Eli Steffen: Ephemeral Archives

Ephemeral Archives is a performative installation exploring non-linear temporalities through material explorations and ecological-landscape world building. Working with 4 performers (Venuri Perera, Agat Sharma, Ainhoa Hernández Escudero, Mylan Hoezen), we are creating a task-based score to explore the materiality of the clay, water and plastic, their temporal dimensions, and how we can create collaborations with non-corporeal others (ghosts, ideas, ancestors, divinities, etc.). The work unfolds in a landscape which seeks to simultaneously unite and individuate the separate aesthetic elements both as works of art in themselves and parts of a larger whole. Utilizing the image of a forest, we are seeking to build layers of and connections between sculpture, dance, video, sculpting, sound and scenography in order to build a world where time(s) can be experienced in its multiplus, often non-linear realities.

In addition to the clay sculptures and live performance, Ephemeral Archives utilizes video essays to interrogate the relational and ultimately local nature of time, that in fact there is no such thing as time, “times are legion and infinite.” Working with four artists (Corinne Manning, Deann Louise Nardo, Julia Croft, and Nico Swenson) I commissioned video essays based on a simple proposal: two one-hour conversations between the artists and myself. These conversations ranged from the nature of grief to why we make art, from the temporalities of ancestors to queer theory. The invitation was for the artists to create work that would simultaneously be a singular work of art and a part of the larger performative installation. 

This project seeks to investigate how understanding non-linear temporalities can make a space for building collaborations with the spectral. Diving into choreographic explorations of materiality, most prominently clay, Ephemeral Archives seeks to experience together with the human, the material, and the ghostly, the simultaneous and fractal natures of time(s). 

The video essays that were commissioned as part of Ephemeral Archives, can be seen here.

This Was Supposed to Be by Eli Steffen

Thelma & Louise by Julia Croft

Parted by Deann Louise C. Nardo

Quantum Ghost by Miss Texas 1988

Critical Questions by Corinne Manning

More about Eli Steffen

Photos by Thomas Lenden