Arts Arts and Culture Exhibit Student Life

Artist spotlight: Princex Naveed

Artist, poet, and “critical pedagogue”, Princex Naveed’s recent showcase “Jarring Lots” exhibited four multimedia installations that constituted the creation component of their MA thesis in Concordia’s INDI program.

Between Jan. 17 and Jan. 19, “Jarring Lots” was exhibited in Concordia’s MFA basement gallery in the Visual Arts building. Upon entering the gallery space during the opening night, visitors were met with a warm welcome with wine and refreshments from the artist, whose clear intention was to create a comfortable and open environment. Galleries are notoriously stuffy, quiet, and riddled with unspoken rules for proper behaviour, however, it was integral to Princex Naveed’s showcase that care was taken to resist these norms. 

View of the gallery, Princex Naveed’s “Jarring Lots,” Concordia MFA sub gallery. Photo by Emma Bell / The Concordian

The gallery was filled with rich, ambient sound—an untitled, immersive soundscape work by Ghent-based filmmaker and poet, Helle Monne Huisman. The white-noise quality of the sound was a welcome rupture in the more familiar radio-silence of an exhibition space.

The central work in the gallery was their mixed-media installation titled “Tea, Sis!” A rectangular table was set up in the middle of the space, and was filled with red Solo cups—each with an individual tea bag. A small pile of didactic handouts were laid on the table for visitors, on which the artist had printed a statement about the work and the scholarly research that informed it, notably, the work of French writer and poet named Édouard Glissant. 

Detail of Princex Naveed’s “Tea, Sis!” 2024, mixed-media installation. Photo by Emma Bell / The Concordian

Tea, Sis! intends to counteract the sterility of the white cube by offering you a hospitable space, creating the potentiality for care_ful encounters between visitors and me,” the handout read. “The white cube” is a direct reference to Brian O’Doherty’s highly influential essay, “Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space, which offers criticism of the aesthetic of the gallery space as a pristine white void, and how this space impacts the viewing and value of art. 

Lining the gallery walls were 9 printed photographs which documented a performance inspired by Canadian performance artist Sin Wai Kin. According to Princex Naveed, the performance “calls into question mainstream definitions of nationality and culture as well as their underlying gender norms.” Born to a Polish mother and an Irani father in northern Germany, and now based in Canada, Princex Naveed’s own personal history traverses numerous nations and identities, and this performance celebrates that state of flux. 

Lastly, a cozy video installation titled “but i’d rather be a pickle than a cyborg-goddess” was situated in the corner of the gallery. The short video offered an intimate glimpse into the artist’s performative transformation into a dill pickle. 

Princex Naveed, “but i’d rather be a pickle than a cyborg-goddess,” Concordia MFA sub gallery. Photo by Emma Bell / The Concordian

“It was both mundane and highly meaningful to me, as it has emerged convergently in multiple ecologies I call home (Turtle Island, Eastern Europe, the Middle East),” Naveed said.

Arts Arts and Culture

The origin story of Miss Chief Eagle Testickle

Cree artist Kent Monkman and his long-time collaborator Gisèle Gordon discussed the process behind their recent book project recollecting the memoirs of Monkman’s time-traveling, supernatural and gender-fluid alter ego.

On Nov. 20 at the Grande Bibliothèque de BAnQ, an audience of primarily Concordia students and alumni were treated to a rare performance by Miss Chief Eagle Testickle herself. Donning a glittering transparent robe and sharp stiletto heels, Miss Chief orated an excerpt from her fantastical memoir, beginning with her eye-witness account of the creation of the universe when she was only a young elemental being. 

This was followed by her recounting of  her turbulent yet thrilling descent to earth, her erotic discovery of her new human body, and her horror at the brutal and neglectful treatment of the sacred belongings of the Indigenous people of Turtle Island (aka North America) she had come to know and love. 

Artist Monkman and writer Gordan’s new book weaves the origin story of Miss Chief into the intertwining histories of the Cree people and the colonization of Canada. True stories of real historical figures are told through the perspective of the imaginary protagonist—a familiar intervention to those already well-versed in Monkman’s prolific painting career. 

Miss Chief has long been a staple in Monkman’s body of work that seeks to challenge canonical representations of North America in the history paintings of 19th-century artists such as George Catlin and Paul Kane. Miss Chief interrupts the reductive colonial gaze through asserting a queer Indigenous subjectivity into Monkman’s historical scenes. 

