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It’s been a three-year journey for Adri De La Cruz and Marisa Demarco.
The New Mexico-based artists have utilized that time to create the elements that make up “The Mountains Wore Down to the Valleys.”
The sound and visual installation is currently on display at the National Hispanic Cultural Center Art Museum through April 23, 2023. It opened on Nov. 4.
“Marisa and I have been friends for a long time and we bounce ideas off of each other,” De La Cruz says. “I think we were having lunch when the idea for this came about.”
The multiphase exhibition begins with a sound experience that transforms over the course of 72 hours as 20 musical compositions on vinyl records erode over time.
Stories of strength emanate from another record that plays multigenerational interviews with one artist’s family members.
This record, a document of lineage, will endure. Once the musical compositions have worn away, etched portraits of the interviewees will be presented on the reverse side of each record on visual display.
The exhibit is an exploration of love, family, community, and the perseverance of generations. Each component symbolizes an experience – the grooves on a record much like mountains and valleys, the materials, strong and enduring, yet fragile and malleable.
Demarco is fascinated with how vinyl records are pressed and wanted to incorporate that into the installation.
“I love the physical mechanics of a record player and how the needle traverses the peaks and valleys of the records,” Demarco says. “I had the idea of painting a project of what is archived. We spent a long time thinking of the mechanism playing and each record being different. How do we turn it into something that resonates with us and has meaning for us.”
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In total, there are 21 record players.
Each plays a different record.
“I composed the music for each record,” Demarco says. “There’s an archival record featuring interviews that Adri did with her family members. I’ve done a lot of audio editing to create that record.”
Demarco and De La Cruz say each record will wear away, leaving the family voices speaking through.
“It’s about their survival and the trajectory through the family lines and memories,” Demarco says.
De La Cruz interviewed many family members for the piece and found it both emotional and grounding.
“Sometimes you feel very far from your family and when you get into these conversations with them, it’s deep and resonant,” De La Cruz says. “We are all connected and we have a deeply-rooted connection that’s been passed down through generations.”
Both artists want visitors to take away the message of love, family and the perseverance of generations.
“The family record starts with Adri’s grandpa, who was a migrant farmworker,” Demarco says. “All this stuff springs from those places as we realize how connected we all are, especially in New Mexico.”
‘The Mountains Wore Down to the Valleys’
WHEN: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday through April 23, 2023
WHERE: National Hispanic Cultural Center Art Museum, 1701 Fourth St. SW
HOW MUCH: $6 adults; $5 NM residents; $2 Torreón Tour; $3 for K-12 N.M. educators and administrators; free for youth (16 and under), NHCC Foundation members, foster parents and children in the custody of foster parents, and N.M. resident seniors (60+) on Wednesdays, at nhccnm.org

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