In conversation with Annette Arlander: Research Day V

Added on by Kira O'Reilly.

For their fifth research day, How to do things with performance have invited me to engage in one of the days conversations. Each of the core research group have selected someone with whom they can discuss an aspect of their own research and performance making interests. Artist and researcher Annette Arlander has been particularly involved with working plants during the past few years, and therefore our conversation will be about performing with those non-human-others.

The event is on 1st November
from 9.30 - 17.00 at the Theatre Academy of University of the Arts, Helsinki.
Further details can be found here

Up and coming performance for Mad House, Helsinki, 28th September

Added on by Kira O'Reilly.

Mad House mark moving into their own dedicated performance space at Teurastamo in Helsinki with a full autumn programme of works. Their intention is to programme works thoughout the year, ‘settling into a permanent place will offer a sustainable creative environment for artists, audiences and the Mad House organization.’

I will be one of the artists presenting a work for their inaugural season, a reworking of What if this were the only world she knew?

Photo by Sohan Ariel Hayes, for Unhallowed Arts, Perth, 2018
Curated by SymbioticA

The iteration of this work will be in a vastly different context and space to that presented last year in Perth (as seen in the photograph), however it will share elements and approaches of working with the spaces material reality, it’s confines and it’s context.
As remaking the work for Mad House develops I will share notes and images on my blog here on this website and my on instagram account @untitledbodies

My thanks to Mad House for this very welcome and rare opportunity to present my work in Helsinki.

Keynote for The First International Queer Death Studies Conference, 4-5 November 2019,

Added on by Kira O'Reilly.

I am delighted and astonished to be in such extraordinary company giving one of the four keynotes for the The First International Queer Death Studies Conference:

“Death Matters, Queer(ing) Mourning, Attuning to Transitionings”

4-5 November 2019,

Karlstad University, Sweden

Organised by the Queer Death Studies Network, Centre for Gender Studies, Karlstad University, Tema Genus, Linköping University.

More information here:

CALL FOR PAPERS is open until 30th June

The First International Queer Death Studies Conference: "Death Matters, Queer(ing) Mourning, Attuning to Transitionings" aims to create an arena for critical discussion of death, dying and mourning that goes beyond the dual approach to death – human death in particular – that is common within Western cultural frameworks of Christian tradition or secular biomedical perspectives. As such, the conference invites scholars who work with death, dying, mourning and afterlife in relation to: diverse cultural, socio-political, historical, and economic conditions; entangled relations between human and the environment in the context of the Anthropocene; differential experiences of marginalised communities and individuals excluded from the hegemonic discourses on death, loss, grief and mourning, associated for example with the heteronormative model of family bonds; and, contemporary forms of necropolitics: mechanisms of power that force certain bodies into liminal spaces between life and death (for instance, refugees whose lives in detention camps turn into the state of “social death” (Mirzoeff 2019)). Interventions that focus on practices that resist hegemonic norms, as well as queer and decolonialise mourning and remembering are also welcome.

In order to search for broad inspirations for alternative articulations and stories which queer, that is, unpack and question the normativities (Chen 2012; Sandilands & Erickson 2012) that often frame contemporary discourses on death, dying, mourning and afterlife, the conference is based on a transdisciplinary engagement involving not only academics, but also activists, artists and other practitioners. In the context of the conference, to queer issues of death, dying, mourning and afterlife means to unhinge certainties, “undo normative entanglements and fashion alternative imaginaries” beyond the exclusive concern with gender and sexuality, often associated with the term “queer” (Giffney & Hird 2008, 6). In particular, the conference will call for papers within the following three overall themes: (1) death matters and materialities, (2) queering mourning, and (3) attuning to transitionings run through both days and all the keynote lectures.

The conference invites individual papers (length: 20 min) that engage with – but are not necessarily limited to – the following themes:

- Queer methodologies of researching death, dying, mourning and afterlife

- Queering and decolonialising practices of mourning, bereavement and remembrance

- Materiality of death and corpses

- Queering philosophies of death

- Death/life ecologies

- Necropolitics and borders

- Queer and trans necropolitics

- Un/grievable lives and deaths

- Death and biotechnology/biomedicine

- Queering cancer and other life-threatening diseases

- Suicide

- Technologies of life/death

- Queer widowhood

- Decolonialising death

- Illness narratives and death

- Ethico-politics and practices of killability

- Nonhuman death and dying

- Extinction and annihilation

- Death and acts of resistance

- ‘Slow death’

- Queering temporalities of death

- Queer spiritualities

- Death, ghosts and hauntology

Please, send a 300-word long abstract, accompanied by a 100-long bio to: .

