The Anta Project is a series of improvised recordings made by Glenn Weyant in May 2006, by playing the border walls, fences and assorted ephemera found along the U.S./Mexico border in and around Nogales, Arizona.
The roughly 10 hours of recordings were then composed via multi-tracking and manipulation to create a single sonic collage.
The instruments chosen for this project were objects heavy with political and metaphorical symbolism found during the desert journey.
By turning the three-mile long Nogales Wall that cleaved the sister cities of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico and Nogales, Arizona, USA into a sprawling electro-acoustic instrument, the goal was to deconstruct its purpose and sonically prod the listener into a line of inquiry:
What is it I am hearing?
Why do these things exist?
Who is kept being in and who is being kept out?
Instead of being an implement of division, the wall was transformed into an instrument of creation with the power to unite.
Similar desert performances were carried out upon a leaking water jug (played with found mesquite sticks), a barbed wire fence (played with a cello bow), and a roadside shrine dedicated to travelers and police alike.
The sound of wind vibrating fence wires in the open spaces and the thumps of helicopter blades were also manipulated and recorded.
The recordings were obtained by attaching a contact microphone to the object of choice with a swatch of black electrical tape.
The signal from the microphone was then fed into a battery powered sustain/ volume/ compression pedal.
Unlike an ordinary audio recording where a microphone is used to capture signals as they enter the air, these recordings focused upon how the objects themselves internally interpreted the sonic world around them as well as my bowed and percussive applications.
All performances were closely monitored (and occasionally inspected) by armed agents of The U.S. Border Patrol, The Department of Homeland Security and The City of Nogales Police Department.
Since the initial release of The Anta Project in 2006, the borderlands in Southern Arizona have been played regularly which has led to the development of many new techniques. External amplification and extensive field recordings have also been incorporated into the process allowing for a dynamic documentation of the ever-changing borderland sound ecology.
In 2011, the original Nogales Wall made from helicopter landing pads was replaced with a new wall made from metal tubes filled with slurry.
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