Monkman and Gordan’s approach to writing Miss Chief’s memoir was largely informed by both of their backgrounds in performance art and film, and the text certainly lends itself to live oration. Listening to Miss Chief verbally recount anecdotal encounters filled with tension and rich, witty dialogue brought Monkman’s paintings to life and tied them all together into a fully developed narrative. 

After Miss Chief’s performance, Monkman sat down with Gordan to discuss the inception of the book project and the enduring process of piecing it all together. The collaborators had spread out prints of all of Monkman’s dynamic paintings and began sorting them into chapters of what would constitute the story of his central character. Monkman remarked how “the memoir became an exercise in filling in the gaps of her story,” and that he hopes to continue developing the life cycle of Miss Chief in future endeavours—perhaps a project inspired by Peter Paul Rubens’ series on the life of Marie de’ Médici at the Louvre Museum.

Volume two of The memoirs of Miss Chief Eagle Testickle: A true and exact accounting of the history of Turtle Island is now available in bookstores starting today, Nov. 28!

Arts Arts and Culture Student Life

A rose, a pomegranate and prose

Unyielding self-expression, vulnerability and trust emerged as through-lines between all of the night’s performances. Spoken word poetry, freestyle rap and stream-of-consciousness monologues revealed the artists’ emotional and spiritual depths. Each performance captured the artists’ respective grapplings with notions of selfhood, bittersweet memories of distant homelands, the intimate disappointments of failed relationships and the destruction necessary to rebuild one’s sense of identity. 

“Fruit moi, fruit toi; ouvrir une pomegrenade avec les dents, les pieds, les reins,” recited artist Elyanne Desaulniers after her performance—her white satin blouse drenched in the pink and red juices of a pomegranate. Desaulniers’ sensual and violent untitled piece left the audience in quiet awe as she crawled and writhed on the floor—partially nude—beating and gnawing at the fruit until it was nothing but a scattered pile of rinds and seeds on the sticky gallery floor.

Her evocative performance spoke to the complexities of transgressive desire, hunger and yearning, which are entangled in the mythology of the pomegranate as the forbidden fruit of the underworld. Desaulniers’ display of erotic aggression was ultimately a celebration of  exhibitionism—her dedicated photographer was very much a part of the performance—that sought to elevate and memorialise the messy and corporeal elements of sexuality.

Desaulniers’ photographer documenting her performance. Photo by Emma Bell // The Concordian.

Later, artist and writer Shaghayegh Naderolasli performed her meditative piece titled The Rose. Knelt in front of a small cutting board, Naderolasli recited fragments of memories and personal notes-to-self as she sliced the petals and stem of a red rose. As she worked, she remarked: “When I was walking from my apartment to the gallery, I realized that the rose was too red. The contrast led to comments, smiles, questionable looks. My rose kept me company through it.”

In the poem that accompanies the performance, the artist treats the rose as a living being that can listen, speak and watch. She—the rose—is an extension of Naderolasli herself. The rose in this work represents the artist’s understanding of her own femininity—one that has largely been constructed for her by external forces, such as the media and the culture that surrounds her.

Shaghayegh Naderolasli performing The Rose. Photo by Emma Bell // The Concordian.

In this performance, her actions mimic the preparation of culinary ingredients, drawing a visual connection between the iconic feminine symbol of the rose and the traditionally feminine domestic responsibility of preparing meals. Naderolasli is assertively responding to the expectations of conventional femininity through reworking the rose—taking it apart so that it could perhaps become something else that she can design on her own terms. Rather than discarding femininity, she is reinventing it, manipulating it and making it her own. 

The artist grieves the loss of the original flower—its conventional beauty, the way it draws attention, its simplicity—while understanding the necessity of its sacrifice. Indeed, this powerful metaphor speaks to reclamation, agency and rebirth.

Arts and Culture

PARADE: Embodying authenticity

Inspired by Dior’s intimate fashion shows of the 1950’s, Centre PHI hosts a celebration of inhibition.

A runway, but no models. A public that doesn’t know what to expect. A funny yet moving performance. Dancers in wedding gowns, rubber rings and underwear. A drag queen singing a cappella. Wigs, hats, high heels and bare chests. These were some of the ingredients to the recipe of PARADE.

