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Concordia welcomes Pablo Gershanik as virtual artist-in-residence March 8-12

The Argentinian actor and director explores resilience and healing from personal and collective trauma
February 25, 2021
Older, bald man looking intense, with younger people behind him in the background.
Pablo Gershanik built upon great personal loss to develop a methodology that reconstructs traumatic events as miniature models.

Actor, director and professor Pablo Gershanik will be Concordia’s virtual artist-in-residence from March 8 to 12.

Gershanik’s residency will include three public conversations on the theme of art as resilience, as well as workshops and visits with students in the Department of Theatre, Department of Creative Arts Therapies and Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling.

“Pablo is an internationally recognized theatre and circus artist and we are excited for our students and the wider community to engage with his profoundly humanistic approach to art-making and contributing to one’s society,” says the residency’s instigator, Patrick Leroux, associate dean of research in the Faculty of Arts and Science and professor in the Department of English and Département d’études françaises.

The residency is made possible by a collaboration between the Faculty of Arts and Science, the Faculty of Fine Arts, the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture (CISSC) and 4TH Space.

Mark Sussman, director of the CISSC, adds that Gershanik’s work with miniatures exemplifies a particular form of serious play that opens up unique exploratory opportunities.

“By animating inanimate objects in live and mediated performance, Pablo interrogates the precarities of history, memory and the everyday,” says Sussman.

‘What does it mean to reconstruct a tragedy?’

In 1975, Gershanik’s father was killed in the city of La Plata, Argentina, during that country’s military dictatorship.

Forty years later, he harnessed his diversity of experience in theatre, puppetry, dance and circus arts to recreate that tragic day as a miniature model.

“My idea was to reconstruct every single event that I could imagine happening at that specific moment when my life changed forever,” he says.

“So I wanted to see how the world looked in 1975 — the world of my city as well as the world in general, combining what was happening in film, TV, radio, newspapers and advertisements, until I achieved a sort of symphonic movement happening together.”

His first performance with this model took place at the Site of Memory Museum in Buenos Aires on the spot where some of the most brutal crimes of the military dictatorship had taken place. In speaking with the audience about their own stories of survival, Gershanik says he realized his story had evolved from the personal to something larger — a shared story of healing.

“What does it mean to reconstruct a tragedy? Does the model offer the possibility to step back from a traumatic story and play with it, dialogue with it and repair it?”

These questions led Gershanik to develop the Intimate Models methodology, which combines art therapy, psychology and theatre to reconstruct traumatic events as miniature models in order to explore and process the experience.

A graduate of École internationale de théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris, Gershanik has toured internationally with Cirque Éloize (Canada), Compagnie Philippe Genty (France) and Compagnia Finzi Pasca (Switzerland/Canada).

He has taught physical theatre, clown and object theatre for more than 20 years in Mexico, France and his native Argentina, and is founder and director of the Specialization in Performance and Interpretation with Masks at the National University of San Martín in Buenos Aires.

Schedule of public events

The public is invited to three discussions on the theme of art and resilience.


11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Keynote: Metaphor as a Possibility of Resilience
Presented by the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture

Live Spanish translation by the Acts of Listening Lab

Pablo Gershanik examines the forms and tools that art and artists leverage to overcome traumatic personal and social experiences.

Registration link


9 to 9:45 a.m.
Situating Residency and Responding to Pablo’s Metaphor

Pablo Gershanik, Patrick Leroux, Bonnie Harnden (associate professor, creative arts therapies), Luis Sotelo Castro (Canada Research Chair in Oral History Performance, Theatre) and Mark Sussman in conversation

Registration link


11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Pablo Gershanik, Ariela Freedman (professor, Liberal Arts College) and Patrick Leroux in conversation to explore how to move forward creatively, intellectually, emotionally and socially after trauma

Registration link

Find out more about Concordia’s 
Department of TheatreDepartment of Creative Arts Therapies and Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling.

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