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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.'
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.
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.
Students from the pilot MA in Ecology and Contemporary Performance (MAECP) at the Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki will present ' . . . sessions, encounters and notation. Voices, bends, horizons and tides of their ongoing research in Ecology and Contemporary Performance.'
31st November and 1st December. Details here
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.
“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.
Coming up at the Copeland Gallery in October as part of Blood:Life Uncut, LADA are curating a series of events and a screening programme, Blood Counts that includes short films and documentation of performance works by Franko B, Marisa Carnesky, Ron Athey, Kira O'Reilly, Regina Jose Galindo, La Ribot, Martin O'Brien, jamie lewis hadley, Ernst Fischer & Nicola Hunter, and Rocio Boliver.a screening of short films and documentation of performance works by Franko B, Marisa Carnesky, Ron Athey, Kira O'Reilly, Regina Jose Galindo, La Ribot, Martin O'Brien, jamie lewis hadley, Ernst Fischer & Nicola Hunter, and Rocio Boliver.
I am currently working on a performance that will take place over three days in three locations in Folkestone as part of Wake Festival, 8th, 9th, 10th September. Working along side artists I hold long respect and admiration for: Carlos Martiel, Dominic Thorpe, hancock & kelly who will also be making site based works, as well as looking forward to artists performing in at the ]performance space[ each evening.
W A K E Festival is a three day festival of contemporary time-based/performance art in Folkestone (Kent), UK. The festival consists of site specific, durational works which unfold in and around Folkestone, across the 8th, 9th & 10th of September. In addition to the site based works, each evening (7pm-10pm) a more condense series of performances take place at ]performance s p a c e [.
Designer David Caines is currently in Helsinki working on a forthcoming publication on my work, Kira O'Reilly: Untitled (Bodies) which will be published this autumn by Live Art Development Agency and Intellect Books as part of their Intellect Live series. It is being edited by Harriet Curtis and Martin Hargreaves and has been supported by CARP the Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme.
Working with Harriet and David is a joy, this week is one of particular quickening as we're delving into my archive and boxes, working back into the first draft of the design with more materials, some of which has not been seen previously or not for a great many years. I am hoping that the book will perform some of the many links and spindle like connections that span across the arts, the sciences, art contexts, and the many threads of lineages that weave into the doings and makings of an art practice.
You can read more about it here
Trust Me I'm An Artist, 13th May - 23rd June, Zone 2 Source, het Glazen Huis, Amsterdam.
The group exhibition of Trust Me, I'm An Artist opened on 13th May in Zone 2 Source, het Glazen Huis in Amstel Park, Amsterdam. It features works and documentation by many of the artists involved in the project, exploring of the ethicals of art and science. Photographic works and performance artifacts by Jennifer Willet and I from the previous evenings performance lecture, Be-wildering and ethics committee review at the Waag Society are one of the displays.
Splice Re-Examining Nature, 20th May - 12th November, Oulu Art Museum.
Splice Re-Examining Nature is curated by Nina Czegledy and the Bioart Society in partnership with Oulu Art Museum and presents artistic perspectives on our changing environment and relationship to Nature. The exhibition presents crossover works from contemporary perspectives, revealing current interpretations of the world we live in. Remains from the performance Be-wilderment (Nature Drag), presented as part of the opening event are in the exhibition.
I am very much looking forward to presenting at this symposium this Saturday at Brunel University:
This symposium explores the concept of defiant embodiment in theatre, sport, and performance. It aims to consider artistic interventions into the practices of sport and physical culture (Cassils Becoming an Image, PanicLab’s Rite of Spring, Franko B’s Milk+Blood) as well as performances of defiant embodiment in the world of sport (Caster Semenya’s record breaking speed, Tommie Smith and John Carlos’s raised-fist gesture at the 1968 Olympics, Colin Kaepernick’s sat protests against the Star-Spangled Banner).'
- How might the multiple defiant embodiments in theatre, sport, and performance intervene in and challenge discourses of identity and value constructed through regimes of gesture and movement?
- What new and innovative research methods might we use to study such defiant embodiments?
- What dangers and threats accompany the performance of defiant embodiment?
Taking place at Brunel University London’s Indoor Athletic Centre, Defiant Embodiments will explore research at the intersection of practice and theory, and will include a workshop in Olympic Weightlifting from Kristian McPhee (British Champion 77kg 2016) and a performance lecture from artist and scholar Kira O'Reilly.
