Soft Tongues: a bioacoustic opera

Jami Reimer's MFA Project
May 26 & 27, 2023 | 6:00 PM & 8:00 PM
Studio D – SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
149 W. Hastings Street, Vancouver
TICKETS: Students + Underemployed $5 | Seniors + SFU Alumni / Faculty / Staff $10 | General $15

Tickets here

The tongue of the frog is of the softest known biological materials on this planet. It is this softness that yields the stickiness needed to pluck a fly from mid air, slough skin in perpetual acts of self-consumption, and stretch voice in promulgating chorusing networks.

Joined by bioacousticians, Jami’s field recorder, and an amphibious choir, this work invites full swamp submersion as we listen episodically through the shapeshifting life (and afterlife) cycle of the frog.

Speak in tongues! Breath through your skin! Inherit the earth!

The exhibition of a graduating project represents the culmination of a candidate’s studies, and is presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Arts.

This research moves on the traditional homelands of the Guarani, Pankararé, and Pankararu peoples as well as on the unceded territories of the Squamish, Tsleil-Watututh, and Musqueam nations. I offer my gratitude to the hosts on whose lands I work and play.

Production team

Lighting Design: Alexandra Caprara
Video Design: Mena El Shazly
Video Editing: Mena El Shazly, Kaila Bhullar
Stage Manager & Technical Director: Bernice Paet
Assistant Stage Manager: Maddy Woodly
Movement co-direction: Salome Nieto
Set design: Homa Khosravi
Costumes and styling: Jami Reimer, Homa Khosravi & cast
Hair styling: Liam Murley
Special thanks: Vanessa Lefan樂凡, Kittie Cooper, Katie Kozak, Matthew Toffoletto, Dr. Felipe Toledo, Gemma Crowe, Taha Nejad, Karla Froese, Lobe studio, and the good folks at the Amphibian Natural History Lab at the University of Campinas.

Extant frog voices

Dendroposophous minutos, Dendroposophous nanos, Boana faber, Boana albopunctata, Adenomera marmorata.

Recorded by Jami Reimer in Atlantic Forest, Brazil (with the support of Joelma Prado, Joao Pedro, and Jeanie Soula).

Extinct frogs – may they rest in peace

Ischnocnema garcia, Holoaden barde, Rhinella casconi, Boana cymbalum, Hylodes magalhaesi, Physalaemus soaresi, Pithecopus rusticus, Chiasmocleis alagoana.

Accessed via the Fonoteca Neotropical Jacques Viellard and heard in the final section of the work (with the archival support of Simone Dena and Felipe Toledo).


Senior Supervisor: Erika Latta
Committee Member: Sabrina Schroeder
Committee Member: Rob Kitsos
Concept, composition and performance: Jami Reimer
Artistic collaboration and performance: Czarina Agustines, Sara van Gaalen, Marita Michaelis, Eve Middleton-Meyer, Olympia Tomasta, Liam Murley, Ali Mcdougall, Nilofar Samadi
Scientist voices: Joelma Prado, Joao Pedro, Jeanie Soula, Felipe Silva

Director, GCA Production and Event Services: Miles Lavkulich
SCA Technical Director: Ben Rogalski
SCA Production coordinator: Emily Neumann
Marketing and Communications: Brady Cranfield


Czarina Agustines is a performer and production major who loves exploring all disciplines of art. Her recent performance experience consists of several short films, Uzumaki, a contemporary dance piece by Perelandra Waddle, and Strange Joy, a play by Erika Latta. Getting to be a part of this unique froggy experience has been one of the highlights of her year!

Marita Michaelis is a multidisciplinary artist living on xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) territory.

Olympia Tomasta is a Czechoslovakian-Scottish-Canadian actor, director and creator. She is best known for her show Cloaks (2023) which was a part of the SFU Live Acts Festival, her work on the BlackBox memory tryptic (RECORD, REWIND + REPLAY, RECALL) at Simon Fraser University (2022), and as Horace Vandergelder in Hello Dolly (2018). Olympia draws a great deal of inspiration from the natural world around her. She finds that the beauty and wonder of the local forests and ocean hold a particular charm. Olympia has a thirst for adventure and a knack for the whimsical.

