Raj Na Ziemi / Paradise On Earth

Photos by Christine Iasonidis

Raj Na Ziemi / Paradise On Earth is a multidimedia eco-feminist puppet ballet. 

The performance incorporates puppetry, drag, gesture, poetry, and live music and singing to deliver a fragmented folktale about the tensions present in modern man’s relationship to nature. 

This production was staged at the Loyola Chapel in Montréal in May of 2024.

Featured performers: Daniel Bayardo, Sarah Barrone, Rae Michelle Cordero, Kai Corrigan, Patrick Dale, Isaac Doughty, gugulglurg, Catherine Machado, Lex Moh, and Marcela Szwarc

Musicians: Yuecheng Huang, Jane Kasowicz, Fahmid Nibesh, Anya Sylenko

Puppets, Costume Design:
Marcela Szwarc

Writing / Direction: Marcela Szwarc

Topielec / Drowner

Photos by Michael Patten

Durational Performance:
75 minutes

Topielec/Drowner was a ritual as much as it was a participatory artwork; the performance was put on at McBride Contemporain on the occasion of Nuit Blanche.

My tools were paper, scissors, and bowls of water. Visitors were invited to write down something they wished to let go of, and I translated their notes into paper cut-outs that responded to the words. The people who volunteered to write down their worries became my co-conspirators in the process.

One by one, I held the paper cut-outs underwater in basins, until each basin was full. 

Sense of Space, Good Will, and Energy

Photos by Maria Sanchez Martín and Rebecca Ladida

Durational Performance:
30 minutes

Sense of Space, Good Will, and Energy is an homage to Dick Higgins and La Monte Young of Fluxus, as well as a reinterpretation of Higgins’ piece Essay on La Monte Young. In this work, Higgins drew a visual chart, pulling from a myriad of sources to make sense of what sustains an artist: spiritually, physically, emotionally. I found myself most attracted to the three abstractions above, and felt the connection deeply within my own work.

And so, Sense of Space, Good Will, and Energy became both a triptych and praxis for me. Each tenet was visualized as a banner, and each banner was sewn with naturally died fibers.

Just before sundown, I invited community members, artists, neighbors, and two musicians on a walk. Volunteers held ribbons that ran from the banners. Along with musicans Yuecheng Huang and Nico Holtzman, we led the parade goers through the neighborhood, guiding the procession with a minimalist composition that included an accordion, a violin, and a triangle. A guardian angel brought up the rear of the parade.

Embodying the Cageain ideals of letting ambient sounds influence the work, I invited participants to consider how the urban environment was also part of the composition. As such, nothing was left out; a barking dog, a car battery kicking in, our feet on gravel all became elements of the performance. The procession wound through a neighborhood that is partly residential, as well as being home to garages and auto shops. As we walked, people invetibly came out to both watch and listen.

This procession was performed at CHANTIER, upon invitation from Centre SKOL for their anniversary party. It was made possible with the contributions of volunteers, community members, and composers Yuecheng and Nico.

Babushka’s Lexicon of Gestures and Sounds


Durational Performance:
15 minutes

Babushka’s Lexicon of Gestures and Sounds is an evolving performance piece that addresses magic, language, and ritual through movement, song, and sound.

Echoing the ‘in-between’ state of identity and language loss that comes with diaspora, the lexicon is at once a game of participation, and an intuitive movement vocabulary that the performers invented together.

Guided by a set of rules, members of the audience are able to set the sequence and pace of the performance, to a degree. These audience members can think of themselves as "conductors" of a choir, or conspirators in a game. They are invited to speak their word out loud when they wish. As words are read aloud, the babushkas respond with their own interpretations. Words are repeated, and commands create gestures that layer over one another at varying paces.

The piece was performed in front of a live audience during Leparc’s Embodied Interventions Performance Showcase in April 2023, at the Black Box Theatre at Concordia University.

The dresses and chusteczki (headscarves) were hand dyed with chestnut and ferrous sulfate. I sewed the dresses and borrowed the jackets.

Special thanks to performers Heather Anderson, Amara Barner, Lisa Morrison, and Pati Ragazzon.


Durational Performance:
15 minutes (repeated once an hour for 3 hours)

Stills from The Wyrm, a one-time processional piece for the occasion of Concordia MFA Open Studios.

The Wyrm, guided by it's heralds and flag bearer, wound it's way through the halls of the Visual Arts building to deliver a message: that the seasons are shifting, the earth is turning, the moon is rising, and spring is coming.

Performers: Patrick Dale, Jen Jack, Renee Kennedy, Bea Nusink, and Abbie Reynolds.

Heralds: Anya Sylenko, Hanged Magpie, and Anna Tchernikov.