En Parábola
Opening Performance

Xenia Rubinos

March 14, 2024, 6-9pm
Géza, 306 Maujer
Opening Reception: 6pm
Performance Intervention: 7pm
If land has agency, then it longs for its people. It longs to be in relation with those who are in relation to it. Land also has grief. So there’s also something to the merging of this grief. That these two relatives, in grief, found each other. But other things can long for us: land, water, people, ghosts, multiple lands, future selves. We too are longed for. ― Elisa Peebles

In celebration of Natalia Lassalle-Morillo’s opening of En Parábola/Conversations on Tragedy, Part I, singer and music-maker Xenia Rubinos will lead a new performance ritual intervention commissioned for this evening. This performance expands from Xenia Rubinos and Natalia Lassalle-Morillo’s ongoing collaboration for the chorus of En Parábola, filmed at Amant last summer and summoned in the last scene of the film.

En Parábola/Conversations on Tragedy is a film and theater commission that reimagines the tragedy of Antigone with a cast of Puerto Ricans based in Puerto Rico and its New York City diaspora. In Greek tragedy, the chorus typically represents a collective voice at the periphery of the main action or conflict of the play. In contrast, En Parábola’s choral odes are drawn from testimonies of Puerto Rican migrants gathered throughout the research process for the project and seek to bring into voice latent sounds yet to be vocalized.

Drawing from Pauline Oliveros’s practice of “deep listening,” in which a sonic environment is both individual and collective, external and internal, and which promotes experimentation, improvisation, and collaboration, Xenia will invite audience members to join the chorus or be witness to the collective ritual. This performance intervention will begin as a procession into the installation space, where participants, guided by Xenia and artist and musician Mobéy Lola Irizarry on percussion and vocals, will add to the choral accompaniment of the performance. Together, the individual and collective voices create space for the irreconcilable absences of those who are no longer with us and those who are continuously displaced and dispossessed, but also for the potential of collective freedom and liberation.

This event is free and open to the public. RSVPs are encouraged and drop ins welcome.

Image: Natalia Lassalle-Morillo, En Parábola/Conversations on Tragedy, Part I (video still), 2024. Courtesy of the artist and Amant.

Xenia Rubinos is a composer, vocalist, songwriter, and performing artist from Hartford, CT, by way of Cuba and Puerto Rico, based in New York. She has released three full-length albums of original music, described by The New Yorker as “vocally generous, rhythmically fierce music that slips through the net of any known genre.” Xenia is known for her gripping live performances, having toured internationally and been featured at festivals such as Pitchfork Music Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, and the Museum of Modern Art. She is equally at home in rock clubs and festivals as she is in theaters and museums.

Her latest album, Una Rosa (Anti Records, 2021), was profiled in The New York Times. Xenia performed on NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series, and her music has appeared in film and TV, including the Netflix series Gentefied. She has collaborated with a diverse array of artists from Deerhoof to Helado Negro. She has been a composer in residence and clinician at the Curtis Institute of Music as well as the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Xenia composed the theme song for the longest running Latinx-focused journalism radio program in U.S. public media, Latino USA.

She is currently an Associate Professor in the Songwriting & Production department for the master’s program at Berklee College of Music’s NYC campus.

Mobéy Lola Irizarry (they/she) is a genderqueer cultural worker, composer, poet, painter, improviser, multi-instrumentalist, and transdisciplinary performance artist. Based in Brooklyn, they hail from the Puerto Rican diaspora in Hartford, CT, and are a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. They work within the lineages of decolonial uprisings, collections of tiny mirrors at queer clubs, and the precolonial languages of the drum and the braid. Lola is the creative director and percussion section leader for Las Mariquitas, NYC’s only queer and trans-centered salsa band. They also play in the experimental performance trio Dendarry Bakery and in the Latin Rock group AVATAREDEN. They are a musician, dancer, practitioner, innovator, and eternal student in the salsa, bomba, plena, and experimental music/performance traditions. Lola has performed across Turtle Island and Borikén. Their work has been featured in Rolling Stone, Playbill, and Aislin Magazine.

Lola plays congas, bongos, maracas, barril, violin, guitar, and sings. They are a skilled composer and producer working in Logic Pro X. They have performed and collaborated with Samira Mendoza, Gladstone Deluxe, AANI, Sara Ramirez, Justine Lee Hooper, Combo Chimbita, Xenia Rubinos, Pink Navel, Samora La Perdida, STEFA*, BombaYo, Chispa, Carolina Oliveros, Bulla en el Barrio, Bomberxs, the New York Theatre Ballet, Arthur Avilés, and many more artists. They have performed in venues such as Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Three Dollar Bill, and the Denver Art Museum. They compose for podcasts, theater, musical theater, installations, and film.

Lola holds degrees in Technology in Music and Related Arts (TIMARA) from Oberlin Conservatory, and Comparative American Studies from Oberlin College. They have received grants and residencies from the Native Arts and Culture Fund, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, the New York Council for the Arts, EMERGENYC, the Clemente Soto-Vélez Center, C’mon Everybody, En Garde Arts, CEPA, and Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Lola has given guest lectures and workshops at Carnegie Mellon University, Oberlin College, and the Clemente Soto-Vélez Center.

Natalia Lassalle-Morillo is a visual artist, filmmaker, theater maker, and educator whose work reconstructs history through a transdisciplinary approach. Merging theatrical performance, experimental film, and installation, Natalia’s work excavates history both imagined and documented, and decentralizes canonical narratives and the primacy of written history through re-enactments, revision, and collaborative re-scripting. Collaborating with non-actors and amateur writers, her multi-platform projects develop across localities and narratives, exploring Caribbean collective memory and the material and spiritual trajectories that have shaped human relationships impacted by the imperialist oppression in that region. Bringing theatrical practices into the camera, she rehearses an alternative historiography that reassembles our relationship to our past, and simultaneously foregrounds the creation of new mythologies.

Natalia has been a fellow at the Smithsonian, and she has participated in residencies with Amant Foundation (NY), MassMoca (MA), Fonderie Darling (Montréal), Pioneer Works (NY), among others. Her work is part of the KADIST collection, and it has been exhibited in at the 22a VideoBrasil Biennale, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (Puerto Rico), Tenerife Espacio de las Artes (Canary Islands, Spain), and the Walt Disney Modular Theater (Los Angeles). Upcoming presentations include solo exhibitions at Dazibao (Montréal), and the 2024 Cooper Hewitt Triennial. She is a 2023 Mellon Foundation Bridging the Divides Fellow.

Natalia was born in Puerto Rico, where she is currently based.