On Curating Pain: The Sick Body in Martin O’Brien’s Taste of Flesh/Bite Me I’m Yours, Leonardo Journal (essay)


This article discusses the sick body in performance art and ethics, in Taste of Flesh/Bite Me I'm Yours, 2015 by London-based artist, Martin O'Brien, which was commissioned by The Arts Catalyst as part of 'Trust me, I'm an Artist', a Creative Europe funded project 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.

It considers the bodily categorisation 'sick', particularly in relation to when the markers for such categorisation are rendered invisible through illnesses, in this context, Cystic Fibrosis. Through performing this illness, important ethical questions are raised for the performing 'sick' body, which include complicity, subjectivity and the situation-behaviour dynamics present betwween a performer and an audience.