Mucus Factory

Martin O'Brien

Sat 23 Apr 2011
Sun 24 Apr 2011

National Theatre Studio


Martin O'Brien

“Death is always with me. It’s in my lungs. I’m a factory of mucus as thick as pudding… a human foster’s freeze machine making sundaes of sickness.” – Bob Flanagan.

Mucus Factory is based around a durational physiotherapy session, a technique designed to clear the airways. The performance space becomes one of discipline and jouissance in order to investigate the convergence between the condition of the artist’s body and his body based practice. Mucus Factory questions and subverts the common representations of people with severe illness as icons of bravery or eliciting sympathy by presenting a transgressive image of the sick body.

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.

Commissioned by the Live Art Development Agency, London, 2010, with financial assistance from Arts Council England.

Photo credit: Martin O’Brien