At around 12:00 AM on October 7, 1998 in Laramie, Wyoming, Matt Shepard was tied up and brutally beaten because he was gay. 18 hours later a passing bicyclist found his body and called 911. He died 6 days later in Poudre Valley Hospital in Colorado.
Made 18 years later in the same location, time, and day, this 18-hour binaural recording commemorates the day when Matt was found as he would have heard it through his own ears. It was the same landscape that Dennis Shepard so poignantly described in his courtroom speech:
"By the end of the beating, his body was just trying to survive. You left him out there by himself, but he wasn't alone. There were his lifelong friends with him - friends that he had grown up with. You're probably wondering who these friends were. First he had the beautiful night sky with the same stars and moon that we used to look at through a telescope. Then, he had the daylight and the sun to shine on him one more time- one more cool, wonderful autumn day in Wyoming. His last day alive in Wyoming. His last day alive in the state that he always proudly called home. And through it all he was breathing in for the last time the smell of Wyoming sagebrush and the scent of pine trees from the snowy range. He heard the wind- the ever-present Wyoming wind- for the last time. He had one more friend with him. One he grew to know through his time in Sunday school and as an acolyte at St. Mark's in Casper as well as through his visits to St. Matthew's in Laramie. He had God.
I feel better knowing he wasn’t alone."
These recordings are a document of the beginning of the end. The end of hate. The end of prejudice. The end of senseless violence. Matt's death was the catalyst for change that has and will happen. But the fact that this is not a unique instance and that this violence still happens today is an indication that we need to have the courage to do more and be more than who we are. The end begins with us.
The recordings are to be listened through headphones in order for the binaural recordings to be accurately experienced.