nena.tilli [at]

born 1985 | Italy
based in Dortmund NRW, DE


Video Art, Film, Projection Design, Technological Dramaturg, Researcher

Elena is a scenographer, video designer, technologist, and scholar working in theater, independent theater, and most recently film. In the past two years, she began directing independent projects while continuing to design worlds with very personal aesthetics and formal code. Her interest in technology, software, and archives are only a few elements she brings to the in-between performative and installation space.

In 2020 she founded the Cistifellea Collective with musician Nicolas Cristancho, with whom she shares her love for directing, building things or little mechanisms for stage and media design.

Elena is also a video designer in theater, her collaborations have been seen at the Obando theater in Lisbon, at The Kitchen Theater in New York, at the Barichstaadt Opera in Munich, and at city theaters in Barcelona.

After receiving her Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, Elena finishes her studies at Yale School of Drama (Technical Design and Production // Design for Theatre).

She completed the program held by Claudia Castellucci (Scuola Conia Raffaello Sanzio), with a focus on “Technic of Scenic Representation”.
Since 2021 Elena is an Artist in Residence in Germany, based in NRW, Dortmund, with several projects all related to the exploration of artistic and human collaborations around dramaturgies that inhabit technology.

In 2023 she directs, stage and technology design Coded Rituals together with Camila Scholtbach and NIcolas Yurgaki. The performance is co-produced by Cistifellea Collective and Theater Im Depot and it opened the Festival Beyond Gravity in November 2023.
In 2022, the performance Presence of Absent was funded by the Kulturbüro of the city of Dortmund and the NRW Kultur Sekretariät as part of the project Distant Land Vol I. It was seen at Lake Studios Berlin as a work in progress and later premiered at Theater Im Depot in February 2023.
With Cistifellea she directed the performances/long theater pieces Coded Rituals (2023), Presence of Absent (2022), Don’t Make it A Play (2022), Asuntos Humanos (2021), Todo Bien Todo Tranqui (2021), El Silencio no Existe (2020).

In 2023 she was the video designer and technologist in the theater piece Nomadas, premiering at Teatro OBando, Lisbon in April.
She also assisted video designer Susanne Steinmassl as a stage live camera coordinator, content creator and film editor in Die Nibelungen Festspiele in Worms in 2023.

In September 2022 she was part of Digital Body Archive residency at Lake Studios Berlin. Here she began, together with more than 15 fellows a research focusing on the principle of “no technology before need” (as suggested by TroikaRanch) as a start, to then tailor the technology she wanted to see by creating artwork that uses/misuses tech that was available.

In September 2022 she was also part of te project Togather with the installation titled Unlearning Journey into a virtual body. The project was funded by NRW Kultur Sekretariät and premiered at Favoriten Festival 2022 – Unlearning for Possible Futures.

In 2021 she was awarded one of the scholarships funded by Kulturstiftung des Bundes at the Akademie für Theater und Digitalität in Dortmund, where she conducted a study during 5 months on AI-assisted theater design together with designer Samuel Chan from Hong Kong. Focusing on Deep Learning and its practice of finding common patterns in the big data field, she spent time looking for elements of the artificial intelligence process that could participate in the preliminary phase of the design process of video, scenography, costumes, and lights.