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, its proliferating and increasingly heterogeneous borders and the consequences of their colonial past (and present).
Since February 2018, performingborders hosts Xavier de Sousa’s queeringborders interview series focusing on contemporary queer artists who have migrated to new contexts and whose work is directly influenced by that experience.
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)
alessandra cianetti is a London-based curator, creative producer, and writer. She has worked internationally on multi-disciplinary live and visual art projects across the UK, Europe and Southeast Asia in partnership with arts organisations and institutions such as the Barbican Centre, the Live Art Development Agency, Tate Britain, South London Gallery, City of Skopje, Ikona Gallery Venice, FEFÈ PROJECT Rome. Her activities have been supported, among others, by the Arts Council England, the European Cultural Foundation, and the Fire Station Artists’ Studios Dublin. From 2013 to 2018 Alessandra has been co-director at the London-based arts organisation Something Human. She is the founder of the research platform ‘performingborders. conversations on live art | crossings | europe’. alessandracianetti.com
The first phase of the project (February 2016 – February 2017) was initiated as part of the MRes in Arts: Theory and Philosophy at Central Saint Martins – UAL, London Alessandra undertook from 2014 to 2016. Many thanks to Dr. Chris Kul-Want, Dr. Karl Baker and fellow students for their invaluable support, advice, and time for conversations.