Performance artist Martin O’Brien was commissioned by Viewfinder to work with SPILL Festival of Performance, an international festival of live art, activism and performance to create a playlist of films from SPILL’s archive relating to issues around disability and illness.

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Raimund Hoghe Sacre: The Rite Of Spring

Pacitti Company: Three Duets

Kim Noble: Kim Noble Will Die

Natasha Davis: Rupture

Purgatorio: Romeo Castellucci

Romeo Castellucci: On The Concept Of The Face, Regarding The Son Of God

Martin O’Brien: Mucus Factory

Sara Davies: AOB Item 1

David Parkin: Good Friday – The Clinical Depression Concept Album Show

Nicola Canavan: A Divine Trauma

Martin O’Brien: Last(ing)

Debbie Guinnane: Gastropoda

Giovanna Maria Casetta: A Descent into Glamour

Daniel Oliver: Weird Séance: Incredible Interquel Spectacle!

Karen Finley: Written in Sand

Pacitti Company: Moving Mountains


Martin O’Brien:

This playlist was brought together ver a series of visits to the SPILL archive. As an artist, with a severe chronic illness, that has performed at SPILL Festival of Performance three times, I was interested in the ways in which illness and disability has been represented in the festival. The relationship to the term ‘disability’ in many of the works over the history of the festival is complex and made curating this playlist a difficult job. There were ethical questions around imposing a disability framework on an artist and the related issue of including people who may or may not identify as disabled.

My aim was to bring together a collection of all disabled identifying artists that have performed at SPILL but it quickly became clear that this would not be possible. The videos here represent artists that either make disability visible through their practice or make work that reflects on/emerges from/uses illness or disability as part of their practice. There are some artists who identify as disabled who are not included because they either do not speak publicly about their disability or the disability is not manifest in the work itself.