Welcome to my studio

A photographed portrait in cold tones, with white background in the distance. The image is square and shows violet's face and shoulders. It shows a white non-binary person, with shoulder-length hair that is bleached blond at the very front, and the rest of the hair is natural ashy blond. violet has blue eyes and rather small facial features. The expression on their face is neutral, they are looking away from the camera, into the distance. They are wearing an oversized suit jacket that is grey and has thin white stripes, underneath it they are wearing a white shirt opened up, you can see silver jewellery like a small hoop earring and a silver necklace.
Portrait of violet.

Hi, my name is violet/a marchenkova, and welcome to my studio. I am an artist filmmaker, writer, arts worker and community organiser with Devil’s Dyke Network. For the longest time, I’ve been a student of spaces and environments, learning how to create moments of communality, connection and the life-affirming energies of the erotic. It’s almost like I needed to create those spaces that strive for acceptance and a radical kind of inclusivity to affirm the place and possibility of my personal creative work.

Sometimes I think that this queered intimacy is the only medium I’m truly interested in. Otherwise, I’m obsessed with many other things: diaristic practices, dance music, embodied dance practices, mental health, Disability Justice, queer TV content, bisexual culture, why my zoom sangha makes me feel so good, rethinking autism, and more.

I’m going to use this residency as a moment to finally sit down and review various film footage and written pieces I’ve collected over the years, to see if a new film emerges. I’m going to use this time to play and connect with people as much as possible, maybe record some conversations, see people, be seen.

You can watch the last diary film I made in 2019 here. It is called jet lag. These diary films are me but also not me. Parts of me that exist or existed, questions and insecurities I purged (or maybe, reintegrated).

Please feel free to leave me comments on the posts, I’m looking forward to chatting with you. I hope we can connect, even briefly, over these very silly and very serious things.

Lots of love,


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power / force. back back back again

I had a really hard time working with the old footage and photographs from Ventspils, it was too emotionally charged (but not in a spectacular powerful way, more like in a gentle-nagging-weighing-down way). and I was sitting in the studio, breaking down a bit and thinking “this is not supposed to be so difficult and boring, this time is supposed to be creative, playful and life-affirming!!!”

so I asked myself WHERE IS MY POWER

(and I found it.)

I’m actually starting to work on some fun stuff right now that also came out of my archives but it’s not at all what I expected coming into this residency.

so yeah, I don’t think I’m ready to work with that particular video footage yet. I had glimpses of what kind of film this footage could become but it’s out of my reach right now because I’m only starting to come back to my individual practice, plus so many hard things happened in the past 3-4 months (from my housemate leaving without a word, to another burnout from work, to fighting off illegal eviction attempts, to going through assessments with DWP that kept being rescheduled) – I really need to listen to what energies/thoughts/feelings are here with me and ready to be expressed. not forcing anything anymore.

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pre-residency interview with Jamie

A still from a video. Two superimposed images in bright harsh colours, in the centre of it there is a wooden figurine/doll with a hula hoop on its hips. The figurine has blonde wooden hair in a bob, light skin tone, it is wearing a wooden miniskirt in dusty blue and a red crop top that says BALLS.
Film still from a video for Ping Pong Bitches / Mommies live performance, violet marchenkova.

Jamie Wyld: Thanks for being part of the Vital Capacities residency programme! Can you say a little about yourself and your work, perhaps in relation to what you’re thinking about doing during the residency?

violet marchenkova: So I am a moving image artist, writer, and community organiser. I make short experimental first person films, some people say they are like visual poems of sorts. I haven’t been able to make a film since 2019, when I had a residency at ONCA Barge, so I’m really excited to reconnect with that part of me and see where and how my practice can develop.

My roots are in being an art historian and documentary practitioner – so I’m hyperaware of the money and power that make artworks in history what they are, and I’m very critical of how realism is signalled and how the truth is constructed. That’s just what goes on in my head most of the time.

I’m currently thinking about the theme “Environment” in terms of accessibility frameworks, experiences of isolation, domestic spaces used for feminist organising (and how we lost that during lockdowns), UK’s hostile environment policy, the designed environment of the house that I’m currently in but being evicted from.