Configuration of the space, Centre PHI, PARADE. Photo by Maya Ruel / The Concordian

PARADE, advertised as a playful and experimental performance by its creators, was hosted at Centre PHI on the night of Sept. 21. The public had been promised something unusual—a mash-up of dancing, singing, drag, fashion and much more. Yet nothing could have prepared the audience for the level of artistic freedom displayed on the runway.

“It’s a celebration,” explained Frederick Lalonde, producer of PARADE. “It’s about identity: without any shame or inhibition—who is your true self? We tried to answer that question through the artists’ performance.”

The idea of PARADE first came to creative initiator Carole Prieur during the pandemic. The project had been in the works for at least three years on the night of the performance. The inspiration for it came in part from Dior’s fashion shows in Paris in the 1950s, which often took place in apartments, and from the urge the pandemic created to reinvent oneself. It started out as a small project, likely to be presented in the privacy of an apartment, among friends only, but as it grew and brought more and more artists together, Prieur and Lalonde decided to take a different approach and made the show open to the public.

The public was driven to feel a whole range of emotions during the show: guest artist Klo Pelgag’s rendition of Voyage, Voyage had some people pulling out their handkerchiefs, while other segments made the public laugh out loud by their sheer provocation and absurdity. At times, the sexual tension on stage was so palpable that everyone seemed to be holding their breath. All masks fell—there was only authenticity in the showroom, on the part of performers and audience alike. For an hour, in this Old Montreal venue, anything was possible.

Chi Long performing at PARADE. Photo by Maya Ruel / The Concordian

The artists’ performances were vulnerable, open and fluid. The performers offered themselves wholeheartedly to the audience, inviting viewers  to abandon themselves in return. Since the show took place on a runway, the performers moved through the crowd, transforming the experience into something very personal through eye contact and physical proximity. Sometimes, a gown or a wig would even brush against a spectator’s leg.

The idea of a “celebration” evoked by the producer took on its full meaning when, at the end of the show, the dancers invited everyone in the room to come and dance with them on the runway. People of all ages, sexes, genders and ethnicities stood and crowded onto the dancefloor, swaying to the beat of the music, glued together, smiling, their heads full of art and freedom. It may well have been the most authentic and touching performance of the evening.


A performance on taboo, humanity, and self expression

Two Iranian protesters and their journey of performing across Montreal to spread awareness on issues regarding women, peace, and eliminating stigma

International Women’s Day on March 8 was extremely important this year. Many women around the world could not help but think of Iran and the thousands of women fighting for their freedom following the death of Mahsa Amini in 2022 for violating Iran’s strict rules on wearing the hijab. 

Born in Iran, Reza Azarpoor married a Spanish man, and dedicated his life to art, theater and performance. Mandana Zandi, also born in Iran, is a woman who has published multiple books and journalistic works. The two met at a performance a few months ago and have been performing together ever since.

Azarpoor and Zandi took to the streets of Montreal on March 8th to conduct a rather abnormal and intriguing performance, one that raised questions and made room for discussion. This piece did not focus solely on Iran or women specifically, but it was about the correlation between humanity and taboos when it comes to being ourselves. Neither of them spoke throughout the performance, but there was music playing in the background. The performance itself was a mix of dance, and theater. 

“It’s all about taboo and taboo has very deep roots in human history. I believe taboo should die,” said Azarpoor. “Taboo is a virus engraved in our society,” he added.

Throughout the performance, Azarpoor wore a dress and makeup, and brushed and cut his hair. He represented women not only in Iran but all around the world. He also represented shame, and the human in general. Zandi, on the other hand, was represented as a sort of “goddess,” which she explained was meant to portray mother nature. She held a mirror to him, and took care of him.

Their performance was significant because it reflected something new, something refreshing to us as a society. By combining art and passion, they were able to talk about taboo topics, societal pressure, gender roles, Iran, and much more purely through movement.

“The philosophy of the performance was about being a human being, not about being man or woman. Mandana was performing the inner human nature of every human being,”

Said Azarpoor. 

To him, gender roles and expectations are engraved so deeply in society that we forget who we are and forget the general meaning of humanity. 

He talked about being brave enough to exist in this world and stand up for who you are. Then, he abruptly looked towards the audience and showed feelings of sadness and failure.

