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Talking Art with Guillermo Galindo

The thought-provoking exhibition Border Cantos/Sonic Borders, currently on display at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, IA, explores the complexities of the American/Mexican border through photography, sculpture, and sound. Upon entering the exhibition space, the visitor encounters a soundscape which uncannily transports them to the Borderland region, and which allows them to contemplate more fully the challenging humanitarian, environmental, and political issues which the people attempting to cross it must face.

Guillermo Galindo is a sound artist and experimental composer who has created a series of sonic devices out of personal items which were abandoned and discovered at the Border. Using eight separate instruments, he created the 260-minute haunting soundscape that plays throughout the exhibition space while the visitor examines the expansive and large-scale photographs taken by the photographer Richard Misrach. Many of Guillermo Galindo’s sonic sculptures are also on display, including Huesocordio (2012), which contains bridges of vertebrae elevating the strings, the suspended Shell Pinata (2014), a sheet metal form covered in brightly colored empty shot gun shell casings, and Soundscape (2014), on which rusted nails, suggesting the border wall, can be plucked or stroked to create their distinctive sound.

Listen to the conversation here with Guillermo Galindo about the sacred objects from the Border he has worked with and his belief in the spiritual essence of an object’s past; the unique structure of his soundtrack which was built around the numerical makeup of the Mesoamerican Venus calendar; and his joy in observing visitors – particular the younger generations – experience the show.

Border Cantos/Sonic Borders is sponsored by Art Bridges Foundation and closes on June 5, 2022. Don’t miss the upcoming companion virtual talk by photographer Richard Misrach on Thurs, March 24 at 6:30 PM. You can register for his lecture here. The Figge Art Museum is located at 225 W. 2nd St. in Davenport.