performingborders research-platform is an exploration on the notion of border and live art. It focuses on the research of performers that are responding to the challenging notion of contemporary borders and the shifting concept of Europe. As Carrie Giunta writes in her The Universal is Back (Radical Philosophy 192/2015) ‘Europe is in flux’ and so are its proliferating and increasingly heterogeneous borders.

This research-blog is inspired by political theorists Sandro Mezzadra and Brett Neilson’s approach to borders as methods (2013). From this perspective, the ephemerality, flexibility and resilience of live art practices become a privileged way to investigate urgent current societal and political changes and struggles within and across borders. The interviews in this blog will be a discursive and conversational approach to delve into the boundaries of the ever-developing notion of Europe and European identity.

‘Method for us is as much about acting on the world as it is about knowing it. […] it is about the relation of action to knowledge in situations where many different knowledge regimes and practices come into conflict. Border as method involves negotiating the boundaries between the different kinds of knowledge that come to bear on the border and, in so doing, aims to throw light on the subjectivities that come into being through such conflicts. […] the border is for us not so much a research object as an epistemological viewpoint that allows an acute critical analysis not only of how relations of domination, dispossession, and exploitation are being redefined presently but also of the struggles that take shape around these changing relations. The border can be a method precisely insofar as it is conceived of as a site of struggle.’ (Mezzadra and Neilson, Border as Method, 2013)


first phase | february 2016 – february 2017

performingborders first phase was a one-year-long series of monthly interviews along with a series of related events, talks and writing commissions. Starting from February 2016, each month the blog published an interview with a live artist, thinker or art professional, as a way to explore the debate on what the contemporary meaning of border in live art is and how live artists are addressing this issue within Europe. Interviewees: Lois KeidanTania El KhouryNúria GüellHelena WalshAlmir KoldzicNatasha DavisMarilena ZarouliaSara ZaltashKai Syng TanFederica MazzaraLisa AlexanderMichaela CrimminLucia Palmero.

This phase has been initiated as part of the MRes in Arts: Theory and Philosophy at Central Saint Martins – UAL, London, I completed in June 2016. Many thanks to Dr. Chris Kul-Want and Dr. Karl Baker for their invaluable support, advice, and time for conversations.


events & commissions: 

30 mar 2016 | performingborders Open Conversation at Central Saint Martins, UAL, LondonGuest 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). Organised and chaired by Alessandra Cianetti.

29 april 2016 | ‘Crisis’ in Excess: Performing Europe Today Symposium at Winchester University. 15-minute provocation ‘Núria Güell: Exceeding financial and identity European policies through the body of the artist’.

march – october 2016 ‘Performing Borders’ Study Room Guide, written and compiled by Alessandra Cianetti for the Live Art Development Agency.

october 2016 | Crossings: Journal of Migration & Culture (Volume 7, issue 2) curated by Dr. Federica Mazzara: ‘Lampedusa: Cultural and Artistic Spaces for Migrant Voices’. Review of Ila Nicole Sheren’s publication ‘Portable Borders’.

1 december 2016 Xavier de Sousa’s POST, after-event conversation at Ovalhouse, LondonOn 1st December, post-event conversation with  Xavier de Sousa and Dr. Sarah Fine, King’s College.

14 february 2017 | Elena Marchevska’s guest post on live art, privilege and displacement: ‘Misplaced women?The concept of hospitality in times of displacement’


second phase | april 2017 – in progress


events & commissions: 

27 april 2017 | Reading The Internet: On Migration curated by Something Other. Presentation of performingborders interview with Bill Aitchison, The Peckham Pelican, London.

30 april – 9 may 2017 |International Curator Residency at The Fire Station Artists’ Studios (FSAS), Dublin + Open conversation at FSAS on 8 may, Dublin.

30 september 2017 | Recoding Resistance Symposium. Presentation of performingborders project and live interview with artist Natasha Davis, MayDay Rooms, London.

11 november 2017 | Connecting Communities: International Conference. Workshop ‘A Short Table on Live Art | Crossings | Europe’, Resource for London.


alessandra cianetti is a live art curator, producer and art writer. She is co-director of the London-based art organisation Something Human. Among the organisation’s activities, since 2013 she has been conceiving, producing and coordinating live and visual art projects across Europe and Southeast Asia in partnership with institutions such as the Barbican, Deptford Lounge, South London Gallery, City of Skopje, and with the support, among others, of the Arts Council England and the European Cultural Foundation. She has worked with international arts and cultural organisations and institutions on numerous contemporary arts and culture events. These include artists’ development projects and performances with New Work Network and socially engaged art projects with the drawing shed in London; cultural policies conferences with the Italian Ministry of Culture and Tor Vergata University in Rome (Italy); exhibitions, festivals and publishing projects with Fefe’ Project and Les Flaneurs in Rome; and photography exhibitions with Ikona Gallery in Venice (Italy). Alessandra has recently graduated at the MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy at the Central Saints Martins, UAL, London with a practice-based dissertation on the relation between live art and borders.

contacts: alessandra.cianetti@gmail.com | @AleCianetti

websites: performingborders.livesomething-human.org medium.com/@AleCianetti

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View story at Medium.com








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