can be all too soon forgotten — their hopes, their motivations for risking their lives, the families they left behind and most importantly, their names.

Sánchez, through her installation simply titled “2487” creates an eight-channel sound piece that has as an “audible terrain” on which the names of each of the 2,487 are recited from various positions, mimicking the movement of people across the border.

Each death, that was recorded and filed, was re-recorded and refiled by Sanchez as individual sound files composed to play randomly, initiating organic patterns much like migration patterns themselves.

Sanchez pronounces each name in a strong voice that underscores the seriousness of the installation and the fact that it’s not merely a roll call of the dead. The sound elements and techniques, combined with Sanchez’s voice, create a living, breathing memorial to 2,487 people who took their last breaths afraid for their lives.

Catching all the names may be difficult and so the online exhibit features a database of the dead with their names, hometowns, where they were found and, if possible, cause of death.

Listening to the names of each of the dead can’t help but evoke feelings of helplessness and anger — helplessness that no help arrived in time and anger that so many people have been lost needlessly in the simple quest for a better life.

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