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Over the past few months, Martin O’Brien has been in residence in the SPILL Archive.

He has been researching the ways in which illness and disability have been represented and curated within SPILL Festival. Martin has developed a collection of works from all SPILL festivals to date, dealing with issues around illness and disability. This will be made public through SPILL and Disability Arts Online.

The roundtable event will bring together anyone with an interest in issues around the performance of illness and disability and the representation of this within the UK. There will be a number of provocations in the form of videos and short presentations chaired by Martin O’Brien.

Martin O’Brien’s work considers existence with a severe chronic illness within our contemporary situation. Martin suffers from cystic fibrosis and his practice uses physical endurance, hardship and pain based practices to challenge common representations of illness and examine what it means to be born with a life threatening disease. His work is an act of resistance to illness, an attempt at claiming agency and a celebration of his body. Martin loves his body and his work is a form of sufferance in order to survive.

Martin has presented work in Britain and abroad including: SPILL Festival of Performance (London), Chelsea Theatre (London), In Between Time (Bristol), Chapter Arts Centre (Cardiff), Grace Exhibition Space (New York), LAX Studios (Los Angeles), Kapelica Gallery (Ljubljana), Gallery Art Claims Impulse (Berlin) and with the Live Art Development Agency. He was artist in residence at ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, LA, in 2015 and has often collaborated with the legendary performance artist Sheree Rose. Martin received a PHD from the University of Reading; he co-edited (with Gianna Bouchard) a special edition of the journal Performance Research ‘On Medicine’ and is a lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London.

Commissioned by Viewfinder and Disability Arts Online, Martin O’Brien has been in residence in the SPILL Archive, supported by SPILL Festival of Performance and Pacitti Company.