Otherwise, I’m looking at some Wolfgang Tillmans’ artist books I got gifted, I’m reading “No Bad Parts” about internal family systems, I’ve just received my copy of Ф Письмо by isolarii with Russian feminist poetry (that I’m too scared to read because it’s too close to my heart), and I’m watching Queer Eye to sleep because apparently, I’m not okay unless a see a group hug every 5-10 minutes. That is what’s in my field of awareness at the moment.

JW: One of the aims of Vital Capacities is to create an accessible site (so more people can use it) – how do you think this will be an opportunity to develop your way of working?

vm: I love that website. It strikes me as this luscious garden patch, where all kinds of pieces – from voice notes and unfinished thoughts to complete videos – can sit together, cross-pollinate.

I never had a real artist studio! And my whole adult life I’ve been stuck between art institutions and DIY art scenes – between the institutionally validated ways of working and rebellious acts – which is not the worst place to be but it brought a lot of inconsistencies to my life that I used to not know how to hold.

For my creative practice to flourish, and even to simply exist, I’ve always felt like I needed to first organise spaces and structures where art like mine could be appreciated. I think that is what drove me to put so much energy into community organising with Devil’s Dyke Network. Art needs to be shared and when you can’t see any contexts or venues or projects that your work could unapologetically fit in (or those are too out of reach) – you start questioning yourself.

So yeah, seeing this virtual space already set up for me, that is so versatile and served so many different artists before me – I feel held! and ready to express and document ideas.

JW: What would you like to achieve through the residency? Is there a particular project you’ll be focusing on?

vm: Honestly, I just intend to be the most neuroqueer artist version of myself that I can be and stop apologising for it, for being different, for any of that.

In previous residencies, or while at uni, I’ve always struggled with my failing to “do things properly” or was insecure about my film practice, unaware how neuroqueerness draws me to new and unexpected paths that are equally as valid. There’s too much professionalisation of the artist that’s gone down in the past decades, and I don’t think I can perform that to any good outcome. And I think I’m at peace with that.

The thing is that many disabled artists are perpetually emerging, we are constantly stuck in being emerging artists because the consistency and progression that we expect in an artist’s career are jeopardised by barriers to access and the shortage of opportunities. Disability often directly relates to our capacity for labour so things like long periods of inability to work, and maybe just general ableism of the art world are major exclusionary forces. So, honestly, I’m just here to take this paid time, focus on my art and see what needs to be said.

JW: How do you see the next few weeks unfolding? Where would you like it to take you?

vm: My art practice never works out in a planned-out cause-and-effect way. I just love listening to Alexis Pauline Gumbs talk about receptivity and being a vessel, our practice being a portal. Whatever comes through us is a gift. No ego, no control, just receiving.

Usually, I just kind of sketch out ideas, listen to what asks to be made visible. Filmmaking is a space for me where I can speak in a language that is true to me, as opposed to the life of writing narratives on other people’s terms (disability assessments, funding applications, social media, stuff I write in my day job).

I’m looking forward to just sitting down to look at the footage I have accumulated (some important pieces from visiting Latvia and Scotland), playing around with editing, writing a bit more, maybe a new script.

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roses are red, violets are gay

This reel is on my Minecraft mood board for sure:





Video description: An Instagram reel by @minecraftprimebuilds that shows a Minecraft player jumping over objects/obstacles in a tunnel while in the child’s voice we hear the following words (that also show up in large letters over the video): “Roses are red, violets are gay, I sent this to you cause you are gay”

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goals (all I have these days is plans and luggage)

Breathing in,
I have become space
without boundaries.
I have no plans left.
I have no luggage.

Breathing out,
I am the moon
that is sailing through the sky of utmost emptiness.
I am freedom.

