Kira O'Reilly

Kira O'Reilly stands inside a greenhouse, gazing in to a small mirror. A pig watches her from the outside.
Jennifer Willet and Kira O’Reilly, Naked Matter.
Kira O'Reilly, Interspecies, Falling Asleep with a Pig, Cornerhouse 2009
Kira O'Reilly, Interspecies, Falling Asleep with a Pig, Cornerhouse 2009

Kira O'Reilly is a performance artist, who graduated from the Cardiff School of Art in 1998. Between 2003 and 2004, O'Reilly undertoook a residency with SymbioticA, a bio-art project based in the department of Human Anatomy at The University of Western Australia.

In 2009, Kira was part of The Art's Catalyst “Interspecies” exhibition which explored human-animal relationships. Kira created a durational performance entitled “Falling Asleep With A Pig”, where the artist and pig shared a living space for 72 hours. The space was partially viewable to the public, something akin to a zoo environment, thus addressing the ethics of human and animal interactions.

In 2011, Kira talked at The Arts Catalyst event “Naked Matter”. The artist talked about her interest in modern biological technologies and artistic experiments, such as culturing skin from non-human animals. She also spoke about her durational performance “Inthewrongplaceness” which included the use of a dead pig.

Also in 2011, Kira created a space for exploring biotechnologies alongside domestic everyday experiences such as cooking, tinkering, composting and gardening. The focus of this project was to explore “tissue culture”, recreating an experiment first performed in 1926 by tissue-culture pioneer, Thomas Strangeways, who attempted to harvest cells from a fresh uncooked sausage. The group also attempted to incubate chick embryos, opened the egg, and attempted to create cell cultures from them, always mindful of the ethical issues of these practices.

For the “Laboratory Life” exhibition, Kiri exhibited The Garden Shed Lab, which contained a home-made sterile hood and incubator, their laboratory equipment and photographic documentation of the event.