Elena Marchevska


I am a practitioner, academic and researcher interested in creating work that can help us to think through new historical discontinuities that have emerged in post-capitalist and post-socialist transition. This is ever more relevant at a time when the Eurozone is fragmenting, and right wing populisms are on the rise. In addition, I do research and write extensively on the issues of belonging, female body and the border and intergenerational trauma. My artistic work explores borders and stories that emerge from living in transition. Ultimately, I am interested in creating and researching work that provides means by which people can meet, human to human, in all their differences, in the most sensitive and sincere way possible.

Third Nature

Digital Conversations Commission in collaboration with Sebastian Aguirre, Syowia Kyambi and Carolyn Defrin

The Third Nature digital conversation commission, consists of a film you can watch here and the ongoing digital discussion board that you can access through this link. Third Nature is 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. Our approach to the project felt borderless – without boundaries, In a creatively nurturing way.

Commissioned by performingborders and Live Art Development Agency for performingbordersLIVE20 supported by the Centre for Research in Digital Story-making at London South Bank University, funded by Arts Council England.

Finding Home

In the last ten years of the Hostile Environment in the UK- instability, a lack of a sense of belonging and a desire to make change, has inspired enormous creative response from artists that come from migrant backgrounds.
As such, we feel it is as important to address this response, as it is to understand the hostile political climate that provokes it.
Researchers and artists Elena Marchevska and Carolyn Defrin, and filmmaker Winstan Whitter decided to work in a non-hierarchical dynamic, as co-creators over a period of two years. As a team, we all come from complicated migrant backgrounds, that are additionally challenged due to the Hostile Environment Act in the UK. We view our research and creative practice as a method for defying what constitutes a ‘good citizen’s’ narrative in the UK today. Our core collaboration opens up to further collaborations as we worked with different artists and researchers from a range of migrant backgrounds. Through observations and discussions about our respective visual and performance art-making practices, we created a series of films that aim to resist a singular view of migration. We feel this speaks to the vibrant and varied migration cultures that comprise the UK.

Funder: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2018) : Insight Development Grant

More about the project here: www.projectfindinghome.net

The Displaced and Privilege: Live Art in Age of Hostility

In 2016, Elena Marchevska undertook research residency in LADA’s Study Room exploring live art practices and methodologies in issues of cultural privilege and the displaced. This residency was part of LADA’s Restock, Rethink, Reflect Four programme, that aims to mark and map the ways in which Live Art has developed new forms of access to, and understandings of, knowledge, agency, and inclusion in relation to the under-represented, marginalized and disenfranchised constituencies of: * the young * the old * the displaced, and * those excluded through economic and social barrriers. Elena’s residency was done in collaboration with Counterpoints Arts and built on dis/placed programme of events which was organised in response to global demographic shifts and unprecedented levels of human displacement. As part of her residency, Elena worked with the concept of hospitality in juxtaposition with hostility and decided to extend invitation and host other artists as part of her residency. Firstly, she invited the artist Tanja Ostojic to run a free two-day workshop at LADA on ideas of displacement as part of Tanja's ongoing Misplaced Women? project, on 13-14 December 2016. The workshop was followed by a public performance by Tanja and workshop participants. Elena also invited artists to submit contributions to her Study Room Guide on Displacement in the form of anecdotes, stories, short observations, poems, photographs or performance texts on their experiences of the ‘state of displacement’.

Read Elena's guest post for Performing Borders

Elena talking about her residency video

Megan Vaughan of LADA interviews Kelly Green, Elena Marchevska, Lois Weaver and Sibylle Peters about their LADA residencies for CAPP.

Misplaced Women? in London, video of the workshop

Funding: The residency was funded by the Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme (CAPP), an EU-funded research project looking at collaborative practices within socially engaged contexts. The overall goal of CAPP is to improve and open up opportunities for artists who are working collaboratively across Europe, by enhancing mobility and exchange whilst at the same time engaging new publics and audiences for collaborative practices. The principle aims of the CAPP residencies are to explore new models of participation and co-operation and encourage an exchange of artists’ methodologies, contexts? and ideas.


Marchevska, E. and. Nichol, C. Dia.

Performed at:
Circuit Festival De Montfort University, Leicester, 02-03 June 2011. Performers: Nichol, C. and Marchevska, E.
Somatics and Technology conference. University of Chichester, 22-23 June, 2012. Performers: Nichol, C and Marchevska, E.

This performative installation is part of an on-going research through practice collaboration to explore process as performance. This piece is developed through Authentic Movement practice - a somatic practice developed by Mary Starks-Whitehouse, used as a devising tool by dance and performance practitioners (Jane Bacon 2010, Eila Goldhahn 2007). The piece emerged through three years (2008-2011) of rigorous, intense process under the supervision of Prof Jane Bacon, at University of Northampton. This process lead to new insights on how somatic practice can be reflected and mediated through digital screens. This piece contributes to an investigation into the relations between digital technologies and the moving/feeling body. It follows Kate Mondloch use of the term ‘screen-reliant’ art as opposed to the term ‘screen-based’ art to signal that the screen is a performative category (2010:xii). The artist in Mondloch’s opinion considers every aspect of the screen, not just as an object, but also as how it can serve as a subject. When creating the work, the artist considers what physical, conceptual and political points can be made with the use of the screen.

To focus the research, only two stories were chosen as reflection points. The story of the Wanderer (foreigner) and mOther. The M(O)ther and Wanderer are embodied through movement, image making and voice. The separated explorations were captured via live feed and projected on screen as one image. The aesthetic is a layered processual fragmented story over a 2 hour duration. . The piece was commissioned for East Midlands Live Art Platform “Circuit” in 2011 and received a positive feedback from both the audience and the peers. The year after, the piece was selected as a practice output example during the International conference “Somatics and Technology” that gathered international pool of academics and practitioners.

Valid until…

Valid until…

Marchevska, E.

This project is an in-depth research on the theme of borders and motherhood. It consisted of a series of autobiographical writing, performative photographs and videos taken during a period of 140 days. The period was symbolic, equal to one hundred and forty questions that I had to answer about myself, my children and my family in the visa application. This is a challenge that repeatedly occurs in my life. Coming from South East Europe (the ex-Yugoslavia region), my validity and legal status is constantly re-evaluated and subject to the scrutiny of the Western European authorities. The period of one hundred and forty days was a period of confirming the validity of my legal status in United Kingdom. Borders can be built from outside, they can be physical and tangible, difficult to cross, but passable. I felt compelled as an artist to talk about the experience of motherhood as a highly political state, where the body is split and carries not only the child into this world, but also the cultural responsibility and intergenerational take on the borders that youngsters have to cross. In my research and performative interventions, I looked at the ways in which artist-mothers negotiate and translate their experiences with/on the border. This project is included in the Live Art Development Agency Study Room Guide on Live Art and Motherhood and is also held as part of the Study Room in Exile at The Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home.

The place where we were last together

Marchevska, E.

In this piece I looked at the state in which the boundaries of inside and outside, self and other, dissolve. I took the maternal as a starting point, since the maternal body points to the impossibility of closure, to a liminal state where the boundaries of the body are fluid.

I explored the maternal through the screen as an object that protects on one hand, and obscures on the other. The screen is a curtain, a window, a digital representation. I was inspired by the long tradition of how women interact with screen as shape, object and signifier.

The academic article.