performingborders. conversations on live art | crossings | europe:
Arrivederci message / Interview with Lucia Palmero, February 2017 / Guest post by Elena Marchevska /
 Previous interviews / Performingborders related projects, events & contributions (February 2016 - February 2017) / News & opportunities 

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So here we are, the first year of performingborders ends this month!

Although the project was thought as a one-year interview-based research, I feel I've just scratched the surface of a much deeper journey into live art, borders and Europe (and whatever these words mean in our current socio-political climate). 

The newsletter presents the last interviewee of this first year, artist and activist Lucia Palmero and a guest post by Elena Marchevska on her project about privilege and displacement. Moreover you will find a year-round of artists, arts organisations and academics who contributed sharing their perspectives: Lois Keidan, Tania El Khoury, Núria Güell, Helena Walsh, Almir Koldzic, Natasha Davis, Marilena Zaroulia, Sara Zaltash, Kai Syng Tan, Federica Mazzara, Lisa Alexander, Michaela Crimmin, Lucia Palmero...Thank you!!

Along with events, projects and contributions performingborders has  organised or been involved in: Open conversation at CSM; ‘Crisis’ in Excess: Performing Europe Today at Winchester University; 'Performing Borders'  Live Art Development Agency's Study Room Guide (to which an appendix will be added this Spring); a review of 'Portable Borders' for the special issue of Crossings: Journal of Migration & Culture; the POST after-event discussion with Xavier de Sousa and Dr. Sarah Fine at Ovalhouse.

At the end of the newsletter, as usual, you can find a selection of news, events, opportunities that can be of interest in the coming months.

Finally, thank you to all of you who have been following, interacting, sharing their views and please keep getting in touch. I'm developing the next step of performingborders...This is not a goodbye but an arrivederci!
Lucia Palmero | February 2017

Alessandra Cianetti: The waiting room at Ventimiglia train station. Migrants. Passengers. Hopes. Fears. Lucia, you have started this year with the moving collective action ‘Don’t stop the beauty’ at the border between Italy and France. Why that border? Who and what did the action involve?

Lucia Palmero: I was born and grew up in Ventimiglia, Italy, a town on the border with France where for years I have witnessed severe episodes of racism towards migrants who attempt to cross the border. I have known this border for years and it rips lives apart. For me it was fundamental to start from here. 

The performance 'Don’t stop the Beauty' was held at the station of Ventimiglia and in particular around the waiting room, the crucial point of the action. In this specific place, the Italian police gathers migrants arriving by train from other Italian cities and after a brief interview with each one, those who have not applied for asylum in Italy are deported towards Centres for Identification and Expulsion.It is to Ventimiglia that France sends all the migrant minors back by train, carrying out a serious violation of the rights of these young people who, instead of being protected, are exposed to the criminal networks of smugglers.

The intention of the performance was to transform the station and in particular the waiting room, which is basically the border, or rather the place of filtering, into an amplifier.

I asked individual singers and choirs from different origins living in this area (coming from Camerun, Guinea Conakry, France, the Philippines and Italy) to choose a traditional song of their own country or another song that they would like to sing in front of the border. Each group chose one and the outcome was a mix of traditional/popular songs and two original songs composed just for this occasion. It became a dialogue between ancient and contemporary voices that gave shape to a genuine moment of togetherness despite the difficult context. 

The idea was to show the beauty of our different heritages through a popular and common way of expression, music, but also to highlight the existing element of rupture, the border. This is why white singers performed by moving in the entire space of the station while black singers performed inside the waiting room. 

The initial enjoyable moment for the public changed into something much more intense as the presence of a filter between the black singers in the waiting room and the audience on the platform materialized through a closed door. Therefore I really enjoyed the attempt of a spectator to force the door of the waiting room open and then seeing many people finally entering the waiting room (from a secondary entrance). At the end of the action, the public asked the singers to continue to play their songs as they danced together.

Keep reading the interview

Image credits: “Human Chain 2016”, photograph by Lucia Palmero

Guest Post by Elena Marchevska: Misplaced women?: The concept of hospitality in times of displacement

When I was developing the concept for my residency with Live Art Development Agency, my thoughts were constantly with the people in flux, those who were crossing or waiting at borders for days, sometimes months. Vivid memories of my childhood in war-torn Yugoslavia emerged. I remembered my school friends who were refugees from Sarajevo; my work in refugee camps during the Kosovo crisis; the lines for bread and milk; cars left without petrol in the middle of the road. More than 20 years has passed, but my body clearly remembers the fear, and at the same time the braveness, the openness to share, to give, to be there for one another. Many people opened their homes to refugees and family displaced due to war, despite being impoverished and affected by the war themselves. 

It is important to discuss displacement along hospitality. According to Irina Arishtarkova, hospitality is a radical relation, especially when compared with tolerance: it provides a framework to account for the treatment of others with limitless attention and expectation, and it entails an active gesture of welcoming, greeting, sheltering, and in many cases, nourishing (2012:45).

