Parallel Dreams


Inspired by the idea that we live a parallel life in dreams, we created two rooms in 19th-century imagery with the imagined dream-states of artist Joseph Cornell and we blended Claude Debussy's music with sonic dreamscapes by composer Joan La Barbara.

In dreams our minds travel through the crevasses of our sub-conscious, exploring reality and abstract live experience. Sometimes the threshold between dreams and waking visions blur. In creating Parallel Dreams, our endeavor was to present visions and sounds inspired by dreams and fantasy.



The performance took place on June 7 & 8, 2014, from 11am until 5pm. It consisted of two interconnected pieces in two different rooms. Having a duration of 20 minutes, the performance was repeated all day long, with 10 minute silent breaks. The location was an old Victorian house on Governor’s Island, deserted and empty, into which we installed the performance. The audience walked from one room to the other, experiencing two different but parallel universes united around an imagined Joseph Cornell and his universe.




Over the last few years, I have been looking for ways to express an experience from my life using live performance, film and music. Sometimes when I wake up I don't know if I am awake or I am still dreaming. My dreams appear so realistic that they leave me uncertain of where I exited them to enter the real world. It's almost as if there is a parallel universe mirroring this life on Earth, or perhaps even the other way around. I'm about to explore this experience through a live performance and a film project bearing the same title: Parallel Dreams. — Aleksandar Kostic


Joseph Cornell's magical, mystical boxes have been a source of inspiration for me for many years. The fragments of dreams gleaned from his journals have inspired several solo performance works and an ongoing opera project. For Parallel Dreams, I have created a sonic atmosphere layering sighs, whispers, bells, water and music box tones into a free-floating phantasmagoric dreamscape. — Joan La Barbara
Music by Joan La Barbara

Three years ago Joan La Barbara had created a piece for my Digital Debussy piano commissioning project. Contemplating the beloved and influential Debussy in light of her own artistic background, she was inspired by a dream that Joseph Cornell had of Debussy playing piano in a storefront window. The result was Storefront Diva, part composed and improvised music, part performance art, and part installation piece. I was especially gratified by the intersection of all these performing modes, as this is something I've always tried to achieve myself in any performance. The environment for the piece (set design, costume) was created by Marija Plavsic Kostic and video installation was created by Aleksandar Kostic. Then Aleksandar saw something else in this piece, something reflected in his own thinking. And the next phase was born! — Kathleen Supové


Whether we’re in a dream, reality or in between, we long to find a bridge to our subconscious voice. Yet, somehow, we always end up with bits and pieces only, left with trying to (re)create out wishes, memories, fears and ambitions. Intrigued by the idea of parallel universes and Cornell boxes together, I’m seeking to explore that “voice" by creating an environment where the audience can walk awake into our box of parallel dreams. — Marija Plavsic-Kostic

Director, Concept & Video Installations : Aleksandar Kostic
Composer & Performer : Joan La Barbara
Set Designer & Costume Designer : Marija Plavsic-Kostic
Pianist & Performer : Kathleen Supové
Actors : Didier Flamand, Gemma Forbes, Iva Micic, Lior Lamacchia
Set and Costume Design Assistant: Matt Iacozza
Photographs: Aleksandar Kostic and Marija Plavsic Kostic


Parallel Dreams is made possible in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.