“That was the pressure you feel from society. That society can be your brain at the same time if you let yourself be one of them,” explained Zandi. “Because he felt ashamed of wearing  makeup and a dress as a man, he didn’t let himself be happy. It’s not a matter that society accepts yours, it’s a matter that you make your own space in society,” said Azarpoor.

Azarpoor believes that, with these performances, he can give courage to at least a few people to do the same, or open their minds to a new concept.  “Like this, you give that courage and braveness to people who ever see you and you open a window in their brain maybe,” he said.

When you believe in yourself, as a lady, as a man, as a person, you can do everything because problems are always following us,” Mandana said. “When you understand a problem and how to deal with it, you will be victorious.” 

Silence was also largely reflected in the performance as they alluded to our responsibility as humans not to stay quiet. Azarpoor strongly believes that we need to fight for what we believe is right and help each other. 

“Your words have meanings and pressure and impact. Silence as well. You are responsible not only with what you say, you are responsible for your silence. If you are silent, you will be [a] victim,” said Azarpoor.
In one scene, he cut his hair in protest with Iran. “War will never stop,” said Mandana. We need to protest, as according to the pair, only as a united society will people open their minds and change their ideals.

Arts Photo Essay

Portraits of an emblematic figure of Montreal drag scene: Bambi Dextrous

For the ninth Monday in a row, drag queen Bambi Dextrous hosted a Trivia Night at The Diving Bell Social Club on Saint-Laurent

It is around 8:30 p.m. and The Diving Bell is full. Bambi Dextrous — a drag queen for over 10 years — has just arrived to greet the participants. As she stands next to the bar, we improvise a photoshoot before she goes on stage.

Before the quiz begins, the drag queen likes to introduce each Trivia Monday with a traditional lip-sync performance.

After the show, time for reflection. Our host gets ready to enumerate the questions that she tailor-makes for each quiz night.  

Forty general knowledge questions later, Bambi Dextrous gives the audience a last performance before announcing the winning team.

Sitting under the stage, I try to capture as many movements, facial expressions, and colours as possible.

It is almost midnight when Trivia Night comes to an end and Bambi Dextrous invites me into the dressing room to take some final pictures. In this more intimate environment, I get to learn more about this multidisciplinary artist who combines passions for modeling, make-up, or acting in front of the camera. Beyond drag, Bambi Dextrous hopes to develop her acting career as well.


The lightness of paradise and the reality of purgatory embodied by the new Marie Chouinard production

A dance production imitating Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights 

Jérôme Bosch’s dance production was created by choreographer Marie Chouinard in honour of the painter’s 500th death anniversary. The performances took place at Usine C, located in the Gay Village, based on the famous oil painting located in El Prado in Madrid. 

The space is made of concrete and the stage can be accessed by climbing steps. When one walks in, it appears vast, as sounds resonate and are heightened from one corner to the other. There’s even a bar on the lower level.

The performance was organized in three acts, representing Bosch’s triptych painting. It started with a display of paradise in the centre, followed by the purgatory from the right panel, and ended with the joining of Adam and Eve from the left panel. 

The final show was entirely full, tickets completely sold out. It was exhilarating to sense the excitement in the room at a representation of a painting admired by so many. 

Before the dancers appeared, a screen in the back showed the painting of the earthly delights, closing up on scenes that would be imitated. 

As the act of paradise started, dancers entered the stage with animalistic movement, the first two resembling insects. The dancers entered one after the other, moving with inhuman contortions.

As they came on and off the stage, two rounded screens on either side of the stage showed the details in the painting that were being imitated in the dance. These imitations were both remarkable and hilarious, as the dancers contorted their bodies to emulate Bosch’s characters. 

Though the dancers were nearly naked, save a small string over their lower stomach, there was nothing that could be sexually perceived, as their movements were so deformed from anything remotely human. 

The superfluous movements captured spectators’ attention and at times produced bouts of laughter in the crowd. 

The second act made everyone regret the first. As purgatory descended upon us, we were submerged in darkness. Light fell slowly on one dancer, who was standing on two buckets yelling into a mic in her hands as she contorted her body at disturbing angles. 

Screeches echoed across the room; maddening noises — sounds that traumatize the mind — building craze within the audience. 

Even when the sentiment of true purgatory was sensed in the audience, the dancer did not stop her shrieks. This served to push the comfort levels of the audience, and show a very real instance of hell, as horrid sounds were uttered into the mic, everyone was regretting paradise. 

