Decrypting Performance Art

Rocío Boliver

a one day seminar

Rocío Boliver, image courtesy of the artist.

Decrypting Performance Art is a one day seminar led by Rocio Boliver, reflecting on key performances (via photographic and video documentation) they have created across the last 30 years of practice.

For this seminar, the artist invites 25 participants to spend the day with her as she examines five recurrent themes which continue to shape the aesthetic and surrounding discourse of her work: Pain, Excretions, Sex, Old-age & Politics.

In addition, Rocio will elucidate upon the three core aspects of their personal, performance art making methodologies: the Pre-performance, Performance & Post-performance moments. Rocio will share intimate details of these making processes through lively discussion with participants.


I devote myself to transgress limits. I dig into human behaviour. I disrupt accepted reality, absurd as the one I situationate. I was born a seductive Nabokov's “Lolita”. I lived censorship, scolding, fear and guilt, typical of a repressive society. I break the conventional woman scheme. My aesthetic is grotesque, in search of severity. I’m a human reaction voracious hunter, consumer and provocateur.
- Rocio Boliver

Rocio has presented her work in Europe, Asia, North and South America. Since 2012, Rocío’s performances have focused on the ageing female body – a body, and a body of work, that she describes as ‘between menopause and old age’. She aims to aims to demystify the horror of old age in an ironical way, inventing her own deranged aesthetic and moral solutions for the problem of age. She revels in the cultural unease the ageing female body tends to provoke, and she embraces, on the one hand, shame, disgust, and embarrassment, and on the other, pleasure, laughter, and great beauty, in often dizzying and un-navigable recombination.

Opening Hours

Sunday 9 October,  12pm to 6pm

>Location & access


Tickets are offered on a sliding scale from £10 to £25. All revenue raised goes directly to the artist and we encourage those who can pay a little more than the £10 minimum to please do so as this enables us to continue making our work available to all.

Wait List

]ps[ will retain a handful of FREE tickets, if you are unwaged/financially precarious please contact to secure one of these limed free tickets.

Credits & Contact

Decrypting Performance Art is conceived and convened by Rocio Boliver and produced by ]performance s p a c e [ with support from the Live Art Development Agency and VSSL Studio.

Organiser contact:

zack mennell


an exhibition of cultural sewage

(para)site began with a vision; I can't remember if it was waking or sleeping. There is a person, an alive, moving body swaddled in puffy white diapers. This person slowly approaches a body of water and walks in upright, never swimming. Being both viewer and nappy-being in this vision, I feel the weight of the diapers absorbing the environment. I feel my skin infringed upon by the water and its microscopic aberrations & pollutants. I feel the pressure around my ribcage and the silted ground under my feet. My nervous system begins bursting with adrenaline as the realisation sets in that I cannot swim well, if at all, let alone weighed down by 26 diapers. The vision ends as the water swallows my shoulders, meeting the submental space of my chin.

*      *      *

I received a letter in the post in a PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL envelope, headed by the NHS logo was a lengthy account of my mental illness, crises and all. The letter notified me of my new updated record, telling me that I have EUPD (emotionally unstable personality disorder), not Bipolar, for which I had been unsuccessfully medicated for over two years. No wonder it was so unsuccessful. I took a photo of this letter and sent it to the DWP (department for work and pensions). They said I was not ill enough. My GP (general practitioner) told me to stop working. The CMHT (community mental health team) said I was too ill to see them. The ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder) department asked me to keep chasing them for an appointment while telling me that my diagnosis of ADHD makes it difficult for me to remember things like appointments. The DWP assessment centre said I made a hearteningly healthy amount of eye contact. My psychiatrist said I made too little eye contact and that I overshared. In the MHAU (mental health assessment unit), I pissed in the corner of my room and then complained about the smell, only to be told it was in my head.

IFLISWATIA (I Feel Like I Should Write All This In Acronyms).

Walking away from the entrance of St Thomas' A&E (accident & emergency), I take all these papers to the river. The river will make sense of them. The river will keep flowing. The river will take me with it. The river will wash my records clear. The river will take me downriver. The river will take me home.

Tangled within the residue of the city and the detritus of you, its people, I find myself downstream, but not yet at the chalky gorges and metal industrial estates of my childhood. Fishing myself from the water, I crawl up a wood corridor in the riverbank, ascending stairs to spite the undercurrents. Oozing liquids unknown, I drag myself through the town to a small space with a glass wall; here, I begin to unpack all that I am and have been and everything I have collected along the way.

Opening Hours

Thursday 22 to Sunday 25 September,
12pm to 6pm

Live performance on Deptford Foreshore,
Watergate Street, SE8 3GG
Friday 23 Sept, 6.30 - 7.30, RSVP

>Location & access


para(site) has been commissioned as part of Tidechangers, a developmant programme for early career artists by The Thames Festival Trust and presented as part of Totally Thames 2022. The project has been supported by VSSL studio and Deptford X.

Images:  (para)site: taking the piss, Live Art Club London. Photo by Queer Garden (Beliza Buzollo)

About the exhibition

(para)site: an exhibition of cultural sewage is zack mennell’s first installation at VSSL studio. The installation is a response to zack’s memories of growing up in a working-class community along the industrialised Thames in South Essex, and their experiences as a medicalised, societally infantilised disabled & neurodivergent queer person.