TO YOU TO YOU TO YOU, Love Letters to a (Post)Europe publication

Added on by Kira O'Reilly.

Late last year saw the publication of a book edited by Lisa Alexander which gathered together writings by artists involed in her project Love Letters to a (Post)Europe programme that took place at Bios, Athens (2015).

As I was unable to travel to Athens at the time, Lisa suggested that my work be performed by Athens based artist and performer Dimou Vassilik, who did so with a brilliant intensity. What we could not have foreseen was that Vasilliki would become terminally ill, she died in early 2018.

Vasilliki had realised the work in the 15 minutes duration that Lisa had stipulated for the work, and then came to support and witness me as I remade the work, again in Athens, over the duration of 10 hours for the Marina Abramovic, curated MAI, AS ONE at the Benaki Museum.

We had not met before, and yet within the short time frame of my visit to Athens I felt the kinship of a great artist and a firm ally who lavished me with company, flowers, critical dialogue and emotional buoyancy. I was desperately sad to learn of her illness and passing. In Athens we unpicked the mechanics of the work, and it’s political import within a workshop and a public discussion.

Subsequently within the book Lisa made a space for Vasiliki and my voice by including a series of emails drawn from the space of our association and collaboration. I am indebted to Lisa for affording this opportunity and for documenting it so tenderly in this publication.

Other vital contriutions include: Kate Adams, Demosthenes Agrafiotis, Brian Catling & David Tolley, cris cheek, Robin Deacon, Tim Etchells, Alec Finlay, Matthew Goulish, Guy Harries, Steven C Harvey, Catherine Hoffmann, Wendy Houstoun, Mikhail Karikis, Brian Lobel, Claire MacDonald, Georgios Makkas, Ivana Müller, Mariela Nestora, Kira O’Reilly, Florence Peake, Erica Scourti, Maria Sideri, Anna Sherbany, Jungmin Song, Yoko Tawada, Nikki Tomlinson, a collaborative text by Lisa Alexander and Mary Paterson, and an essay by Claire MacDonald.

Tiny Live Art (Development Agency) - 20 works for 20 years + AGENCY: A Partial History of Live Art

Added on by Kira O'Reilly.

I was astonished and delighted for my work Stair Falling to be included in Robert Daniels special edition of twenty performance art works, Tiny Live Art (Development Agency) - 20 works for 20 years: 20.

You can learn more about the series here and the other extraordinary works he has realised in miniature.

The works will be presented as part of Live Art Development Agency’s celebration of its twenty years anniversary on 6th March.

The occasion will also see the launch of the publication AGENCY: A Partial History of Live Art edited by Theron Schmidt, in which a dialogue between Martin O’Brien and myself is included.

Other contributors include: Barby Asante, Ron Athey, David A. Bailey, Anne Bean, Bryan Biggs, Cassils, Simon Casson, George Chakravarthi, Curious, Richard DeDomenici, The Disabled Avant-Garde, Tim Etchells, Andy Field, French & Mottershead, RoseLee Goldberg, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Jen Harvie, The Institute For The Art And Practice Of Dissent At Home, Dominic Johnson, Amelia Jones, John Jordan, Lois Keidan, Alastair MacLennan, John E. McGrath, Jordan McKenzie, Hayley Newman, Mary Paterson, Project 0, Alan Read, Heike Roms, Rajni Shah, Joshua Sofaer, Selina Thompson, Jane Trowell, Johanna Tuukkanen, the vacuum cleaner, Manuel Vason, Lois Weaver, Catherine Wood.

My Monster: The Human-Animal Hybrid e-catalogue

Added on by Kira O'Reilly.

A beautiful online catalogue has been created for an exhibition Jennifer Willet and I exhibited a collaborative work in. RMIT Gallery’s exhibition My Monster: The Human-Animal Hybrid curated by Evelyn Tsitas.

See the e-catalogue here.