Sara van Gaalen (they/she) is very excited to be performing in Soft Tongues: A Bioacoustic Opera. Currently they are finishing up their first year in the SCA’s Theatre & Performance Major, but has loved performing since they were young. She was in four choirs throughout high school (Archbishop Carney Regional Secondary School, ACRSS), and danced competitively at Rise 21 Dance Company (FKA Encore Dance Academy) for ten years. Favourite stage credits include Over and Over (Tamlin Vetter, Live Acts 2023), Little Shop of Horrors (ACRSS 2022), That’s Not How I Remember It (ACRSS 2021), and Youthless: It’s A Bit Grimm (Place Des Arts 2021). Sara thanks her family, friends, and mentors for always supporting her in all of their artistic endeavours.

Curious about the gestures and connections that make us human, Bernice Paet (she/her) is an interdisciplinary artist who delves into this theme in her designs, performances, and installation works. She lives and creates on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations and is currently a 4th year student in the Production & Design program at SFU. Bernice believes in pouring her love and care into the productions she works on and hopes to continue building her career doing so.

Maddy Woodley is currently a first-year Production & Design student at SFU. While she has experience in Stage Management from high school, this will be Maddy’s first university level show in this position. She is incredibly grateful for the opportunity.

Mena El Shazly’s work is grounded in time-based media, and extends to embroidery, sculpture and performance. She studied visual and performing arts in Cairo, was a fellow of the Home Workspace Program at Ashkal Alwan, Beirut, and is an MFA candidate at the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University. She is the Artistic Director of Cairo Video Festival of video art and experimental film, organized by Medrar for Contemporary Art.

Eve Middleton-Meyer (she/her) is a queer interdisciplinary artist from the traditional territories of the Treaty 7 people. She acknowledges her privilege to be able to live uninvited on the ancestral lands of the Coast Salish peoples–Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō, Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. Her artistic practice varies in its focus and modes of expression: from acting to devising; music to visual art and writing. Current projects include How To Heal, a devised piece combining somatic healing modalities, sound and performance to heal generational/familial trauma; The Last Of the ’70s, an immersive installation piece inspired by discarded vintage yearbooks; ALL ACTIVITIES MONITORED BY CAMERA, a participatory performance that explores surveillance and the commodification of identity with her new company, Wooden Mire, co-founded with SFU alumni Jordyn Wood. She has also been documenting and reflecting upon Vancouver’s public artwork through a practicum with the Vancouver Parks Board Department of Decolonization, Arts and Culture. Eve is looking forward to graduating and receiving her BFA in Theatre & Performance at Simon Fraser University very soon.

Mexican born, Salome Nieto is a Vancouver-based dance artist known for her transformative works and evocative performances. Highly influenced by butoh, the cultural syncretism of Mexico and intersectional feminism, her research considers the significance of ritual and ceremony during process and in performance in the context of contemporary dance. The exploration of these intersections led her to the inception and creation of her solo work Camino al Tepeyac in 2011 and subsequently co-founding pataSola dance in 2013. In 2017, Nieto was awarded the Vancouver International Dance Festival Choreographic Award in recognition of her contribution to the art of contemporary dance as a solo artist. She has performed her work in Argentina, Canada, Mexico, Nicaragua and Thailand. As an interpreter and collaborator, Nieto has worked prominently with Vancouver-based Kokoro Dance, Donna Redlick Dance and Raven Spirit Dance. As an arts administrator Nieto holds the position of Fine and Performing Arts Programmer for Dance at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts with the City of Burnaby in British Columbia and is currently pursuing an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts in the School for Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University.

Niloufar Samadi is an interdisciplinary artist based in Vancouver, the unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Her primary area of focus is the use of technology in puppetry art and the spatial and somatic relationships between puppet and puppeteer.

Jami Reimer is a musician, performance maker, composer, and educator from Winnipeg, Manitoba. From choral music to field recording practices, Jami explores voice — human and otherwise. She was recently awarded the Robert Fleming Prize from the Canada Council of the Arts for her ongoing creative research around bioacoustics and amphibian chorusing. Jami currently resides on the unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, where she is completing a Masters of Fine Arts at the School for Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University.

May 27, 2023