Residency artists and researchers

Performing arts, performance art

Alena Starostina & Ivan Nikolaev (ALIVe)

Duo of Performative and Video Artists

Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa


The idea for the project “The trace of the silent,” which we would like to create during our stay at the Saari Residence, came to us in March 2022 when, after leaving Russia, we found our first haven in a small Finnish port town. It became evident to us then that we would likely have to change our location several times in the near future. During walks in the absolutely enchanting Finnish forests, so silent and serene, we started to ask ourselves: what are we leaving behind? Have we changed something in this forest, in this small town, in this country – while silently spending a segment of time here? And what traces does this landscape leave within us? Is this something that can be defined as a trace? The trace indicates the absence of someone or something. And it can be either the absence of the past or the absence of the future. We are planning to take a series of video shots that can be used to track the movement of an object/character. One could feel the unstable state of space and time, but the one who left the trace and the one who reads it are separated by time. The performer, in real-time, will try to follow his tracks as recorded on film, to follow the images and sounds. The past and the present will exist simultaneously. Perhaps the performer and the audience will be able to create a map of the territory using these traces together.

In our work, we are engaged in the convergence of modern art and theatre, cinema and theatre. We study the relationship between the viewer and the actor and explore the performative possibilities of acting existence. One focus of our interest is the study of borderline art forms. We are interested in searching for a non-standard approach to the chosen material, exploring the concepts of silence and inaction concerning theatrical language. We pave the way from disharmony and chaos to complete organization, from aimless play to the unity of nature and art.

In 2007 we graduated from the Saint-Petersburg Theatre Academy with a Master’s degree in acting.

In 2010, we became one of the founders of the independent “theatre post” and worked there as co-authors, performers, directors, curators and costume designers. We are two-time winners of the Russian national award Golden Mask in the category “Experiment” and multiple nominees and participants of regional and international festivals: Territory, Net, Theatre Confrontations, TEART, Yes Yes Yes, Сhaos, Karussell, Teatrtogo, The Access Point. In February 2022, we decided to leave Russia and currently reside in Germany. During 2022­–2023, with the support of the MRI Foundation, we worked on the project “Letters Home” at Festspielhaus Hellerau.