Disentangle: Science in a Gendered World until 6th April 2019

Added on by Kira O'Reilly.

Jennifer Willet and I are delighted to have a work in the current exhibition at LifeSpace until 6 April, 2019, Disentangle: Science in a Gendered World curated by Cicely Farrer. More information about it here.

One of the intriguing aspects that formed part of working with Cicely was her invitation to us to select a work from the University of Dundee’s many museum collections to show with our work. We settled upon one of the extraordinary Blaschka glass model of Starfish (Asteria rubens) developmental (larval stage), 1888.

You can see an amazing 3D rendering of it here

Underglass: the mutable, liquid like qualities of glass that were so adroitly manipulated into morphologies, also articulated the objectives and perspectives of scientific scrutiny that we try to indicate in our work including it’s jewel like framing under convex glass.

 Our selection is also a contemplation on gender, In her astonishingly beautiful essay More Lessons From a Starfish: Prefixial Flesh and Transspeciated Selves Eva Hayward refers to Anthony and the Johnson’s track Cripple and Starfish, exploring gender identity, flesh through the regenerative properties of the starfish and the prefix trans.


SOLU Space opening

Added on by Kira O'Reilly.

November 9th and 10th see’s the opening events of SOLU - an artistic laboratory and platform for art, science and society here in Helsinki, an initiative of the Bioart Society in this their 10th year.

on 9th the festivities begin with speeches, and performances including an collaboration by Ava Grayson and myself followed by a party. On the 10th there are talks and panel discussions.

All the information you need is here

Do come and join us.

Unhallowed Arts, Perth

Added on by Kira O'Reilly.

For the extraordinary season of events initiated by SymbioticA to make the bicenteenary of the publication of Mary Godwin Shelley’s Frankenstein, I have several works and activities that are part of Unhallowed Arts.

The first is the final keynote for the beautifully titled Quite Frankly It’s A Monster Conference during which I will present key note "Unseam’ed: A performed assemblage of utterances, sighs and breaths", a performative text, a performance lecture or sorts that forms a sort of prologue for a performance I will present on Sunday.

The work on Sunday commences at 17.00 and ends at 20.00 and can be entered at any point, viewers are welcome to come and go as they please and to spend as long or as short a time as they wish.

What if This Was the Only World She Knew?

Date: Sunday 21 October 2018

Opening time: 17.00 – 20.00 (3 Hours)

Location: Old Girls' School, East Perth

The auditorium is a bare space, too big, too huge. It is an invisible forest. 
She is the only person who is allowed to walk on the forest floor. 
Everything exists more on the level of incipience, inchoate dreams and pre-articulate sensations. 
But some huge currents are moving - too deep to put into words - or thoughts even.’
The materials try to speak themselves, eggs, earth, glitter, wind, breath, carpet, flesh. 
Everything is exactly what it is. 
Everything is exactly something else. 
It is an entire world. A prefixal world.

Over three hours, as day moves to dusk and night falls, a series of material embodiments and immaterial disembodiments will be performed in the large auditorium, it’s stage and a small room to the side of the stage.

Viewers are welcome to enter this other world, to remain for as long or as short a time as they wish, or to come and go.

In addition I also have works in two group shows, the first is Hyperprometheus

19 Oct – 23 December 2018

Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts

Hyperprometheus takes specific meanings derived from Frankenstein and presents them within the realm of emerging and historical artistic disciplines. Considering specific meanings of the novel within the 21st century context, Hyperprometheus combines these with Timothy Morton's notion of Hyperobjects. The selected artworks are drawn from experimental, contemporary and biological arts and tackle ideas of life and death, the creation and assemblage of life, the reanimation of the non-living, future life, synthetic biology, the technological non-human and the responsibility of creators.

This exhibition focuses on the intersection of the living and the non-living, artifice and nature, reproductive and biomedical technologies and other scientific and technological practices of our age. Mary Shelley ‘looked to the creative aspects of Prometheus’ persona to ask important questions about the limits of the artistic and scientific imagination' and in Hyperprometheus we consider such limits within the context of the new millennium. Curated by Eugenio Viola, Laetitia Wilson and Oron Catts.