    ~ an extract from Thich Nhat Hanh‘s writing

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writing image descriptions got me sad, BUT IT’S OKAY TO BE LOST

Image of twigs, leaves and pebbles at the bottom of the lake, under the shiny layer of ice.
image of the frozen lake with a forest in the distance on the other end of it. and a silhouette of a tree growing out of the water (while actually it probably is at the very edge of the lake's shore)
a large twig on the frozen surface of the lake.
the same large twig on the frozen surface of the lake, however, this time the image is a bit blurry, overexposed and imperfect.
this image shows the type of tree that grow around the lake. mostly pines with some birch trees.
pebbles under the frozen surface of the lake.
roots of a tree under the frozen surface of the lake, submerged in water.
a weirdly shaped root near the water. looks kinda sad.
an human-shaped imprint in the sand, covered in ice.

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cries in sand

Photograph of sand 1
Photograph of sand 2
Photograph of sand 3

The initial plan for my residency was to go through video footage, images and writing pieces that I accumulated since the last time I made a film.

Finding these images I’m sharing today immediately changed the tone of what I needed to say.

I don’t feel like I can do the “welcome to my blog” thing for this; it’s too abstract, too sad, too intimate. So I recorded audio instead of writing the image description, and there is a transcript for it below too.


Hi. So I want to talk about these images that I’m posting. I selected them in… I selected them on Tuesday and then was at a loss, I didn’t know what to write, what image description to write… that is not boring. What kind of context to give to it, or what introduction to give to it.  Because these photos are the photos I took in November 2019 in Ventspils, Latvia, where my grandparents live, and that was the last time that I visited them – I was a complete emotional mess. And none of the words seemed right, so I’m recording this audio now.  So those of you who are just here for matter of fact description, let me do it first. There are three photographs. They are in landscape orientation mode and, and these images show sand. Just sand, what else can I say, but very particular sand, obviously, it’s the Baltic Sea beach. The sand is very light in colour, almost off-white. You… The image shows this interesting pattern on the surface, it shows thin kind of lines created by the wind: very long, thin, wobbly lines quite close to each other. And then it shows footsteps in the sand like sole imprints, that are more rough. Like while the pattern created by the wind is very gentle, as if you know the sand was stroked in this gentle way. The imprints, the sole imprints are obviously like more rough and deeper. There are also like little pebbles of different colours kind of scattered around the images. They’re mostly medium shot. One of them is kind of like a long, longer shot. One is more of a close up, and it maybe makes me think a teeny tiny bit of the surface of the moon. You know that patchy quality of it. But yeah, when I saw this image, the thing that came to my mind was, Oh my God, this is kind of my DNA like the DNA of my perception of the world, the DNA of my perception of beauty, my understanding of what home feels like. It is a very quintessential element of growing up by the sea in that particular place. And also, it’s quite stunning in maybe a quiet, more reserved way. But that’s me talking about the place itself, not necessarily about what these photographs would convey to other people. 

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Screenshot of my Minecraft build: the base of the bedside table against the green grass.
the base of the bedside table

Being sick with COVID kinda ended up being the perfect time to explore the thing I’m doing for Videotage – having a go at creating an intervention for their Leave Your Body realm in Minecraft.

I’ve been struggling with falling asleep for more than a year, and whenever I get sick I secretly hope that falling asleep will become easy at least for a while – it never does. So feeling poorly, unable to sleep and very bored, I tried my first build.

I never played Minecraft before, it took me a couple of tries and a couple of random YouTube tutorials to get the hang of the most basic things.

The game was fun and quite calming, it required the perfect level of engagement and effort for somebody lying sick in bed. I loved doing a bit of math to figure out the scale of what I wanted to do, and then thoroughly enjoyed the repetition of placing a block after block next to each other. it drew me in. Tiny repetitive tasks can be a source of calm to neurodivergent bodies.

I don’t know if Videotage had things like disability and dissociation in mind when they named the project Leave Your Body, but being disabled, we get a lot of reasons to want to leave our bodies so it all really connects for me.

I decided to recreate my bedside table but massive like a tall building. The bedside table was nearby, quite pleasant in shape, basically contained my life in it, and maybe by now, it is an established subject matter in Disability Arts iconography?

Screenshot: top of the bedside table sctructure.
the top of the bedside table
Screenshot: bedside table's basic skeleton structure completed (pictured in the rain in the dark).
the overall skeleton of the structure
Another dark screenshot of the build (maybe because i'm not ready to unveil it yet). It is now full of little objects on top of and inside the bedside table.
the first completed draft of the build, sorry it’s a dark screenshot – I don’t think I’m ready to fully unveil it yet!

