Eli Steffen (she/her) works in the fields of performance, education, and curation. At the heart of her artistic practice is the pursuit of a queer belonging, an effort to entangle with others and the world through an honest reckoning with ourselves. Elioa’s practice is a communion with the other, tearing down the boundaries that separate “us” from “them,” and in its place building a bonfire for us all, for the monstrous and the useless, faggots and sissies, chthulus and fairies, trash heaps and ghosts.
Elioa’s work is anchored in performance but includes writing, education, curation, and visual art. For many years she has been creating participatory performances which investigate the connections between personal truths, communal identities, and systems of violence. Sometimes they are queered childhood games or rituals that flow from her childhood spent in Islamic ceremonies, gay and hippy neo-Pegan gatherings, and youth art camps. These performances invite audiences to inhabit the hard feelings, histories, and realities of the current era together, its messy politics, and their consequences.
Currently based in Amsterdam, Elioa is the co-founder of In Pursuit of Otherwise Possibilities, Queer Performance Pedagogy and Feedback (IPOP). Recently, Elioa graduated from DAS Theatre where she received a residency and commission from DOOResidency (Amsterdam). Eli has been commissioned and produced by On the Boards, Gay City, 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), NW New Works Festival, as well as her own productions The Temenos Project and the Rain City Advice Hour (Seattle, WA).