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Digital Conversation Commissions 2020 | Successful Applicants

14th June 2020

We are thrilled to announce the successful applicants of performingbordersLIVE20 Open call for Digital Conversations in partnership with the Live Art Development Agency:



UK-based queer artist and activist Whiskey Chow will have a borderless digital conversation with US-based transmasculine artist Cassils about what art can do during and beyond global crises.

London-based performance artist and Chinese drag king. Whiskey’s art practice engages with broadly defined political issues, covering a range of related topics: from female and queer masculinity, problematizing the nation-state across geographic boundaries, to stereotypical projections of Chinese/Asian identity. Her performance is interdisciplinary, combining embodied performance with moving image and experimental sound pieces.  Whiskey currently works as Visiting Lecturer at the Royal College of Art, Guest Lecturer at Sotheby’s Institute of Art and Chelsea College of Arts. Whiskey has been involved in feminist and LGBTQ activism in China since 2011. She contributed to and performed in ‘For Vaginas’ Sake (2013)’ (original Chinese version of The Vagina Monologues), and curated the first Chinese LGBTQ music festival, Lover Comrades Concert (2013), Guangzhou. Whiskey’s recent performances include: The Moon is Warmer than the Sun, Queering Now, Rich Mix, London (2020); Unhomeliness, Tate Modern, London; Whiskey the Conqueror, Tate Britain, London (2018); Purely Beautiful New Era (ft. Haocheng Wu), Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Great Conversation, Uppsala Konstmuseum, Uppsala (2017).


Sebastian, Carolyn, Syowia, and Elena will have an open-ended series of digital discussions: a riot of short reflections on lived, precarious, migrant experience patched onto bigger discussions on feminism and care.

Sebastian Aguirre is a queer human rights activist and theatre practitioner from the Chilean refugee diaspora living in the UK. Sebastian runs the Actors For Human Rights (AFHR) Project, an outreach programme that uses documentary and verbatim theatre to engage a variety of audiences across the UK on human rights issues. He trained in acting at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.  As well as running AFHR, he is a long standing member of Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants. 

Carolyn Defrin is a theatre and installation artist. Her recent work examines how vulnerability can be reframed so policy makers can listen better to the needs of marginalised communities.

Syowia Kyambi is a mixed media artist, who enacts characters within her performance installations to tell stories, which are alternative layered narratives that disrupt the mono-cultural violence of colonial histories and their shaping of our societies. The connection between the psyche, history and the entanglement that exists within active and transmuting identities is ever-present in her creative process. Her practice probes issues of race, perception, hierarchical systems, gender studies and body memory. Syowia examines how the past is affecting our present, influencing our future possibilities.

Elena Marchevska is a researcher, writing extensively on the issues of belonging, the border and intergenerational trauma. Her artistic work explores borders and stories that emerge from living in transition.

Featured images credits: Image credits: Syowia Kyambi, Counter Action (i), Performance Installation, British Institute of Eastern Africa, Nairobi, Kenya (2015) / Masculinism (2018), IMAGE by Orlando Myxx / Courtesy of Sebastian Aguirre