Witnessing her distortions and hearing her cries produced a sentiment of insanity within me, that I could not brush away for hours after the performance. 

Subsequently, dancers entered the scene creating a catastrophe within their purgatorial movements. As one dancer was shown repeatedly sliding off stairs never reaching the top, another was running around widely shoving their head into a dumpster. They were all moving randomly, acts of utter strangeness, creating an immense racket. 

The final triad was from the Garden of Eden. Two eyes were displayed on either screen, showing Adam waking, and staying in a trance as he gazed at Eve. 

The actors’ movements were so slow in this episode that it seemed impossible. Dancers who previously seemed utterly distraught were now united in synchronized movements, representing either Adam or Eve, in duos. They metamorphosed into a paradise form far from reality, cutting off from the previous hell.  

When the performance ended, the dancers were showered with claps from the audience. People stood up and applauded for over five minutes, which is quite a while in the realm of appraisal. Emulations of paradise and purgatory were created with such precision that they could be felt by the audience. This impeccable work left spectators stunned at the beauty of it.


SIGHT+SOUND: a festival that expands beyond linear definitions of art

Dancing While Waiting (for the end of the world): an exhibit that makes you question the intermediate between one’s body and the inevitable apocalypse

The 12th edition of the digital art festival, SIGHT+SOUND, took place at the Eastern Bloc from Oct. 26 to 30, and performances will continue until Nov. 12.  It’s a festival that primarily aims to provide a platform for emerging artists.

The curators of SIGHT+SOUND are Sarah Ève Tousignant and Nathalie Bachand. 

After two years of moving to an online format during the pandemic, this edition of the festival comes in full force as people are able to interact with the artwork in-person once again. 

The Eastern Bloc was founded in 2007 and is an art center that brings together technology, art, and science. It provides a laboratory space, proposes workshops, and hosts exhibits. SIGHT+SOUND’s theme this year is Dancing While Waiting (for the end of the world). 

The festival is composed not only of an exhibition section but also of a series of dance performances and musical and audio works/installations. It plays between the grounds of definable and uncategorizable artwork. Venues are located all across Montreal. 

The main exhibit was packed into a small rectangular room. Upon entering, one was immediately drawn to a table on the right side of the room that was organized with a series of pillow computers and screens. 

Table at entrance of exhibit – ESTHER MORAND/THE CONCORDIAN

On the left, visitors could raise a tablet over hanging clothes, and view a green body shaped into a dress through the screen. 

Screens were installed at either end of the room, displaying videos of artists’ works. People could use headphones to listen, which created a sense of isolation from the rest of the exhibit as visitors’ eyes and ears were entirely fixated on the short video. Strange and almost human-like figures appeared on the screens. 

In the middle of the room, two large panels perpendicular to each other showed two video screenings simultaneously, while a TV lodged at an angle displayed a TV prompter. One video, tinted in red, showed a woman racing, while the other displayed dancing bodies — some drawn, and some in live-action. 


The sharp contrast of black words on the white screen offered a clear reflection of the seriousness of the statement. The text was set as a sort of conversation, discussing climate anxiety and the inability of humanity to focus on saving itself. 

The festival sought to retract individuals from their preconditioned lives surrounded by technology, and allow them to reflect on their states of servitude. It was intended to bring awareness to social spaces, and reappropriate what it means to be in contact with one another.


Why Do We Dream?

The performance featured improvisational dancing, singing, and digital orchestrating. CATHERINE REYNOLDS/The Concordian

By Lily Cowper and Ashley Fish-Robertson

The RISE Collective’s fifth experimental mini-opera explored lucid dreams as the last frontier for the unsupervised imagination

(Editors’ Note: This article was originally published without mentioning the original creator of Why Do We Dream?, Valentina Plata, who is a second-year Electroacoustics student at Concordia. Why Do We Dream began as a final project in Plata’s independent study, later coming to fruition after collaborating with RISE, and she is officially credited as having “sparked and driven” the show. See more of Plata’s work here.)

On Thursday, March 17, a performance in collaboration with Concordia’s Music Department and the Concordia Laptop Orchestra (R) sought to explore and recreate a lucid dream state using improvised sound, lights, and movement. 