Artists, AES+F, Tarsh Bates, Erich Berger and Mari Keto, Erin Coates, Thomas Feuerstein, Hayden Fowler, Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Heather Dewey Hagborg and Chelsea E. Manning, Sam Jinks, Olga Kisseleva, Daniel Lee, Kira O’Reilly, ORLAN, Nina Sellars, Justin Shoulder, Stelarc, Lu Yang

The second is Dark Skies Ahead

Opening Oct 20

Paper Mountain

Curated By Jenn Garland

Written in the ‘year without a summer’ of 1816, Frankenstein was a product of extreme weather across the globe due to volcanic winter following the Mount Tambora eruption. This brief period of climate change triggered devastating worldwide harvest failures and provided fertile ground for speculative and gothic fiction.

Two hundred years later, as dark clouds gather on the horizon, what can we draw from Mary Shelley’s cautionary tale of unnatural life born of human hubris and unrestricted techno-science? Dark Skies Ahead, explores science as a contestable power field which offers shelter from the forecasted storm while hastening its arrival and fuelling its intensity. Local and international artists present works which consider ecological futures, spatial and atmospheric perceptions and the dual potential of science.

Artists: Amy Perejuan-Capone, Devon Ward, Nathan Thompson, Angela Garrick, Yanai Toister, Kira O'Reilly + Jennifer Willett

Studies for what is this were the only world she knew

Rotten Sun, a new performance collaboration at Festival Forte

Added on by Kira O'Reilly.

Towards the end of next week I return to Portugal this time traveling a little north of Lisbon to  Montemor-O-Velho Castle where the outstanding Festival Forte of electronic music and visual arts is held.

I go there at the invitation of experimental DJ Lee Adams to join Rotten Sun, his collaboration with musician Mia Zabelka (e-violin, electronic devices, alien objects) and Kevin Craig (video art) for a project called Art of Mirrors, a 45 minutes improvisation between four artists who have never before worked together. 'A gleaming razors edge, reflecting back the blank stare of the void'. You can read more here.

I'm packing my dancing shoes, the line up of music is incredible.





Talk and workshop at LifeSpace, Science Art Research Gallery, Dundee

Added on by Kira O'Reilly.

Tomorrow I participate in lunch time talk concerned with "Doing Science in a Gendered World" at LifeSpace Science Art Research Gallery in the School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Scotland, UK along with artists Clara Ursitti and Ker Wallwork. This event has been curated by Cicley Farrer.

The title "doing science in a gendered world" is a quote by mathematical biologist and feminist historian of science Evelyn Fox Keller from the 1980s. She was making a case for the importance of who was identifying areas of scientific research, the gendering of language in scientific processes and the infrastructures that had meant that historically, science was typically a field where men worked. The intention of the quote is to highlight that the discussion isn’t simply about ‘women in science’ but recognising that behaviours and organisational systems can influence who does, or continues to do, science.

Following the seminar I will give a workshop exploring some of the spaces in Dundee’s School of Life Sciences in order to experience and examine how bodies (not just human ones) act in relation to institutions, and the kinds of ideas and knowledges that are produced within and with them. The workshop derives from ongoing research by Kira and her collaborator artist Jennifer Willet on the concept of the laboratory as a site to question the relationship between bodies and productions of knowledges. These ideas will reference the ongoing research and art works made in collaboration with Jennifer Willet.

I have not visited Dundee before, so I am very much looking forward to it, to meeting the other artists, curators and workshop participants, vising LifeSpace and to investigating these ideas in some of the labs of the School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Scotland, UK.

Image: Kira O’Reilly and Jennifer Willet. Refolding (Laboratory Architectures). School of Biosciences at the University of Birmingham, 2010. Photography by Hugo Glendinning






Group Exhibition My Monster: The Human Animal Hybrid

Added on by Kira O'Reilly.

Work by Jennifer Willet and I will be included in the exhibition My Monster: The Human Animal Hybrid at RMIT which 'explores our enduring fascination and revulsion with the merging of the human and animal, and coincides with the 200th anniversary year of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.'

Kate Clark, 'And She Meant It' (2010). Medium: Ram hide, apoxie, clay, foam, thread, pins, rubber eyes. Size: 26 x 25 x 21 inches. Photo courtesy of the artist.



Untitled (slick glittery) redux at Steakhouse Live 2018

Added on by Kira O'Reilly.

