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Sound Composition
Echoes in the DustJohn Callegari and Mirjana Ursulesku

To create a multi-sensory experience, Heritage Village and Glass Curtain Gallery exhibits have also included a sound composition. Expanding on my use of incorporating sound with my two-dimensional works, the combination of the two provides a rich multi-sensory experience that establishes an emotional connection with the viewer. This original sound piece is composed of site-specific audio recordings taken along the I&M Canal. The sounds captured depict the labor force as they toiled constructing the Canal, as well as recordings of other ambient sounds within the environment.


I have recorded audio at various sites along the existing length of the I&M Canal. These on-site recordings capture a variety of sounds, including birds, footsteps, digging with a shovel, wind sounds, thunder, the tolling of an old iron bridge hit with a large branch, rustling leaves, and scraping and stacking limestone rocks and small boulders. Several recordings captured evocative sounds such as rushing water, water lapping against the banks recorded on different locations along the Canal, as well as the sounds of make-shift instruments created out of found objects, while other sounds were more peaceful. These sounds were then used as elements in the layered sound composition.


The locations from which I recorded the sounds were significant, as they represent following in the footsteps of immigrants of the past, transforming the past into the present. The heightened sense of a time long past is created through the use of the sound composition, aiding in transporting the audience through rich soundscapes, and allowing the viewer to use their own imagination to sense the lives of the immigrant workers. These sounds represent the echoes of the past and create a connection between artist, site, and listener, emphasizing the important historic events that have occurred in the space.

The audio piece, which is inspired by traditional Irish folk music, contains melodic interludes that echo these traditions. The audio piece, in concert with visual works, allows viewers to experience a sense of the life that existed for immigrant laborers of the I&M Canal, as they were a cheap and expendable source of labor.

I collaborated on the sound design with John Callegari.

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