The fifth performance in an ongoing series of mini-operas, Why Do We Dream? was put on by RISE, the newly-developed research cluster tied to Le PARC Milieux (part of Concordia’s Milieux Institute). RISE, which stands for Reflective Iterative Scenario Enactments, is led by Dr. Eldad Tsabary, co-founder of Le PARC as well as associate professor and coordinator of Concordia’s electroacoustics program.

Dr. Tsabary also works at the graduate level with students in Concordia’s Individualised Program (INDI), many of whom participated in the show. The applicant-led degree path allows students to combine interdisciplinary subjects to forge unique research paths, making connections between diverse genres of study. It makes sense then, that their collaborative efforts would result in performances like Why Do We Dream?, described on the Facebook event page as “intersensory” and “massively collaborative.”

All RISE performances are meant to operate in this way. Once an idea sparks interest, a research-creation team made up of Concordia professors and graduate students collaborate to combine many different mediums and techniques into one show. Each RISE performance re-envisions a different fear-based “cataclysmic” disaster through the lens of an opera, while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of what it even means to create an opera. The intention is to investigate both human consciousness surrounding various modern disasters, as well as the opera’s collaborative production experience itself. 

Every mini-opera in the RISE series has been executed differently. The first two premiered digitally during the pandemic lockdowns. Mixed messages, No Pants was highly experimental, taking form as a live-streamed computer orchestra where COVID-related memos sent out by the university were used as libretto. In contrast, Personal Pandemic was a full-scale planned film production with developed characters, scripts and composers. The third performance, Returning to the Trees was a stageless performance using experimental recordings taken deep in the forest. A fourth opera, Cyber Identity Crisis, premiered privately last month to a small group of Art History students. 

Why Do We Dream? was the natural next step for RISE organisers to challenge the traditional opera format.

The recent performance focused on an AI-controlled future and cyber surveillance, exploring the lucid dream as the last frontier of unsupervised imagination. This in-person format integrated many of the previous operas’ elements, complete with music by the CLOrk orchestra, strange costumes and masks by PhD INDI candidate Oonagh Fitzgerald, and live coding by Dr. Tsabary, a type of performing art where images and sounds are dynamically projected by writing computer codes in an improvised manner.


Upon entering, it’s clear that Why Do We Dream? was meant to replicate what it might feel like to walk through someone else’s dream — or nightmare, depending on how you choose to look at it. 

“It’s a dream,” Dr. Tsabary explained. “It’s supposed to be unexpected. I want whoever’s coming in to be overwhelmed by it.” 

Wandering between the three rooms, actors, some masked and some not, sang and recited lines that sounded as if they’d been plucked directly from someone’s mid-sleep garble. According to Tsabary, the libretto was written using phrases pulled from actual dream journals.

Visitors who paid special attention to each room were afforded the chance to appreciate small, and at times unusual, details. In one room there were several dice, all positioned so that the number five was facing upwards. Several inquisitive visitors could be seen reflecting on these details, with some attempting to make sense of their presence.

The first room, with its profuse darkness, featured an individual sitting inside of a tent, surrounded by string lights. From inside the tent, the performer treated visitors to a simultaneously captivating and perplexing sonic experience consisting of eerie sound effects. These effects included squeaky violins being played, the distant sound of alarms, and clicking noises. A breathtaking view of Montreal’s skyline served as the backdrop, complementing the performance. 

The second room was much more spacious, and featured a brilliant mix of artistic practices consisting of dancing, painting, acting, playing music, and more. Walking into this room was disorienting to say the least. There was a lot to take in. Despite the diverse display of mediums all occupying the same space, the performance in this room maintained a remarkable unity.

The final room appeared to pay tribute to the enigmatic and even spiritual nature of our dreams. One person wandered around the room handing out tarot cards, while two actors sat on the floor of the room observing their own choice of cards. It was unclear whether they were satisfied or discontent with their choices. Additionally, another person made the rounds of the room, handing visitors small white pieces of paper. Each of these papers had a message scrawled on them. For example, one of them, in delicate handwriting, read: “dancing is like painting but with your body.”

The opera’s libretto was written using phrases from dream journals. CATHERINE REYNOLDS/The Concordian

It’s impossible to not appreciate the amount of work that went into bringing this interdisciplinary event to life. Each space offered a unique opportunity for visitors to lose themselves in the unfamiliar, while perhaps reflecting on and attempting to decipher their own dreams in the process. 

