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The Sound Mirror Project
The Sound Mirror Project
Installation and Socially Engaged Art Project
2018

The Sound Mirror Project, a collaboration between artists Libby Barbee and Bill Nelson, was borne out of a perceived need to bridge the gap between urban and rural human experience, honoring our shared relationship with the natural world and our shared responsibility to take care of it. Differences may exist on either side of this equation—from politics to stances on organics—but undebatable is a common desire to protect our land as a whole … its soil, its water, its seeds. We’re in this together.

Inspiration for The Sound Mirror Project comes from acoustic devices known as “sound mirrors,” which were used in wartime before the advent of radar to locate ships passing in the fog and enemy airplanes. Our own “mirrors” present sounds of nature through perspectives of Colorado farmers and ranchers, whose hard work not only puts food on all of our tables but, as important, ensures the land continues to feed us for generations to come.

Over the spring and summer of 2018, Libby Barbee traveled across Colorado asking farmers and ranchers to share stories and environmental sounds that define their relationships with the natural world. Bill Nelson, meanwhile, scoured farm and estate sales for material to build the sculptural mirrors that serve as vessels for the resulting audio compilations. The book contains abbreviated versions of the interviews conducted.

All together, the elements of The Sound Mirror Project provide a glimpse into the lives, passions, worries and efforts of the good folks who nourish Colorado and the world at large.