Martin O'Brien: Taste of Flesh/Bite Me I'm Yours

A new performance work by Martin O'Brien, to be presented as part of the ongoing European project - 'Trust me, I'm an Artist: towards an ethics of art/science collaboration'.

'Trust me, I'm an Artist' is a European initiative exploring ethical issues in art that enage with biotechnology and medicine, such as medical self-experimentation, extreme body art, and art practices using living materials and scientific process.

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,Taste of Flesh / Bite Me I'm Yours, commissioned by Arts Catalyst and hosted by SPACE c/o The White Building - 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 Professor 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 Professor Bobbie Farsides (Brighton and Sussex Medical School)



3pm - 6pm Performance by Martin O'Brien * (Free, drop in)
6pm - 7pm Break
7pm - 8.30pm Panel discussion and Q&A (Booking required, £5)

* This is a durational performance, audience members are welcome to stay for the duration however can also enter /leave when they wish.



This event is commissioned and produced by Arts Catalyst in cooperation with SPACE c/o the White Building. The project 'Trust Me I’m an Artist: Towards an Ethics of Art/Science Collaboration' is led by artist Anna Dumitriu in collaboration with Professor Bobbie Farsides in collaboration with the Waag Society. Taste of Flesh/Bite Me I'm Yours by Martin O'Brien forms part of Jareh Das's research into perceptions of pain in performance, audience witnessing and ethics, in collaboration with Arts Catalyst.

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An exhibition, forum and research programme involving UK and Japanese artists in investigating nuclear culture in Japan post-Fukushima. Part of the SIAF Collaborative Programme 2014

Artists are making the nuclear economy increasingly visible by rethinking nuclear materials and architectures, decay rates and risk perception; questioning the 20th Century belief in nuclear modernity. As the international population becomes more aware of their role as participants in nuclear culture, this exhibition aims to create a space for open discussion.

The Actinium exhibition was an international hub for discussion about contemporary nuclear culture. The exhibition took place during the opening weeks of the SIAF 2014, and was the base for film screenings, discussion forum and field trips exploring the relationship between the metropolis and nuclear sites in rural Hokkaido.

Actinium is a radioactive element named after the Greek word ‘aktis’ a beam or ray, but its name reveals how little we know about the behavior of different kinds of alpha, beta and gamma radiation. Today the word actinium conjures ideas of action in response to radioactive materials as they enter the public realm through the nuclear cycle of weapons, energy, pollution and waste. Today artists and geologists explore the human time of the Anthropocene as the nuclear industry tries to reverse-mine radioactive waste back into the ground. The geological time frames for radioactive decay are beyond human comprehension and challenge the limits of knowledge and not-knowing.


OYOYO, 6F Daini Mitani Bldg, South 1 West 6,Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0061 Japan

The Exhibition includes works by artists James Acord (USA), Shuji Akagi (J), Chim↑Pom (J), Crowe & Rawlinson (UK/De), Karen Kramer (USA/UK), Cécile Massart (Belgium), Eva & Franco Mattes (USA), Thomson & Craighead (UK/Scotland). Curated by Ele Carpenter (UK).


The Forum brought together international artists from Japan, Britain and USA with Japanese academics, activists and researchers in the field of nuclear culture. Discussion topics included: political, social, material and philosophical concerns, geologic time, the nuclear cycle, DIY Science, radiation, immateriality and invisibility. Presentations by Ryuta Ushiro (Chim↑Pom), Thomson & Craighead, Takashi Noguchi, Susan Schuppli, and Nicola Triscott and roundtable discussions. The Forum took place on Sunday 27 July 2014.

Field Trip Programme

Field Trips enabled an interdisciplinary group of artists and researchers to visit nuclear sites on Hokkaido. These sites included the Underground Research Center for radioactive waste storage at Horonobe, the Nuclear Power Plant at Tomari, and the East Coast of Japan.


