top of page


Created by Elena Marchevska, Syowia Kyambi, Seb Aguirre and Carolyn Defrin

Commissioned by LADA/performingborders

Reflective writing, photography and video build this open-ended assemblage of our digital discussions from June-September 2020. Examining our own migratory patterns between Europe, North and South America and Africa we present a riot of short reflections on lived, precarious, migrant experience patched onto bigger discussions of feminism and care.

**The title of the discussion 'Third nature,' we borrow from Anna Tsing. She argues that the term 'first nature' is based on established ecological relations (including humans) and 'second nature' refers to capitalist transformations of the environment. However, when she talks about ‘third nature’, she addresses the entities that manage to live despite capitalism. To even notice third nature, Tsing says, we must evade assumptions that the future is that singular direction ahead.

Visit performingborders to view the commission in its original context.
Explore the research process here

Forthcoming article: Third Nature: Embodiment of borders and thinking beyond: Surviving despite capitalism by Dr. Elena Marchevska and Dr. Carolyn Defrin for the Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices



To Tend Dark Soil *

The amber waves are now ablaze

Burning an orange apocalypse of carelessness 

Lighting up a homeland 

So far away 

From the home I remember growing up in.


Broken bodies, broken lands, broken country.


And yet you are my home. 

You call me, long distance 

Ringing through an ocean:

‘How will you tend from so far away?’

Roots that reach across a century of movement

From Europe to a United States to a United Kingdom

Echo so many false promises of union.


I walk through British countryside lanes. 

More walks in more months of the pandemic.

I’m out looking for mushrooms growing in upturned trees 

(inspired by Anna Tsing’s Matsuki mushroom that grew

in the ashen aftermath of Hiroshima) 

Instead I find a child’s truck parked in the crevices of an up-turned tree stump– 

A toy reminder of man’s persistent yearning to control and drive over, extract and profit.

Or perhaps a symbiotic hug?

Uprooted, both truck and tree hold tight to one another for now.


The America I am watching through phone and laptop portals 

is one that has forgotten the land

Forgotten its entanglements and a balance of power

The blood of injustice spilling relentlessly an infertile poison


I think of my grandparents making their way by boats across the Atlantic to the US, 

Entering through the pearly gates of Ellis Island in the early part of the 20th century.

What would they think now? 

How would they rise up with the soil that comforts their long-ago bones 

and whisper or RAGE:


‘We’ve been here before

In the wipe out, 

in the weary wild game of  human control.

Lie down 

Let the earth speak 

Then sing back and let your hands sink deep 


*published in forthcoming article: "Third Nature

 Embodiment of borders and thinking beyond: Surviving despite capitalism" by Dr. Elena Marchevska and Dr. Carolyn Defrin for the Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices

How to Detonate*



Make a plan

Or don’t

Break the earth that you 

or someone else thought was firm, secure, pleasurable, strong, 

good for holding

Break it really well- 

Split it, crack it, smash it, detonate it, explode it into a million pieces

Then let the dust and innards and wires and guts come flying out

So that it’s impossible not to see it, deal with it, eat it for breakfast lunch and dinner

So that there is no way to put it back together the same way

So that it hurts

So that it cuts deep down hard hardly there anymore and only stringy particles and atoms of breath offer





How to Heal*





If you want to do it right

Black blood takes times to rise to the surface, to lift the old and grow new cells


But you can get a bandaid right away

Something to hold it all in --keep it from spilling out

This can be made of cotton and sticky things

Care and glue 

Soft and adhesive

Don’t be afraid to be cohesive with other things and people that are similar but not the same

Take your time

Give your time


Look at something/someone new

Lie down and look again, but from a different moment

Kiss your shoulders or let your shoulders kiss you


It’s okay

*featured in the digital film

Poetic texts
by carolyn defrin

bottom of page