Tanja Ostojić’s work operates within this framework, opening a hospitable space during her performance workshops. I though it is important to host the Misplaced Women? workshop, as part of my residency with LADA. Participants were welcomed and guided by Ostojić, acknowledged and their ideas were nourished. Anecdotes were shared, objects transformed, pictures circulated. During the two days of the workshop, I felt that we tapped into each other’s experiences of displacement and loss. Hospitality became performative, it was about slow decision making, about the labour of hosting others, and the handling of unexpected outcomes. There was a willingness to contain and to produce space for the Other out of one’s own flesh and blood, we all walked together by the canal, performers and audience at the same time. The days melted into one long discussion about what displacement means today. For me, the small acts of hope and care that each participant made created a ripple strong enough to go beyond the current climate of hostility. 

My research will be presented as part of 'Practice, Participation, Politics Gathering' on 8th March 2017 at the Live Art Development Agency (LADA) and the Study Room Guide on Displacement and Privilege commissioned to me by LADA will be freely available online in March 2017.  

Elena Marchevska |

Image credits: Dagmar Bilon performing as part of the Tanja Ostojić’s ‘Misplaced Women?” workshop in London, December 2016. Photo by Aleksandar Utjesinovic

Michaela Crimmin | January 2017
Image credits: © Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen, still from Promised Land, 2011
Lisa Alexander | December 2016
Image credits: Yoko Tawada, image by Efytchia Vlachou (cropped)
Federica Mazzara | November 2016
Image credits: Ethiopian director Dagmawi Yimer shooting his short documentary 'Soltanto il Mare' ('Nothing but the Sea'). Credits: Archivio Memorie Migranti
Kai Syng Tan | October 2016
Image credits: Still from short film Hand In Hand, RUN! RUN! RUN! 2 minutes 15 seconds. 2016. UK. Composition and Sound Direction: Philip Tan. Available at To premiere at RUN! RUN! RUN! Biennale 2016 in November. Copyright: Kai Syng Tan.
Sara Zaltash | September 2016
Image credits: Hana Wolf Photography – performance of the Islamic call-to-prayer
Marilena Zaroulia | August 2016
Image credits: After 'as far as my fingertips take me'. London, June 2016. (copyright: Marilena Zaroulia)
Natasha Davis | July 2016
Image credit: Asphyxia/Image by Bob Karper
Almir Koldzic | June 2016
Image credit: Manaf Halbouni/Counterpoints Arts
Helena Walsh | May 2016
Image credit: Helena Walsh, In Pursuit of Pleasure (2012), in LABOUR, Void Gallery, Derry/ Londonderry (photo: Jordan Hutchings)
Núria Güell | April 2016
Image credit: Núria Güell, Ideologias Oscilatorias by Ingrávid (2015)
Tania El Khoury | March 2016
Image credit: ‘This Sea is Mine’ by Dictaphone Group. Photo by Housssam Mchaimesh
Lois Keidan | February 2016
Image credit: Playing Up - drawing by David Caines (cropped)

Open Conversation, 30 March 2016, Central Saint Martins – UAL

Video documentation (1h 42′ 22″)

While newspapers speak of refugees’ crisis, Ukraine conflict, austerity measures, Brexit, and raising of right-wing rhetoric within Europe, how are artists responding? What can they do? Do they have to do something? ‘performingborders’, is an open dialogue on how artists, researchers and art organisations can use their practices and projects to respond to and challenge the borders of Europe and their shifting meanings.

Guest speakers: Lois Keidan (Co-Director of the Live Art Development Agency), Sophie Nield (Senior Lecturer in Drama at the Royal Holloway University of London), Juliet Steyn (Co-editor of ‘Breaching Borders: Art, Migrants and the Metaphor of Waste’), Marilena Zaroulia and Philip Hager (Co-Founders of the Inside/Outside Europe Research Network) presented their own perspectives and engage in a discussion on the role of live and visual art in the flux reality of Europe and its proliferating and increasingly heterogeneous borders. All those interested in citizenship, crossing borders, and experimental art practices are welcome to bring their own ideas and experiences to the conversation.

Chaired and organised by Alessandra Cianetti as part of the MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy course at Central Saint Martins
More info here

Image and video credits: image by Annie Jael Kwan, video editing by David Daniel Sentosa

‘Crisis’ in Excess: Performing Europe Today, Winchester University, 29 April 2016

Sound recording of the day

The performingborders research has been invited to ‘Crisis’ in Excess: Performing Europe Today organised by Dr. Marilena Zaroulia on Friday 29th April at Winchester University. On that day I presented the 15-minute provocation ‘Núria Güell: Exceeding financial and identity European policies through the body of the artist’. 

Marilena Zaroulia (Winchester University), Giulia Palladini (Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee), David Calder (University of Manchester), Aylwyn Walsh (University of Lincoln), Philip Hager (Winchester/Kingston Universities), Alessandra Cianetti (performingborders), Noyale Colin (Winchester University), Marissia Fragkou (Canterbury Christchurch), Lisa Alexander (artist).   

