At the Military Museums, Founders Gallery is exhibiting a series of photographs, called Walls Between People, alongside a sound art project by Glenn Weyant. These images capture physical barriers in tense zones prone to conflict, while aural atmospheres mix and echo them.
Photographers Alexandra Novosseloff and Frank Neisse have travelled the world to recount the legends of eight barrier walls. Haunted with an ever-present sense of danger, the photographs show remnants and reminders of prior interactions. The closeness of those things to real communities comes up often as graffiti, marking public reactions and resistance like a method of transcendence.
Weyant’s “border sounds” were developed from recordings he made interacting with surfaces at the Sonoran Desert division between the United States and Mexico. He tapped percussive tones on militarized infrastructure and played on its edges with a cello bow. He has been internationally recognized for his work, which has also been featured in films and books, and, last year, his performance of John Cage’s “4”33” on the Nogales Wall was added to the New York Public Library John Cage Trust retrospective. Weyant has also founded an innovative “Early 21st Century Border Wall Deconstructionist Movement.”
Unifying these separate projects in a single space creates interesting dialogues around the conditions under which they originally unfolded. Photographs from the Spanish coastal enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta in Morocco exemplify how these constructs can form beacons of wealth and a better life that are unattainable for Northern Africans on the other side.
Past tenses and removed foreign contexts can allow us to forget how close to home and instantaneous these things are in times of instability. Walls Between People is a thought-provoking, contemporary take on these conversations, as told through the lens of documentary photography, graffiti, performance art and unconventional methods of music-making that involves the spacious looping techniques we already know and love from other artists like Grimes and Andrew Bird.
You can get a better idea of Weyant’s work at sonicanta.com. Following its recent participation in Exposure, the show will continue until April 14.
By Cait Lepla
Photo: Alexandra Novosseloff