Initial research for the project began with an attempt to extract spatial clues through a leaked audio recording of a US Customs and Border Protection facility holding children. The recording was published on the news website Propublica on 18 June 2018 by journalist Ginger Thompson, along with a profile of one of the children on the recording who was reciting a phone number and asking for help.

I used audio software to extract the voices of the children and of CBP officers from the recording. Despite containing none of the prominent voices heard in the original, the extracted audio featured the haunting reverberations of crying children and the background sounds of the detention center. This helped to illustrate the concept of “din” or the unwanted background noise of the border and the silencing taking place within the asylum system.

(The image above depict a spectral analysis of both the original audio and the extracted, voiceless audio)