Interview with Abby Manchaca

Our Sound Imprint
Honorary Mention 2023

Listening to music is a part of the human experience. A song can hold deep, powerful meaning and is capable of communicating our past back to us and introducing our history to others. Our Sound Imprint showcases how music can act as a personal time capsule by capturing the mark of thirty songs fifteen people associated with their most impactful memories. Each individual selected two musical pieces. One was tied to a memory of love, and the other, a memory of pain. The participants’ chosen songs were used to create two corresponding symbols representing the aforementioned emotions. The third symbol is a combination of the two, which, by holding each participants’ pain and love together in one place, represents the individual themselves.

The symbols were created from the physical imprint of each song’s audio waves. Crushed charcoal was used to create the visuals of a given song as it was being played through an amplifying device. The vibrational output of the amplifier moved the charcoal pieces into distinct forms, leaving a unique imprint on the underlying surface. Additionally, water was sprayed across the surface to improve saturation of color before the imprints were scanned and digitally adjusted for clarity and contrast.

Our Sound Imprint is purposefully simple. By relying on hand materials, its forty-five symbols capture an ephemeral moment from the participants’ lives while also urging its audience to think about what songs have been most impactful to them; which also propels viewers to consider what music they listen to and why they listen to it through a critical lens.

Abby Manchaca

Abby Manchaca graduated from the University of Houston with a BFA in Graphic Design in 2023. She enjoys a mixture of analog and digital media for minimalistic, ephemeral, and thoughtful work. Experimentation and research in combination with creative writing are the drivers behind much of her portfolio. Abby continues to pursue passionate and informative self-initiated projects with the goal of melding the visual, auditory, and writing arts. She is currently employed at Herring Design in Houston, Texas.