The Current

Gone With A Trace: The story of lost items on the US/Mexico border

A photographer and composer are designing a unique art project based on lost or abandoned objects found along the US-Mexican border because they want to call attention to the risks migrants face trying to enter the United States.
Photographer Richard Misrach and composer Guillermo Galindo have been collecting objects lost by migrants trying to cross the US-Mexican border and transforming them into instruments, hoping to give a voice to the statistics. (Richard Misrach)

Every year, thousands of migrants put it all on the line, making their way north from parts of Latin America and trying to cross through the sweltering no-man's land that is the U.S. border. Hundreds will die on their journey. Hundreds more will be picked up by border patrol agents. And every year, some will successfully slip into the Land of the Free.

Already, nearly one third of the border between the U.S. and Mexico is walled off by fences, and many Americans want to see that expanded.

But others, such as the California-based artists Richard Misrach and Guillermo Galindo, are calling instead for increased compassion.

These two artists are amplifying their message by designing a unique new art project. It's made up of the everyday objects that are lost or abandoned along the border by those seeking a better life.

We spoke to the artists for our documentary "Gone With A Trace".

Gone With a Trace

8 years ago
Duration 2:15
Every year, tens of thousands of migrants try to cross the US-Mexican border. Along the way, many lose or abandon items -- shoes, hats, books. Hundreds lose their lives. Photographer Richard Misrach and composer Guillermo Galindo have been collecting those objects and transforming them into instruments. To hear more, visit

This segment was produced by The Current's documentary editor Joan Webber.