Monday, 4 October 2010

ACT 4:

Hospital at Home

Martin O'Brien
Sarah Ruff


Hospital at Home reflects on the discipline and brutality of modern medicine which aims at cure through discipline. For those with chronic illnesses the home is not only a place to live but also one, like the hospital, in which a disciplined medical regime is imposed with often painful treatments taking place. Hospital at Home is a four hour site responsive performance taking place in a flat which is soon to be demolished. The flat is filled with excessive images of destruction performed by Martin O'Brien, conversant with those of the hospital and beckoning towards the inevitable fate of the flat and ultimately the bodies that occupy it. Hospital at Home examines the fear and stigma associated with medicine and hospitals through a transgressive presentation of the body, disrupting the binaries of health and illness.

Martin O'Brien's practice focuses on physical endurance and excess in relation to the fact he suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, a severe chronic disease in which the body produces excess mucus that, amongst other things, works to restrict and prevent breathing through clogging up of the airways and lungs.

O’Brien’s practice includes a daily regime designed from imposed medical treatments and preparatory exercises for his work, investigating the convergence between the condition of his body and his body based performance practice. 

Martin O'Brien has performed in venues in Britain, Poland, Germany, Spain and Norway and his work has been described in Real Time Australia as ‘Utterly compelling… a real tour de force’. He has recently run a Live Art Development Agency (LADA) DIY 7 project entitled ‘Altered States’ at Colchester Arts Centre and is currently working on a new commission from LADA as part of Restock, Rethink, Reflect 2: Live Art and Disability. He was a contributor to ‘Victim Art: Plague, Performance and Metaphor’ as part of Ron Athey’s residency at the centre for the history of emotions (2010), Queen Mary University London and artist in residence at Gallery Art Claims Impulse, Berlin in 2008. 

Martin's work will be documented through a series of artists pages in a special forthcoming edition of Contemporary Theatre Review on Live Art in the UK. He is currently engaged in an AHRC funded PhD at the University of Reading on endurance based performance.

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