For more information about the event click here.

Image credits: Pile of life vests at the shores of the Greek island of Lesvos, 30 September 2015 [Getty Images]

Performing Borders, Live Art Development Agency's Study Room Guide

In spring I have been invited by the Live Art Development Agency to conceive and devise a Study Room Guide on the relations between Live Art and borders. 

It has been a pleasure to go through the rich range of free and open resources LADA provides to artists, students, curators, academics and other arts professionals and many thanks to its staff for inviting me to deepen performingborders' research. I am glad to announce that Performing Borders Study Room Guide is freely accessible from this month!

The Guide includes: a theoretical introduction on the relation between Live Art and social sciences’ border theories; a focus on how practitioners are responding to current European border landscapes through a series of interviews; and a list of resources on the theoretical notion of border, Live Art, and Europe available in LADA’s Study Room. 

To access the guide click here 

Image credits: Study Room Guide by LADA (cropped)
Amazing contributions from activists, scholars, artists and writers for the Special Issue of Crossings: Journal of Migration & Culture(Volume 7, Issue 2) curated by Dr. Federica Mazzara: 'Lampedusa: Cultural and Artistic Spaces for Migrant Voices'.

Look at the table of contents below and ask your library to book a copy!,id=3215/  

Thanks a lot to Federica for inviting me to review Ila Nicole Sheren's 'Portable Borders' publication (free to read at the LADA Study Room, London)
Xavier de Sousa's POST, after-event conversation on 1st December

From 30th November to 3rd December amazing artist Xavier de Sousa's presented his show "POST" at Ovalhouse, London. On 1st December I have been invited by Xavier and his team to a post-event discussion along with him and Dr. Sarah Fine, King's College.
Really a great way to reflect on what we had just experienced, thanks Xavier, Sarah and the public for the lovely conversation!
 If you are curious and want to have a look, here the link:

For more information about Xavier's work look at

Image credits: POST by Xavier de Sousa, Ovalhouse Theatre. Image by Thomas Walden.

Video-documentation / Continental Drift? EU-UK Negotiations in the Cultural Sector by Culture Action Europe. Watch the debate here

Video-interview / Julian Maynard Smith interviewed by Diana Damian-Martin for #ArtistInsights. More info here

European Networking / Mapping Cultural Centres in Europe, how to contribute here

16 February - crowdfunding deadline / Migrant Connections Festival, London. More info here

17 February / Refugee Week Conference, 
Counterpoints Arts, Amnesty International UK, London. More info 

20 February - Events Call Out / Bad and Nasty Events - Not My President Day by Lois Weaver, Worldwide. More info here 

20 February / Tammy WhyNot's A'Dress To Her Nation, Lois Weaver's Facebook Page, Worldwide. More info here 

23 February / The Multiple and Shifting Borders of Europe by Etienne BalibarChelsea Lecture Theatre, UAL, London. More info here 

24 February /  Seminar: Developing work with Refugees, actacentre, Bristol. Free. More info here

24-26 February / C.U.R.E. A Festival of Performance and Collective Care by Avoec, Budapest, Hungary.. More info here 

2 March / Lampedusa: Debating representation of migration in an age of 'crisis'University of Westminster, London. More info here 

2 March / Whose identity? Whose history?, presented by Conflict+Culture, King's College, London. More info here 

3 March / Crossings Borders: CSD Conference 2017, Strand Campus, King's College, London. More info here 

8 March / Practice, Participation, Politics GatheringLive Art Development Agency, London. More info here 

17 March / 50 Rooms new performance by Natasha Davis,  RichMix, London. More info here 

18 March / Decolonising History: Visualisations of Conflict in a 'Post-War' Europe, UCL, Pearson Building, London. More info here 

21 March / Art, Terror and DistanceThe Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, London. More info here 

23 March / Absence: Awkward Bastard Symposium, mac, Birmingham, UK. More info here 

25 March - Protest & Resistance / United for Europe March, London. More info here 

28 March / Democracy and the Arts in Europe: Artists in a Global WorldRich Mix, London. More info here 

29 March / Know Brexit - Knowing EU by The Culture Capital Exchange, London. More info here 

31 March - Call for Proposals Deadline / Nomadic Village 2017 - 17.07-30.07, Folkestone, UK. More info here 

1 April - 4 June / Countless Exhibition and artist's talk, Aspex, Portsmouth, UK. More info here 

22 April / Brexit the Stage: What Next fro British Theatre and Europe?, Gorvy Lecture Theatre, V&A Museum, London. More info here 

12 May / Migrant Cartographies: Cities, Circuits and Circulations, Goldsmith University, London. More info here 

19 - 25 June / Refugee Week, various locations, UK. More info here 

Some more readings for the coming months:
- Bauman: History repeats itself. We are coming back to the small, tribal states
- What does "expat" means and why does it apply only to white people?

- Angela Davis's Women's March Speech, full transcript

Image credit: Courtesy Maya Ramsay, 2016.
For more information visit
contact Alessandra
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