In collaboration with the Hispanic Society Museum & Library, West Harlem Art Fund, Harvestworks, Endangered Language Alliance and recording artist Susie Ibarra,  2022


The Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese created a racial schism in the 15th century that has not healed to this day. The Transatlantic Slave Trade  impacted 18 million people alone from Western Africa, the Caribbean, and all of the Americas. Colonization in Southeast Asia, altered the social structure of that region permanently where it’s still dealing with identity.

Our focus on Spain’s role in the slave trade affects two communities of Black and Brown people in West Harlem and Washington Heights, NYC. Harlem became a haven for fleeing Black migrants from an oppressive Southern culture while the Dominican population in Washington Heights found new opportunities to escape crushing poverty.

To heal from devastating trauma, one needs to confront those demons to move forward. In Lingüística Sónica through sound, digital applications, and dance, participants can begin to confront the oppressive frameworks that kept their development in an arrested state for too long while learning to heal and forgive in a beautiful, peaceful setting where spirits can be at rest.

Venue Locations

Trinity Cemetery

Trinity Cemetery’s uptown site, straddles the avenue at 155th Street and Broadway. It has been active since 1843 and still accepts interments today. Unlike its southern locale, the northern cemetery benefits from the island’s topography where it rests on the large schist that elevates all of Northern Manhattan (West Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood).

Our Lady of Esperanza

The parish was founded by Dona Manuela de Laverrerie de Barril, the wife of the Spanish Consul-General in New York. Archer Milton Huntington, the railroad heir and founder of the Hispanic Society of America, was recruited to the cause and funded the project for the second Spanish-speaking Catholic church in New York. The church building was begun in 1909 to designs by Archer’s cousin, Charles P. Huntington. The building was enlarged and extended in 1924 by Lawrence G. White, son of Stanford White, including an addition on 156th Street. Previously, the entrance to the church, which sat on a hill, was by way of an outdoor brick stairway with terra cotta balustrades, but White’s addition allowed for an entrance at the street level, with the climb to the church occurring via an indoor staircase.

The first pastor, in 1912, was the Rev. Adrian Buisson, formerly pastor of the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe at 229 West 14th Street. Upon his retirement in 1952, the Rev. Francis Soutberg “was appointed Pastor until 1955 when Father Bernard Guillett assumed the position.

Hispanic Society Museum and Library

The Hispanic Society, a National Historic Landmark, was the foremost institution of its kind in the United States and a cultural cornerstone. The Hispanic Society of America Complex reflects a very important change in attitudes and understanding of Hispanic culture and Hispanic-American history in the United States.

Famous philanthropist Archer M. Huntington founded The Hispanic Society in 1904 as a museum and research library to provide Americans with resources and knowledge regarding their heritage from Spain, Portugal, and the directly related cultures of Central and South America. He was responsible not only for the Hispanic Society’s establishment but also for its immediate success.

Project Components

  • Sound Installations and App by recording artist Susie Ibarra
  • Community members sing their spiritual and devotional songs for healing in the Our Lady of Esperanza Catholic Church. Presented by all collaborators in a concert.
  • In the Hispanic Society Plaza, performers will play music and also recite verse/poetry in indigenous languages. Text will be projected in the outdoor performances. Digital work presented by Harvestworks.
  • Dance work in the eastern section of Trinity Cemetery between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway from 153rd Street to 155th Street. Presented by the West Harlem Art Fund.
  •  Languages for the project could be one of the following: Arawakan (Caribbean Maipuran) also known as Classic Taino; Dominican Spainish similar to Coastal Caribbean Spanish dialects, based on the Canarian Spanish dialect (West Andalusian) and strong influence from North African (Berber & Amazigh) and sub-Saharan West Africa; Southwestern Creole English related to kouri-vini or Louisiana Creole and Islenos; Samana English, related to African Americans moving to the Dominican Republican in the early 1820s. Presented by Endangered Language Alliance.


Executive Director & Chief Curator Savona Bailey-McClain Biography

Savona Bailey-McClain is Executive Director/Chief Curator of the West Harlem Art Fund, which has organized high-profile public arts exhibits throughout New York City for the past 20 years, including Times Square, DUMBO, Soho, Governors Island and Harlem. Her public art installations encompass sculpture, drawings, performance, sound, and mixed media, and have been covered extensively by the New York Times, Art Daily, Artnet, Los Angeles Times and Huffington Post, among many others. She is host/ producer of “State of the Arts NYC,” a weekly radio program on iTunes, Radio Public, Youtube, Mixcloud and other audio platforms. She is also a member of ArtTable, NYC Dance in Sacred Places and the Governors Island Advisory Council.

West Harlem Art Fund

The West Harlem Art Fund (WHAF) is a twenty-three-year old, public art and new media organization. Like explorers from the past, who searched for new lands and people, WHAF seek opportunities for artists and creative professionals throughout NYC and beyond wishing to showcase and share their talent. The West Harlem Art Fund presents art and culture in open and public spaces to add aesthetic interest; promote historical and cultural heritage; and support community involvement in local development. Our heritage symbol Afuntummireku-denkyemmtreku: is the double crocodile from West Africa Ghana which means unity in diversity.

Executive Director, Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center

Carol Parkinson is the Executive Director of Harvestworks, a digital media arts center located in New York City. Since 1987, her focus has been on the development of experimental artworks that explore sound, data and other emerging technologies. Parkinson’s professional services include participation at the New York Foundation for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Parkinson is the Executive Producer of the New York Electronic Art Festival, a series of workshops, concert performances and exhibitions centered on art and technology. Parkinson is the founding member of  TELLUS, the Audio Cassette Magazine, a cassette-based magazine of experimental music and sound art published between 1982-1996. Parkinson’s education background includes the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Skidmore College and the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program in New York City.

Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center

Founded as a not-for-profit organization by artists in 1977, Harvestworks has helped a generation of artists create new works using technology. Our mission is to support the creation and presentation of art works achieved through the use of new and evolving technologies. Our goals are to create an environment where artists can make work inspired and achieved by electronic media; to create a responsive public context for the appreciation of new work by presenting and disseminating the finished works; to advance the art community’s and the public’s “agenda” for the use of technology in art; and to bring together innovative practitioners from all branches of the arts collaborating in the use of electronic media. We assist with commissions and residencies, production services, education and information programs, and the presentation and distribution of their work.

Daniel Kaufman, Founding Co-Director

Daniel Kaufman co-founded ELA with the goal of bringing together linguists with immigrant and Indigenous communities in NYC who speak endangered languages. He obtained his PhD in linguistics from Cornell University in 2010 with a specialization in the Austronesian languages of island Southeast Asia. He joined Queens College in 2015 as Assistant Professor and also co-edits Oceanic Linguistics, a journal devoted to the study of the indigenous languages of the Oceanic region and Island Southeast Asia.

Endangered Language Alliance

Founded in 2010, the Endangered Language Alliance (ELA) is a non-profit dedicated to documenting and supporting linguistic diversity and endangered languages in New York City and beyond. ELA’s unique network of researchers, activists, and students documents the speech, stories, and songs of immigrant, refugee, and diaspora communities, bringing it to a wider audience. ELA’s work has been recognized by The New York Times, the BBC, NPR, CNN, and The New Yorker.

Dancer/Choreographer Hilary Brown-Istrefi

Hilary Brown-Istrefi is a New York City based choreographer, performer, and arts administrator, originally from Toronto, Canada. She is a graduate of École de danse contemporarine de Montréal, and has since performed for international dance and visual artists including Bouchra Ouizguen, Jillian Peña, Doug Elkins, Linda Tegg, and Candice Breitz. In 2013 she co-founded the award-winning performance collective, Same As Sister (S.A.S.), with Briana Brown-Tipley. Based in Toronto and NYC, S.A.S. was initiated to make experimental narrative performance accessible to a diverse audience through collaborative and interdisciplinary practices. Brown-Istrefi formed HB² PROJECTS in 2017, as a choreographic platform to expand her collaborations in performance.

Recording Artist Susie Ibarra Biography 

Composer, Percussionist, Sound Artist
TED Senior Fellow
Nat Geo Explorer in Storytelling Grantee 2020 USA Artists Fellow in Music 2019
Asian Cultural Council Fellow 2019
Yamaha, Zildjian, Vic Firth Drum Artist 

Susie Ibarra is a Filipinx composer, drummer/percussionist, and sound artist who creates live and immersive music that invites people to connect to their natural and built environments. Ibarra is a 2020 National Geographic Explorer in Storytelling, a 2019 United States Artist Fellow in Music, 2018 Asian Cultural Council Scholar supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. She is a Senior TED Fellow and a Yamaha, Zildjian and Vic Firth Drum Artist. Susie is passionate about working to support Indigenous music and culture (musika katatubo in the Philippines) and advocating for preserving freshwater through sound recording and research around glaciers and fresh water. New works include album releases a composer portrait album, Talking Gong, featuring her trio with Claire Chase and Alex Peh on New Focus Recordings (Jan 2021) in which the title piece is inspired by traditional Maguindanaon gandingan talking gongs; Walking on Water , Innova Records (April 2021) a series of spirituals performed by her band DreamTime Ensemble created with the paintings of Makoto Fujimura in homage to survivors and those losts in 3/11 and the great earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku Japan and to those affected by the climate crisis and Fragility Etudes which features a series of musical compositions which are studies into a world of sound that reflect humanity’s interdependence and mutual existence alongside the natural environment. In Fragility Etudes Ibarra’s dynamic score explores this interconnectedness through polyrhythms and concepts from the physics of glass. Alongside climate scientist, glaciologist Dr. Michele Koppes, Ibarra field records and creates works titled Water Rhythms: Listening to Climate Change , where they map from source to sink several of the largest water towers of glaciers and glacier melt to tell the story of the dualness of water, the universal connector of nature and humans. 

Links to listen and see work examples of Susie Ibarra 

Susie Ibarra, Fragility Etudes, Asia Society Triennial 2021 

Susie Ibarra
Talking Gong trio RouletteTV performance June 9, 2021 

Example 1
Water Rhythms Listening Room
By Susie Ibarra and Michele Koppes 

Water Rhythms : Listening to Climate ChanguPodcast on Counterflows 

Water Rhythms Installation TeD Countdown Rhythms sound sample pack with Splice. 

Water Rhythms Soundpack on Splice Explores 

Digital Sanctuaries Harvard link to digital and mobile soundwalk app iOS and iPAD harvard/ 

Example 3
Music and Water Routes of Fez link to digital mobile soundwalk app iOS and iPAd 

Example 4 

Susie Ibarra, Fragility Etudes, Asia Society Triennial 2021 

Example 5
Talking Gong Album digital and vinyl 

Example 6
Walking on Water
Music Album digital and vinyl ,
Susie Ibarra composer
Innova Records 

Hispanic Society artwork, Our Lady of Esperanza and Trinity Cementery Images taken by Savona Bailey-Mclain
Susie Ibarra photos are courtesy of the artist

Hispanic Society plaza images provided by the institution online