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Mycelial things (CW: COVID feelings)

A photograph of two objects lying on a light blue surface: a book of poetry called "Mycelial Person" by Amanda Monti and a knitted winter hat next to it. The pallette of the book cover matches perfectly the colours of the hat. The book cover also has a drawing of a person wearing a mushroom hat, and the winter hat in the picture can be loosely described as mushroom-shaped as well.
A photo of a book Mycelial Person by Amanda Monti next to a knitted hat I impulsively bought in a charity shop last week.

Is this the greatest hat + book combo ever? they match so perfectly the only answer is YES or I’d need to see some photo evidence from you to prove me wrong

they are my source of warmth for now because…

(Content Warning: COVID and isolation)

I tested positive for COVID on Saturday, 1 day after the residency started. Despite the frustration, I am still lucky because I don’t have physical conditions that could put my life in serious danger in this situation, I have access to healthcare, I have some money and a regular job. I have a house to stay in now, and a house that I will move to next month.

I am holding in my heart those who find themselves in a scenario drastically different from this one. I know the terror.

Yet, it was still triggering to realise I am ill and stuck being alone again. Ill and alone. again. ill again. alone again.

I am okay now, I had some support to process my feelings. Since starting No Bad Parts, it has helped me so much to try to befriend and earn the trust of that panicked, catastrophising, upset part of me. To gently ask that part what it is trying to say, why it hurts and what its story is. There’s always a story, and sometimes the stories are too big for us to see and hold at once.

My plan for this residency was simple: to be myself and to find some rest. And I’m starting it off not with my perfect idea of creative connected luxurious downtime, it is starting with lying lethargically in bed, taking pills for my inflamed sinuses, and dodging phone calls. I want to roll my eyes disappointingly and say “classic..” but also it reminds me to put things into perspective.

I’m sure there is a smart point I could make about disability lens somewhere here, but writing is effort, writing is labour, writing is hard on the body and my body is gently yet rightfully directing me towards a nap.

stay and keep each other safe x

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Digital photograph in colour. The colour palette is mostly shades of green (leaves, plants, weeds, moss) and grey (rocks, stone slabs, dead grass). Different rocks and broken stone slabs pile up on top of each other, while grass and weeds grow in between. The photo was taken from a squatting position, so a bit of a higher-up angle. Overall, it strikes me as a harmonic image that invites the viewer's eyes to traverse the surface of the photograph.
digital photo (1) of a micro landscape with stones and grass from an afternoon spent on the Laines Organic Farm in October 2021.


Today is the first day of my residency with Vital Capacities and Both Sides Now. So I thought I’d post some pictures of soil – for things to grow. I said it before but when the virtual studio’s layout doesn’t remind me of Tumblr themes, it reminds me of a garden patch.

Devil’s dykes’ past performer Rosa Farber explained to me that the soil on their family’s vegetable farm is a very very special kind. It is rich in all those minerals that I can’t recall but that sounded important, making that soil a sort of miracle. I know very little but I could sense its power. I am holding the image of the soil’s rich heavy potency in my mind.

Below are two photos of the actual soil, and my first proper attempt at recording an audio description. Digging your fingers in the soil you can find nearby is a valid and great alternative to my rambling.

^ in this audio, violet vocally describes the three photographs in this post ^
A digital photograph in colour. It is a micro photo because it focuses on very tiny objects: a close up of dark brown soil that looks like clay and tiny green sprouts coming out of it.
digital photograph (2) fragment of the soil at Laines Organic Farm.
A digital photograph in colour. At the centre is a white hand with a silver ring lifting up a green pumpkin that has the words "KILL DA BILL" popping out of its flesh. Next to the pumpkin you can see Rosa's boot and at the bottom of the image you can see wet luscious clay-like rich sparkly soil.
digital photograph (3) of the soil at Laines Organic Farm, but most importantly it shows Rosa’s boot and Rosa’s hand lifting up leaves to present a green pumpkin that has words “Kill Da Bill” popping out of its flesh.

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