This years edition of Steakhouse Live in London promises be an extraordinary event over two days. I'll be revisiting Untitled (slick glittery) as a redux, Eggs, glitter, floor, vulnerability, it has been four years since this work was last made; there has never been very much to say about it, it is a series of textures: a rapidly changing menopausal body, materials that trouble, the smattering of matter.

Photo credit: Carrie Ruckle
Rapid Pulse, Chicago, 2014



Naturally Postnatural - Catalyst: Jennifer Willet, published

Added on by Kira O'Reilly.

I am so very happy to announce the publication of and my contribution to Naturally Postnatural - Catalyst: Jennifer Willet, edited by Ted Herbert and published by Noxious Sector in their Catalyst book series. I have known Jennifer since we both were artists in residence in SymbioticA back in 2004 or there about. Since then we have shared with one another ideas, supported one another both in art and friendship and made a series of collaborative works that are of great importance to me. Writing a cluster of small vignettes that dance around the myriad threads of these conversations and works was a great pleasure and an immense privilege. Order a copy of the book and download a pdf of it here.

In the 21st century, a humanly-impacted climate is the natural state of planetary affairs: a global environmental disaster but perhaps also an artwork of geological scale. Responding to this idea requires an artistic spirit with an ecological conscience--perfectly espoused by the work of artist Jennifer Willet. From speculations on the genetic future to reflections on the ways that art challenges engagement, interaction and analysis, the contributions in this book share a key concern of Willet's: a recognition of the complexities of artistic engagement in a time when the stakes of technological living have never been higher.

With contributions from by Warren Cariou, Louise Chance-Baxter& and IAIN BAXTER&, George Gessert, George Gessert & Beth Franks, Christian Kuras, Marta de Menezes, Natasha Myers, Kira O'Reilly, Melentie Pandilovski, Paul Vanouse, Amanda White & Alana Bartol and Robert Zwijnenberg. Catalyst Book Series Volume 03. 254 pages.


Book launches for Kira O'Reilly: Untitled (Bodies)

Added on by Kira O'Reilly.

There will be book launches in:

Helsinki on 15th November, details here

Dublin on 5th December, details here

London on 6th December, details here

Please do join us if you can.

At each launch will editor Harriet Curtis will introduce the book, followed by a round table discussion between Kira and special guests from the arts and sciences.

cover design by David Caines, photography by Nada Zgank

Quite Frankly: It's a Monster Conference, Call for papers,

Added on by Kira O'Reilly.

“I find no shame in acknowledging my egalitarian relationship with non-human material Being; everything emerges from the same matrix of possibilities”
― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein


I am delighted to have accepted an invitation to give a key note at this fascinating symposium. I first read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein at the graveside of her parents in St Pancras Churchyard in London.

University Club of Western Australia, 18-19 October 2018,

2018 marks 200 years since the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus. Shelley’s “Creature” is usually conceived as a human creation, the stitched-together, tragic victim of scientific and technological experimentation. We rupture these stitches, revealing that the Creature is more than the sum of its parts. SymbioticA and Somatechnics join forces to present Quite Frankly: It’s a Monster Conference. We invite you to explore the dynamic ecosystems evolving within and from the gaps between the Creature’s fragments.

Life has become a raw material for re-assembling organisms, tools and consumer products. We are firmly entrenched in a “[bio]informatics of efficiency,” where both biology and technology are subjected to control, optimisation, computation and surveillance at ever decreasing and increasing scales. In light of current ecological and bio-political devastation, we induce extinction.
Keep calm and contaminate. There is hope, there is resistance; the Creature offers the potential to escape control and fight back. 
Quite Frankly invites explorations that (re)form kinships and provide niches of refuge and asylum for explorations at the limits of precarity. We encourage liberations of Frankenstein’s Creature from its anthropocentric singularity to an intra-active entanglement; from the living-dead to the compost-able. We revel in re-craftings of biotechnical industrialisations and commodifications and managerial aesthetics. As Karen Barad reminds us, “the political potential does not stop with regeneration, for there are other wild dimensions within and without that rage with possibilities.”

Join us to unpick the Creature’s stitches and liberate its companion species - we are calling for all voices to provide critical re-examinations of diverse re-creation stories.