Migrant Superpositions: convertirse en



country of production

Colombia/Costa Rica Panama/Canada


Alexandra Gelis

kind of work


Migrant Superpositions: convertirse en
By Alexandra Gelis

Dry Cattail and Phragmites plants, kinetic wooden sculpture, 35mm glass slides, handmade paper embroidered with human hair, small screen with eight short videos triggered with face recognition, soundscapes, and sensors

Jorge Lozano––Research and conceptual collaboration
Julian Anibal Henao––Programming and construction support
Jackeling Rago–- music composer 
Alexandra Gelis –- Sound composition and design
John Dickson––Installation of the wooden sculpture
David Orjuela, Michellys Velandia––Electronic and programming support

This multimedia installation is the result of a process that took place over several months in Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, and Canada. The artist collected local and non-local Cattail and Phragmites plants from the rare Charitable Research Reserve in Cambridge, ON during a residency. The purpose of the residency was to study the relationship between the two plants, with a particular emphasis on the non-local Phragmite (European Common Reed), which is considered invasive and harmful to Ontario wetlands. The installation invites viewers to immerse themselves in the sensations and abstractions evoked by the plants’ movements and textures, as well as the drawings formed by their airborne seeds, and to envision plants as political allies. The artist’s reflection on the plants’ behaviour led her to contemplate her multiracial background and immigrant experience shaped by discrimination, as well as the condition of being perceived as an invasive other.

The artist would like to express gratitude to the Musagetes Foundation for their support, particularly under the Thread Residency Program and the guidance and coordination of Elwood Jimmy, along with the rare Charitable Research Reserve community-based urban land trust and environmental institute in Waterloo Region and Wellington County. The Ontario Arts Council also provided support.