Border Cantos: Richard Misrach | Guillermo Galindo

Sight & Sound Explorations from the Mexican-American Border

Feb 26 2016 - Jul 31 2016

Through the lens of art, photographer Richard Misrach and composer Guillermo Galindo give presence to the thousands of undocumented immigrants who cross into the US each year and encourage a humanitarian perspective on the plight of all immigrants. By bringing the border down to human scale, and by putting politics in the context of individual human lives, Border Cantos offers a provocative response to the polarizing discussions around immigration reform that have dominated local and national politics, both today and throughout the history of this country.

Border Cantos: Richard Misrach | Guillermo Galindo premieres immense landscape photographs by Misrach and ingenious musical sculptures by Galindo. Galindo also composes original scores for his assemblage instruments, and recordings of his orchestrations will be featured in an adjacent sound installation. This exhibition highlights the poetic resonance among these images, objects, and sounds. Together, the artists bear witness to the human consequences of a highly militarized, hotly contested border zone. For example, Effigie, a sound composition by Galindo (played on a plucked string instrument made of hollow pieces of wood, string, and discarded clothing) literally and metaphorically amplifies Misrach’s haunting photographs of the human effigies he discovered in the desert.

Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website


Whether you go or not, Richard Misrach and Guillermo Galindo: Border Cantos, presents the unique collaboration between photographer Richard Misrach and composer and performer Guillermo Galindo. Misrach has been photographing the 2,000-mile border between the US and Mexico since 2004, with increased focus since 2009—the latest installation in his ongoing series "Desert Cantos," a multifaceted approach to the study of place and man's complex relationship to it. Misrach and Galindo have been working together to create pieces that both document and transform the artifacts of migration. Using water bottles, clothing, backpacks, Border Patrol "drag tires," spent shotgun shells, ladders and sections of the border wall itself, most of which were collected by Misrach, Galindo fashions instruments to be performed as unique sound-generating devices. He also imagines graphic musical scores, many of which also use Misrach's photographs as points of departure. A unique melding of the artist as documentarian and interpreter, the book includes several suites of photographs drawn from a number of distinct series or "Cantos," some made with a large-format camera as well as an iPhone. The book contains a compilation of two dozen sculpture-instruments, graphic scores, instrument designs and links to videos of performances by Galindo.


  • Installation
  • American
  • Contemporary
  • Political / Satire / Documentary
  • Richard Misrach
  • Guillermo Galindo

Exhibition Venues & Dates