Performing Rights Series: Ecologies of Migration

9 Apr 2019

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Live Art Development Agency

England, United Kingdom


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A selection of performance videos reflecting on how stories of migration, border-crossing and refuge-seeking are integrated within ecological discourses from queer, feminist and decolonial perspectives.



Kyrahm and Julius Kaiser

Lovable Shells - (A)mare Conchiglie, 2016

19mins 44 secs

In a sunset performance on the shore of the Tyrrhenian Sea, Kyrahm and Julius Kaiser invite elderly Italian and recent African migrants to share stories over a meal, drawing timeless connections between generations of refugees and the endless struggle for dialogue.

Rome, Italy – Just before sunset on July 3, 2015, a performance piece began on the shore of the Tyrrhenian Sea in the town of Nettuno, south of Rome. For A(mare) Conchiglie, Rome-based artists Kyrahm and Julius Kaiser set a long table in the water and invited elderly Italian and recent African migrants to share their stories over a meal. The artists read poems throughout the performance.

A(mare) Conchiglie remains relevant at a time when the migrant crisis continues to worsen. This project is an example of one way that artists are sharing and opening up conversations about migration. As the Western world struggles with the complexities of the Syrian refugee crisis, this project continues to inspire dialogue.

With their performance, Kyrahm and Julius Kaiser draw a connection between the experiences of Italian migrants of the past and African migrants of the present: “we shall never forget that a hundred years ago the Italian migrants were those who drowned in the sea during their desperate trips to America.” More recently, overcrowded boats from Libya led to hundreds of drownings, including the loss of 800 lives in a single shipwreck last April. As of early June, over 50,000 migrants had come to Italy by boat this year.

The title A(mare) Conchiglie translates as “Sea Shells” and is also a play on words, suggesting that the stories shared are like shells (“conchiglie”) from the sea (“mare”) that are bitter (“amare”) and to be loved (“amare”).

(Forecast Public Art)

Kyrahm + Julius Kaiser is an Italian artist couple based in Rome, with individual expertise in the fields of visual and performance art, video art, film and activism. Upon their encounter, they started the project Human Installations, a research comprising contemporary art, performance art, live art and avant-garde theatre. In a constant dialogue with cinema, they create works of video art, documentaries and films. Their interest lies on the social function of the artist, existential dynamics, the role of identity, and the experimentation along mental and physical limits and gender roles.

Feral Theatre

Alterlife/Aftermath, 2018

9 minutes, 19 seconds

Inspired by historian and technoscience scholar Professor Michelle Murphy, and her concept of ‘alterlife’ in ‘damaged and damaging worlds’, Feral Theatre made a film about the Round Goby.

The Round Goby is a fish species that was accidentally introduced into the Great Lakes of North America and Canada in ballast from cargo ships from Eastern Europe. The Great Lakes are heavily polluted, the scene of complex ongoing ecological harms due to industrialisation, specifically the manufacture of persistent synthetic chemicals by Monsanto in the 20th century. The Round Goby is resilient and adaptable, able to tolerate relatively high levels of these chemicals. It is flourishing in these damaged ecosystems, is classed as an invasive ‘nuisance’ species and is the subject of a control programme.

The Round Goby has multiple genders, changes to which signal its capacity to be altered by chemicals and yet thrive. Through its sexed living being, it provides a way to sample and map the presence of endocrine disrupters like PCBs in the disturbed and transitioning Great Lakes. As Murphy puts it, ‘the Round Goby is a trans-animal and a queer survivor’ responding to the complex chemistry and entanglements of the ongoing aftermath of capitalism and colonialism.

Ines Moldavsky

The Men behind the Wall, 2018

28mins 16secs

Tinder. Woman seeks men. Man seeks women. Everything could be so simple if she weren’t in Israel and the guys nearby that the app suggests in search mode weren’t in the West Bank. Ines, an Israeli woman from Tel Aviv, the creator of the film and the main protagonist, makes contact with men from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip through dating websites and apps, overlooking the perpetual conflict in the background. Straddling the virtual and physical worlds, she goes on a journey through the West Bank, despite it being prohibited by Israeli law and considered a social taboo.

Quimera Rosa

Strange Quosmonauts fucking in the moon, 2011

12mins 20secs

Moon shag with no gravity. We leave the Earth to howl with the cosmonaut pack. Performance of Quimera Rosa in the Hard Cabaret, presented by Annie Sprinkle and Beth Sthephens, in the context of Silver Wedding to the rocks. We got papers married with the lunar stones-

Barcelona, 2011. Licence CC (by-nc-sa)

Performers and editing: Quimera Rosa.

Camera: Majo PostOp

Created in Barcelona in 2008, Quimera Rosa [Pink Chimera] is a nomadic lab that researches and experiments on body, technoscience and identities. Quimera Rosa aims to develop practices that produce non-natural cyborg identities from a transdisciplinary perspective. Inspired by Donna Haraway’s notion of the cyborg defined as: “chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism,” the collective deconstructs sex and gender identities as well as the interactions between body/machine/environment. Their performances produce hybridised beings and chimeras to explore aspects of subjectivity which result from the incorporation of prosthetics.

Informed by transfeminist and post-identitarian discourses, they see bodies as platforms for public intervention that can test the limits between public and private. Sexuality is understood as a technological and artistic creation with which to experiment, hybridize and blur the frontiers between natural / artificial, normal / abnormal, male / female, hetero / homo, human / animal, animal / plant, art / politics, art / science, reality / fiction…

Most of Quimera Rosa’s work is conducted in a collaborative manner and free of patents and proprietary codes. It has been presented in streets, contemporary art centres, bars, galleries, universities, concert halls, colleges, discos, museums, squats, festivals and theatres.

Rocio Boliver

To The Rhythm Of The Swing, 2012

15mins 11secs

The Mexican performer Rocio Boliver swung over the border between Mexico and the USA at 10 meters high, using a swing attached to a crane. Between the cities of Tijuana and San Diego there is a metal wall belonging to the government of the United States and it is a zone of North American national security. While Boliver carried out this action, an armed group of the mounted police of the United States, kept watching from a distance. Boliver came up covered her face with a long white veil, leaving the blank canvas for all the faces of the people who were kill when they were trying to cross the border will draw. The long veil hung and flying with the strong wind at that height, above the sea, like the souls of the dead who were coming back at that moment with their families. After rocking for a while Rocio stood on the swing as a demonstration of standing on American soil leaving the laws without being able to apply.  No one had thought about the possibility that in the manner of a children's game, the law could be broken ironically. To complete the Action, Boliver lowered his pants and showed his buttocks in a mocking manner, a universal and very old insult.

After, Rocio said - "I thought while swinging, - if the police are in contact, what they communicate to the command base?

- Someone is crossing the border now..., not now..., now..., not now..., now..."

- Hahahaha. For a moment I was afraid that they could shoot me, but being up there I felt totally free and happy!

Rocio Boliver’s practice is a sharp and focused critique of the many repressive ideologies that burden the lives of women in Mexico. “In this pasteurized society, I prefer to cause disgust, hatred, rejection, confusion, weariness, anxiety, hostility, fear ... to further promote mental asepsis.” From 1992 to date, Boliver has made performances in Mexico and in festivals in Europe, Asia, North and South America, including Grace Exhibition Space, New York and City of Women Festival, Slovenia. She has recently been awarded the Scholarship Promotion Projects and Joint Ventures FONCA Cultural granted by National Council for Culture and the Arts.


Arts Feminism Queer

Exhibiting artists

Kyrahm & Julius Kaiser

Quimera Rosa

Feral Theatre

Rocio Boliver

Inés Moldavsky

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