Chorus of Refuge
A Sound Installation
Chorus of Refuge is a sound installation for six radios in which the stories of six refugee populations (Somali Bantu, Burundi, Afghani, Sudanese, Iraqi and Burmese) from six different cites across the United States (Portland, Phoenix, Amarillo, Omaha, Detroit and Indianapolis) are transmitted simultaneously to six radios in one space. The voices are harmonized and synced up rhythmically to unite their narratives. The chorus is divided into three movements that correspond to each refugee’s unique story: Home, Journey and United States. Chorus of Refuge creates an atmosphere for listening while visualizing the transmission itself. Six boom box radios sit on top music stands. Radio transmitters suspend from the ceiling, directly over each radio, appearing almost to be floating. Each voice is assigned to a different radio frequency. The location of the individual voices on the radio dial changes with each installation of the piece. This flux is indicative of the constant movement many refugees experience during times of conflict. Chorus of Refuge engages radios as a medium because this is the way most refugees receive news while in camps.