My Gracious Voices

In the summer of 1940, Charles Todd and Robert Sonkin visited the Arvin Migratory Camp with a portable phonograph recorder to collect music and stories for the Library of Congress. This digital interface explores those recordings and the original notes and photographs of these families who had been displaced by the Dust Bowl. Interactions programmed through p5.js encourage viewers to stay with the content.

Art Direction:

Dermot Mac Cormack

Each recording of spoken word or song acts as a digital poster. On each page, the user can tap to create unique on-screen interactions related to the content of the audio. A tune by a 9-year old yodeller features a line that warbles with her voice. A poem about life in the camp allows you to click and add photos that slowly fade. A discussion of the dust bowl engages swirling clouds that responds to touch and the recorded audio.

The project is built for the web using P5.js, a javascript version of Processing. The code is all open source, a parallel to the public domain nature of the recordings, photographs, and original documents that make up the site.