RISE is one of several interdisciplinary initiatives at Concordia where researchers with diverse interests can come together using their unique expertise to explore artistic mediums while investigating important issues in society. Why Do We Dream? subtly showcased the in-depth works of both undergraduate and INDI graduate students who seem to not only be interested in the RISE experiment, but in collaborating with each other. 

For this reason, the subject matter for this show was particularly fitting. The convergence of so many different talents may have appeared odd or disorganized, like dreams tend to be, but that messy network of connections is likely the key to a more holistic understanding of our modern world.

“I don’t see things as messy, I see them as [..] multiplicitous,” explained Dr. Tsabary, on the collaboration process behind Why Do We Dream? and previous RISE performances. “[It is] something involving a lot of people, each one contributing their own thing, and it comes together to be something very interesting.”

The next mini-opera in the RISE series will take place on April 7, and is anopera about personal losses due to technological failures,” as described by Dr. Tsabary. The play will explore the immortality of online presence. 

Keep up with RISE events and discussion sessions on, or at Le PARC Milieux.


Photos by Catherine Reynolds


Art event roundup: spring edition

By Ashley Fish-Robertson & Véronique Morin 

Here are nine noteworthy events that are worth keeping on your radar!

With the end of another school year approaching and the onset of warmer weather, more people will be flocking to the city’s cultural venues. As The Concordian wraps up their last print issue of the school year, our arts editor and assistant arts editor share nine events to kick off springtime.   

Photo by Catherine Reynolds

Infographic by Simon Pouliot


Sam & Angèle: a comforting performance

The performers invite their audience to explore the harshness of daily life and the softness of boredom

In a cozy atmosphere, on a stage filled with fabric objects, Samantha Hinds and Angélique Willkie perform the comforting Sam & Angèle. Initiated by choreographer Sovann Rochon-Prom Tep, the 50-minute creation confronts the ideas of work overload and self-care.

Warm light bulbs illuminate La Chapelle’s theatre. They enlighten Mestari’s fabric creations. These include a large pair of glasses composed of multiple patterns, a large microphone, and a phone. From the start, the performers’ complicity is palpable. The show marries text, the singing, and movement. The performers’ voices are the only sound filling the space. They sing together, creating harmonies. Hinds starts dancing, and Willkie observes her in a benevolent way. Roles are then switched. 

The duo establishes their dynamic through eye contact and smiles. They share the stage but also the energy of the space. As the performance evolves, different themes emerge. 

“Work overload is one of the themes of the show. It didn’t emerge because we wanted to do a show that talked about work overload, but because in the discussions we had as a team,” explained Rochon-Prom Tep.

This idea came about through songs written by the team. During the performance, Hinds and Willkie repeat “On travaille trop,” contrasting the monotony of the word repetition with their luminous voice tone and energy. They later sing an ode to boredom, inviting the audience to reflect on self-care. The caring energy between the performers culminates at the end when Willkie gradually fades the lights down to complement Hinds’ relaxation on stage. 

The creator explained that he hopes seeing the performers taking care of themselves will inspire audience members to dive into introspection in their own lives when it comes to self-care. The welcoming atmosphere created by the organization of colourful props and lights on stage enhances this calming journey for visitors.

The creation process first started with Rochon-Prom Tep’s interest in creating a project based on an encounter between artists. The choreographer organized meetings with Hinds and Willkie so they could start creating together. A singing session sparked the inspiration for the project. “I was really touched by this vocal improvisation and I thought there was something to do with that,” said Rochon-Prom Tep. From their discussions and improvisation sessions, the performers built a creative connection that led to the creation of Sam & Angèle

Laïla Mestari also collaborated on the project as the creator of the colourful stage set. Rochon-Prom Tep explained that when he first encountered her work, he was inspired by “the complexity of idea juxtapositions, of shapes, of images, of mediums.” Their collaboration led to the development of a unique visual identity for the show.

Rochon-Prom Tep described their creation process as an inspiring collective project. “We crafted together with words, voices, bodies, and materials to get to know each other. The creation built off this, through the time we spent together, the discussions that emerged. It created a collective imagination where our different identities and our different interests, our different lifestyles came together in certain places even though they are completely different in a lot of ways,” he said.

Hinds, Willkie, Rochon-Prom Tep and Mestari created the impression of a reset, a kind of self-care to get ready for new beginnings. “The show features a lot of softness and attention, a show that touches the poetry of the collective and individual creative worlds of the different team members,” said Rochon-Prom Tep.

