coming to unconsciousness
Sound installation for the shaft that runs parallel to the stairwell in the Maxon Mills space of the Wassaic Project. This installation, titled coming to unconsciousness, will use pre-recorded audio played back in the shaftway, an aural historical supplement and means of sonically locating the listener in the barn as they physically walk up and down the stairs.

coming to unconsciousness will supplement the immediate physical experience of Maxon Mills by offering access to an historical narrative from different perspectives: a composition of different audio references for historical moments of the area that may or may not be meaningful for the listener (the Wappinger Nation, now displaced; the Harlem railroad, one of the first to run from an urban center; Eagle Brand’s condensed milk, a forerunner to industrialization in agriculture; etc.)
The sample here includes recordings of steam engines, Algonquin native speakers and advertisements for Eagle Brand condensed milk, all significant historical markers for Dutchess county. As the listener moves up and down the stairwell, they are also using sound to understand their location, a fragmented audio recording that will unfold through it’s duration between meaningful and understandable to ambient and difficult to comprehend.

Leah Rico b. 1975, Buffalo, NY. Leah graduated with an MFA in Visual Studies from SUNY Buffalo in 2006. She has since exhibited sound work in traditional gallery spaces and at non-traditional sites on the east and west coasts. She currently resides in upstate New York, where she teaches at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Leah Rico's art practice explores the function of language in relation to identity. Most recently, she creates experiential audio works and installations that investigate speech, allowing language to find form through acoustic subtlety. Casting language as quintessence, Rico breaks down the sonic structure of speech, revealing its hidden histories and mapping its unspoken politics.
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