performingborders is a research-platform that explores the relations between the notion of border and live art. The ‘performingborders. conversation on live art | crossing | europe’ project has been initiated by curator and writer Alessandra Cianetti and is disseminated as an interview-based research-blog and series of related events and writing commissions which interrogate the practices of performers that are responding to the challenging notion of contemporary borders and the shifting concept of Europe.

From February 2016, each month the blog publishes an interview with a live artist, academic, thinker or art professional, as a way to explore the debate on what the contemporary meaning of ‘border’ in live art is, how live artists are addressing this issue within Europe, and how the curatorial tool of the interview can be challenged. The multi-media interviews take a discursive and conversational approach in order to delve into the boundaries of the ever-developing notion of Europe and its proliferating and increasingly heterogeneous borders.

performingborders is inspired by political theorists Sandro Mezzadra and Brett Neilson’s approach to borders as methods. 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:

‘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)



The first phase of the project (february 2016 – february 2017) has been initiated as part of the MRes in Arts: Theory and Philosophy at Central Saint Martins – UAL, London, Alessandra has completed in June 2016. Many thanks to Dr. Chris Kul-Want, Dr. Karl Baker and fellow students for their invaluable support, advice, and time for conversations.


Queer Migrant Takeover Artsadmin, London
Alessandra Cianetti at The Queer Migrant Takeover Party curated by Xavier de Sousa, 2017, London. Image by Loredana Denicol

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. 

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