La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines is located at 3700 Saint-Dominique St. They present Sam & Angèle until March 11. Tickets for the showare available on their website.


Visuals courtesy David Wong and Vanessa Fortin


Bridging the gap between English and French theatre at the Wildside Remix Festival

Étienne Lepage’s renowned work takes the stage of the Centaur in a new English version until March 5

Wildside Remix Festival is taking place at the Centaur Theatre until March 12, where they are currently presenting the English translation of Logic of the Worst, a theatre piece by Étienne Lepage and Frédérick Gravel. The duo first created this show in 2016. The performance, involving five interpreters, features a compilation of small stories and philosophical reflections. 

Absurdity is central to the show from the start. In a simply furnished environment consisting of only one bright green couch, a table, a chair, and microphones on stage, five characters recount events that happened to them. These stories are dramatic, bigger than nature, and surreal – sometimes even flirting with the limits of disgust. As the action evolves, they start sharing thoughts about life, about their relationships with others. They compare their experiences, competing to see who is the worst friend, the worst boyfriend, the worst son, and the worst human. Throughout the show, the absurdity remains, but anecdotes leave room for existential questions. 

Lepage was first inspired by the book Logique du pire by Clément Rosset. He describes his own creative work as a “really free and really personal reaction to this Nietzschean vision of the world, that we are all dancers, people who need to find absurd answers to an absurd world.” 

As explained by Lepage, humour always takes an important part in his works. “I always find that there is an enormous, profound sense to say ‘that is reality, it is a difficult reality, but it is a reality in which the comical [nature] of our existence is saving us a little bit.’ Also, it gives us an excuse to be bad or it gives us reasons not to worry. I think there is an important philosophy in humour,” he said.

As a way of acknowledging that reality, the performers on stage play their own roles and use their real names. Audience members witness them changing the music throughout the evening. Only one member of the cast, composed of actors Jon Lachlan Stewart, Yannick Chapdelaine, Marie Bernier, Marilyn Perreault and Philippe Boutin, is anglophone. All the others assume their French accent and incorporate it into the performance. This adds to the humour, confirming the fact that they are not taking themselves seriously. 

Lepage worked in collaboration with choreographer Frédérick Gravel. Gravel’s work adds physicality to the show. While the performers do not purely dance on stage, the way they interact with objects and with the music transmit rich physical states. 

Since its premiere at Festival TransAmériques in 2016, the French version of the piece has been presented for a long time, both in Quebec and internationally. Lepage and Gravel were then invited to translate it. For Rose Plotek, curator of the Wildside Remix Festival at the Centaur Theatre where the play has been showing, this new version has the potential to reach new audiences in the English community – a core mission of the festival.“We’re introducing really incredible artists to a community that’s going to be less familiar with them and hopefully some of the audience that is familiar with them will come to the Centaur and see that it is a place where they are welcome as well,” she said.

For its 25th edition, the Wildside Remix Festival presents three shows, including Logic of the Worst. The 10-day event aims to bring the French and English theatre communities together  through a collaboration between La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines and Centaur Theatre. 

Another goal of the event is to showcase experimental works. According to Plotek, “[the festival’s] ethos has always been to present and support work that one would not normally see on the main stage at the Centaur.” The curator added that this could include “work that is happening in different kinds of performance modes, like dance theatre or theatre that feels closer to performance art or just forms that are different.”

Therefore, the festival plays a part in the Centaur’s larger goal of expanding its reach to broader audiences and a larger diversity of artists. For Plotek, their scope can be expanded through language backgrounds, but also through artistic disciplines and approaches.

“My little personal mission has been to say, ‘Hey performance community, the Centaur can be a home for you.’ It doesn’t need to be just a home for a kind of more classical English theatre artists. It can be a home for many kinds of artists with both francophone or anglophone or like cultural diversity, or just performance background, people who make work that is more experimental wouldn’t think of the Centaur as a theatre that could be a home for them, but actually it can,” said Plotek.

The Wildside Remix Festival presents Logic of the Worst until March 5. .The following week, they will showcase 1,2, Maybe 3 by performance artists Jean + Syd. Tickets are available on the Centaur Theatre’s website.


Visuals courtesy Denis Farley & Gunther Gamper

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