Playing the (Border) Wall

To Glenn Weyant, the fence between Nogales, Ariz., United States, and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico is a musical instrument

By Virginia Carico, WorldWideCitizens
Published on LatinoLA: December 12, 2011

Playing the (Border) Wall

Originally published at: WorldWideCitizens

A barricade. An eyesore. Protection. However the border fence between Nogales, Ariz., United States, and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, appears to you, Glenn Weyant sees it differently.

To Weyant, the border wall is an instrument.

"If a wall could be used to generate music, is it still a wall? And if it is an instrument, then can it be used to promote understanding and communication?" asks Weyant.

Weyant is a man who wears many hats. As it states on his business card: he is a journalist, an educator, a baker, an instrument builder and a sound sculptor.

"I prefer to call myself a sound sculptor rather than a musician [because] if I am a musician then there are certain expectations that can be fulfilled or not based on the listener," explained Weyant. "However, if someone hears I am sculpting sound they may be more open to the ideas and process because they do not have those preconceived notions."

In May of 2006, Weyant began to put his unrefined idea of playing the fence into action, creating The Anta Project. Through improvisation, he produced ten hours of sound with various tools and the fence itself.

"Acting on these ideas in 2006 came about because I saw it as a way to tell a story, share a narrative, in words, sound and images, in a way that was not being done. It was a form of sound journalism perhaps," said Weyant.

Students from Northern Arizona University, NAU, met Weyant on Nov. 4, 2011. Together, they played the wall on the Arizonan side of the fence.

"For me, it's an idea that I like a lot. My students can actually hear the metal of the border wall vibrate and play it and participate in that gesture of transforming a military piece of equipment, that's supposed to be a separation, into something that can actually draw people together and make them think about what's actually going on on the border," said Robert Neustadt, NAU Spanish professor.

Weyant has never received a musical response from anyone on the other side of the wall.

The sounds Weyant creates aren't conventional and wouldn't be categorized as popular music. But the message he hopes to send to his listeners isn't meant to be popular; it's meant to be raw, real and unique.

About Virginia Carico, WorldWideCitizens:
NAU journalism student.
Author's website

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