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Martin O'Brien in Breathe For Me | 2016, Wellcome Collection, London | Image Credit: Wellcome Collection.

Martin O'Brien, Credit Wellcome Collecti

Martin O'Brien 


Martin O’Brien is an artist theorist teacher and zombie His performance writing and video art uses physical endurance long durations and pain-based practices in order to examine what it means to be born with a life shortening disease politically and philosophically Martin has cystic fibrosis and all of his work and writing draws upon this experience His work explores sickness death and survival He is best known for his long durational solo performances and his collaborations with the pioneering body artist Sheree Rose His work has been written about in books and articles including the major book about his work ‘Survival of the Sickest: The Art of Martin O'Brien’ He has performed throughout the UK Europe US and Canada Venues have included: Tate Britain (London) Spill Festival (London) Kapelica Gallery (Ljubljana) ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives (LA) Grace Exhibition Space (New York) Montreal Arts Interculturels (Montreal) DaDaFest (Liverpool) Wellcome Collection (London) His work has been commissioned and funded by organisations such as Live Art Development Agency Arts Council England British Council Arts Catalyst He is currently lecturer Performance at Queen Mary University of London His work has been featured on BBC radio and Sky television He recently surpassed his life expectancy and is enjoying life as a zombie

Performance Manifesto

I am the subject and object of my work

I am in search of agency, I am demanding it

I am vulnerable in performance

I am the most abject version of myself in performance

My flesh is a material to use

My mucus is a material to use

My blood, piss, shit, and sweat are all materials to use

Sickness is always visible in my performances

Performance is something to be endured

Pain is something to pursue rather than avoid

Pain communicates and affects others

Pain can be pleasure

Pain reminds us we are human and that existence is contingent upon our flesh

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