The number that provides the title for Luz María Sánchez’s sound installation in Battery Marcus Miller represents a disturbing tally, an attempt at quantifying the individuals who lost their lives crossing the United States−Mexico border between 1993 and 2006. Sánchez gives voice to those who can no longer speak by recording the name of each known decedent as a single sound file and allowing the collection to play at random — a continuous stream of sound emanating from different points in the space, alternately overlapping and punctuated by moments of silence. The sequence never repeats exactly, the rhythm never becomes predictable, echoing the uncertain terrain traversed in the Mexican diaspora, as well as the “elements of chance” that can have such profound impacts on migrant journeys. The effect is both hypnotic and chilling, lulling visitors with the poetry of the artist’s voice even as the piece underscores the tragedy of these deaths — whose actual total number is unknowable.
- Installation Views
A native of Guadalajara, Luz María Sánchez has a long-standing interest in the role of sound in art. Her works capitalize on the immersive potential of sound installations, invoking politically charged subjects that enhance the dramatic tension and poignancy for her audience. Recipient of the 2015 Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Arte grant from the National Institute of Arts and Culture in Mexico, she is represented in the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Bogotá and has exhibited her work throughout North America and abroad. She is a member of the National System of Art Creators.