The Arts Catalyst Presents: Martin O’Brien

Martin O'Brien

We are excited to announce the first new “Trust Me, I’m an Artist: Developing Ethical Frameworks for Artists, Cultural Institutions and Audiences Engaged in the Challenges of Creating and Experiencing New Art Forms in Biotechnology and Biomedicine in Europe” event will be led by The Arts Catalyst. A new peformance work by Martin O’Brien, to be presented as part of the ongoing European project – ‘Trust me, I’m an Artist’, a European initiative exploring ethical issues in art that engage with biotechnology and medicine, such as medical self-experimentation, extreme body art, and art practices using living materials and scientific processes.

Martin O’Brien’s live art practice uses physical endurance, disgust and pain-based practices to explore the meaning of being born with a life threatening disease (cystic fibrosis) by confronting others’ responses to illness. In this new durational performance, commissioned by The Arts Catalyst, O’Brien turns his attention to the fear of contamination associated with the sick body. In doing so, he highlights recent acute public anxiety around the risk of infection and the surge in depictions of the zombie in popular culture.

The traditional sci-fi figure of contagion – the zombie often reflects environmental, political, or societal concerns, all of which are referenced in O’Briens new piece. O’Brien’s performance will be followed by a discussion with a specially convened ethics committee of Prof. Karen Lowton (Department of Sociology, University of Sussex), Dr. Gianna Bouchard (Department of Music and Performing Arts, Anglia Ruskin University), and Lois Keidan (Director, Live Art Development Agency), chaired by Prof. Bobbie Farsides (Brighton and Sussex Medical School).

For more information, check the event page here.