In zack’s performance and analogue photographic practices, they research class, disability and ecology, and their new works - video, photography, object and collage - will be shown alongside research materials and ephemera.

zack’s humorous works have been shaped by their psycho-geographic explorations of Deptford, especially the Foreshore, which provides direct access to the Thames and upon which much is washed up with the tides.  


Artistic expression is, for me, a way to make sense of the world and an attempt to contextualise who I am within it. In stepping into difficulty and pain through artmaking, I attempt to understand life through a different register to that of daily survival. I want my work to have an uncanny quality, that it might temporarily unsettle familiar places, making visible some of the strange aspects and tensions embedded there.

Zack Mennell is an emerging (unemployed) artist using writing, photography and performance to explore queerness and neurodiversity in relation to presence and visibility. Zack has been active as a performer, photographer and writer since 2015. They have collaborated frequently with performance artist Martin O’Brien, notably in Sanctuary Ring (SPILL Festival, 2016) and The Last Breath Society (ICA, 2021).

Hollie Miller & Craig Scott. Animus, 2020. Image courtesy of the artists.

Hollie Miller
& Craig Scott

Thursday 18th August, 7.30pm

As part of their residency at VSSL, Hollie Miller and Craig Scott will share work in progress of their new collaborative performance, inquiring into how wearable sensors can unify dance choreography and music composition. Using haptic feedback monitors and conductive cord they will explore the body as an electronic instrument through a self designed external circulatory system. Sound and movement initiation and manipulation become intertwined in a single organism unified via a technological umbilical cord.

>Location & access

about the artists

Hollie Miller is a performance artist with an interdisciplinary practice and background in contemporary dance. Craig Scott is a composer and sound artist working with performers, robots and custom built digital and analogue hardware. Together they seek a sculptural dialogue between sound and movement to make highly visual and visceral performance that blurs the perceptual line between the organic and synthetic. 

April Lin 林森. Image courtesy of the artist.

In Dedication

presented by We Exist

>Friday 3 June, 6pm (RSVP)
>Friday 10 June, 6pm (RSVP)

In Dedication is an exhibition dedicated to We Exist co-founder Sophie Gwen Williams and her vision.

The exhibition includes new and existing work by 28 trans and non-binary artists in devotion to memory, community, the body, history, ancestors, desire, longing, a future, ritual, healing, liberation, resistance, love and to ourselves.  These acts of dedication are told through moving-image, sound, photography, painting installation and performance, hosted by the Koppel Project. Running alongside the exhibition are two screening and performance events at VSSL studio. The events are free, but please do RSVP.

Friday 3 June: Screening event, 6-9pm
Featuring Es Morgan, April Lin 林森, nnull, Clémentine Bedos, Holly Hunter, Verity Coward, Assia Ghendir, and Grace Sands - RSVP

Friday 10 June: an evening of performances, 6-9pm
Featuring  Cosmic Caz,  Chloe Filani, SHEIVA and Clémentine Bedos - RSVP

The exhibition, screenings and performance events are curated by Iarlaith Ni Fheorais and five curatorial mentees: Delia Detritus, Saati McCormack, Caz Ortoli, Puer Deorum and Willow Killeen

about We Exist

We Exist is a London-based arts organisation headed by a collective of formidable trans creatives and community organisers, established to provide emergency support for the LGBTQI+ community across the UK. Founded in 2020 by multidisciplinary artist and activist Sophie Gwen Williams, community organiser and club promoter Jo Alloway and artist and community organiser June Lam, We Exist is both a healthcare fund providing tangible support to trans folks in the UK in crisis, and an innovative trans led creative arts organisation with a focus on community engagement and events programming.

Project  Info, Venue, Access
>In Dedication
>Location & access

>We Exist

The exhibition and residency at The Koppel Project are supported by We Exist partners Body Movements, Dalston Superstore and Hard + Shiny, and with the support of Arts Council England.

Metamorph, Clementine Bedos. Image courtesy of the artist.

 Sheiva. Image courtesy of the artist.

to feel something tipping, under and towards you, Es Morgan. Image courtesy of the artist.

an open studio sharing

moa johansson and an*dre neely

Saturday 23 April 2022
14.00-19.00 (drop in)

Image courtesy of the artists. 

During this relaxed afternoon, artists moa johansson and an*dre neely will hang out, knit, crochet, fold, unfold, stretch and rearrange fabrics, read out loud, live digital drawings and share fragments and echoes of the last three years of collective research, and the beginning ideas and materials for their upcoming live-performance.

Please do RSVP to let us know you are coming. Entry is anytime between 2 and 7pm.

An* & Moa’s collaboration is sustained through approaching distance as a material, allowing its restrictions to become possibilities that define the form/content/aesthetic the work takes. Until now: a chain of on-going video-exchanges (currently 60), mixed-media online experiments, sculpture-gifts to each other, or a multi-platform open-source performance. They were the recipients of an AXISWeb Micro-commission in early 2021, short-listed for the Flanders Art Institute's A Fair New Idea Fund & are currently working on a new live-performance work, commissioned by Cambridge Junction and Theatre in the Mill.

WITH ECHOES: an open studio sharing marks the beginning of the focused 6-week period of development for WITH ECHOES FILLING UP THE ORBIT, BUT DAMAGED, showing at Cambridge Junction in May 2022.

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