Actinium was curated by Ele Carpenter, Arts Catalyst, produced by S-AIR; and took place during the opening weeks of the Sapporo International Arts Festival (SIAF) in July 2014. The project was organised by NPO S-AIR, Sapporo. Supported by: Daiwa Foundation; Pola Foundation; The Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan; City of Sapporo; Arts Council England; Goldsmiths College, University of London.
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Arts Catalyst Reader Volume 1, 2014

A selection of texts by artists, curators, academics and writers, written between 1996 and 2014 giving an overview and flavour of some of Arts Catalyst’s artistic commissions over the past two decades. The reader offers an insight into the critical discourse around the field of art, science and society.

The chronological order of the essays reflect Arts Catalyst’s shifting and evolving research interests, as well as highlighting relevant theories and critical issues in cross-disciplinary arts practice. It also offers a reflection on artistic practices from a range of artists, some at the start of prominent careers.

Essays and extracts include: 

1996, Unnatural Selection, by Louisa Buck
1998, Thr Bright Tunnels of Alchemy, the Dark Lights of Science by James Flint
2002, Clean Rooms, by Alex Farquharson
2002, Makrolab's Twin Imperatives and their Children too, by Kodwo Eshun
2005, Once Upon a Space Age, by Marina Benjamin
2005, An Introduction to Vertigo, by Rob La Frenais
2008, Images and Imagination in 20th century Environmentalism: from the Sierras to the Poles, by Denis Cosgrove
2010 One By One: Brandon Ballengeé's Malformed Amphibian Project, by Lucy R. Lippard
2011, Critical Art and Intervention in the Technologies of the Arctic, by Nicola Triscott
2012, Human Specimens: a Labyrinth of Morality, Science and Law, by Nicola Triscott
2012, Trans-Species Google-Box, on Rachel Mayeri's Primate Cinema: Apes as Family, by Matthew Fuller
2013, Thinking about Invisibility and Art Objects: Radioactive Divinity and the Nuclear Sublime, by Ele Carpenter
2013, Techne & Poesis by Isobel Harbison
2014, Blue Sky Thinking (an extract), by Rachel Steward

ebook formats

.epub is for Apple devices, Nook, Sony e-readers and pretty much any smartphone or tablet. It can also be viewed on desktop computers. 
.mobi is the format for Kindle. 

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assemble | standard | minimal

Arts Catalyst and the Schering Foundation present a new exhibition of work by Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen, centred on a major new commission Sterile / Sensei Ichi-gō

Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen translate our times of rapid progress in the biosciences, and of automated and standardized production technologies, into life-manipulating performative installations, provocative objects, and subtly aestheticised documentary films. While the biological sciences shift their focus from analysis to synthesis, adopting a language of engineering that focuses less on living beings than on components, circuits and systems, the artists examine our changing values.

Their new work Sterile / Sensei Ichi-gōdraws attention to the ambiguous identity of animals designed as products. It centers on albino goldfish specifically designed to be born without reproductive organs, presented alongside a machine - put in stand-by mode - that is capable of reproducing such sterile fish to demand from pre-extracted sperm and eggs.

Other works by the artists showing in this exhibition are the short film Kingyo Kingdom which explores the unique culture of breeders, collectors and connoisseurs at the Japanese national goldfish competition, giving a cultural context to the design and commodification of this species, further explored in Sterile / Sensei Ichi-gō. In Pigeon d’Or and 75 Watt, human and animal organisms are being used in highly controlled (dys)functional processes.


The exhibition is curated by Jens Hauser with Nicola Triscott (Arts Catalyst).
Sterile / Sensei Ichi-gō is commissioned by Arts Catalyst and Schering Foundation. 
Kingyo Kingdom is commissioned by Arts Catalyst.


An exhibition in cooperation with The Ernst Schering Foundation and transmediale 2015 CAPTURE ALL.


Sterile / Sensei Ichi-gō also supported by the Daiwa Foundation, and forms part of the European Commission FP7 funded project KiiCS

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