Eli Steffen - Ephemeral Archives

Ephemeral Archives is a participatory, ritualistic performance which invites audiences to sit into what is and is no longer. In an unfolding environment of clay sculptures and moving bodies, a practice of contemplation and touch grows through observation and engagement with moist, wet clay and its varied temporalities. Clay offers its own clock through cycles of drying and rehydrating. It takes the outline of the sculptor’s shape through movement but also pushes back, reshapes the human.

Drawing on lessons of New Materialism, Ephemeral Archives is a space of indeterminacies. The sculptures and movements serve as invitations for non-corporeal entities (ghosts, ancestors, divinities, etc.) to inhabit the space and the minds of the performers and audience alike. Rather than being preoccupied with what is real, Ephemeral Archives is a moment to sit with and expand into the questions, the uncertainties, maybe even the indeterminacies of the ghosts and hauntings we bring with us. To sit together with what is and what is no longer, what could be, what might have been, and what might still be.

Ephemeral Archives asks: How can we sit with the past that does not pass? How can we sit with this now, pregnant with what has been, as it stretches on? How can we be together with the losses and all that haunts this moment? And how can form, movement, and connection help us open together in ways we cannot alone? You are invited to sit with us. What forms will you choose for yourself and which will you offer?

Eli Steffen (She/her) is a speculative artist working in the fields of performance, visual art, and curation. At the heart of Eli’s artistic practice is the pursuit of a queer belonging, an effort to entangle with others and the world beyond the normative structures we have inherited. She seeks stories and visions of alternative possibilities and their monstrous others: faggots and sissies, chthulus and fairies, trash heaps and ghosts. Eli has been commissioned and produced by Gay City, On the Boards, Studio Current (Seattle), Risk/Reward (Portland), Dixon Place (New York), and Vashon Center for the Arts (Vashon Island), among others. Her curation has been featured in the Special Effects Festival (New York), and NW New Works Festival (Seattle, WA). This production is made possible through support from DOOResidency.

Performers Agat Sharma,
Ainhoa Hernández Escudero,
Maria Mavridou
Lights Vinny Jones
Special thanks to Lewis Young
Andrea Božić
Tchelet Pearl Weisstub
Robbi Meertens
Ira Brand