I will present:
A series of contemplations of muscular embodiments across scale and duration, invoking gyms and laboratories and crashing on mats in the desert. A performance lecture of a body in muscular pause, enacting endocrine worldings of aging, specifically the thresholding of female middle aging.
The New Normal is an exhibition organized by artists Murat Adash and Hiba Farhat. The inaugural exhibition will take place in Beirut from March 10-12, 2017, followed by a second iteration in Istanbul from May 5-7, 2017.
I was invited to contribute a one page document along with other artists, writers, thinkers . . .
As seemingly distant and unlike things are remarkably linked into one another, the new rapidly evolves resembling the familiar as the familiar seems more and more ambiguous. What is most normal is also most strange and horrific. Although these propositions may appear mutually exclusive, in fact they might as well be mutually constitutive.
In response to the current social order that has implanted itself through recent global events into the new normal reality – the participants in the exhibition will critically investigate, document, identify, etc. what is the abnormal that has become commonplace. The New Normal invited contributions from around 200 international artists, composers, filmmakers, choreographers, writers, scholars, thinkers and individuals from a variety of other disciplines to each create a one-page paper document, which will be on view during the exhibitions.
Through drawings, sketches, notes, text, manifestos, scripts, recipes, maps, scores among other formats, this show proposes a revision and re-imagining of some of the narratives of the everyday, from an environmental, economic, social and creative perspective.
The complete list of participants are:
Mohamed Abdelkarim, Stephanie Acosta, Yesim Akdeniz, Karam Al Hamad, Mohamed Al Mufti, Hiba Ali, Ayad Almissouri, Ash Aravena, Rajee Aryal, James Gregory Atkinson, David Ayala-Alfonso, Kendall Martin Babl, Joëlle Bacchetta, Stephanie Bailey, Noah Barker, Daniel Barroca, Jeremy Bessoff, Blitz Theatre Group, Irina Botea, Halida Boughriet, Fiona Bryson, Jon Cates, Juliana Cerqueira Leite, Fares Chalabi, Musquiqui Chihying, Youngbin Choi, Christos Chrissopoulos, Eric D. Clark, Louisa Clement, Tarren Johnson & Joel Cocks, Laura Cooper, Maja Čule, Chelsea Culprit, Zuzanna Czebatul, Gina D'Orio, Angharad Davies, Marlin De Haan, Divya Dhar, Maurin Dietrich, Distruktur, Anastasia Douka, Sofia Duchovny, Övül Durmuşoğlu, Ambra Pittoni & Paul-Flavian Enriquez-Sarano, Elif Erkan, Hannah Feldman, Karin Ferrari, Francesca Fini, Born in Flamez, Arianne Foks, Forensic Architecture (Goldsmiths, University of London), Holly Fowler, Anastasia Freygang, Eric Bell & Kristoffer Frick, Kevin B Lee & Chloé Galibert-Lainé, Hadia Gana, Rainer Ganahl, Mohamed A. Gawad, Leyla Gediz, Rami George, Ramy Ghanem, Ingo Giezendanner (GRRR), Ian Giles, Mohamed Gohar, Veronica Gonzalez Peña, Alireza Goudarzi, Jared Gradinger, Katya Grokhovsky, Nazli Gurlek, Gordon Hall, Hanayo, Claudia Hart, Gloria Hasnay, Dafna Maimon & Ethan Hayes-Chute, Alisa Heil (aka Abraham Winterstein), David Helbich, Marietta Auras & Anja Henckel, Kurt Hentschlager, Ly Hoang Ly, Robert Hotchkiss Thomson, Etab Hrieb, Amal Issa, Khaled Jarrar, Jane Jerardi, Lara Kamhi, Areej Kaoud, Mine Kaplangı, Elana Katz, Helene Kazan, Sami Khatib, Amahl Raphaël Khouri, Jinjoo Kim, Raoul Klooker, Juljan Krause, Margaret Krawecka, Cara Krebs, Göksu Kunak, Stephen Kwok, Mehdi-George Lahlou, Lindsay Lawson, Dani Leder, Tómas Lemarquis, Kamin Lertchaiprasert, Jennifer Locke, Melissa Logan, Ghassan Maasri, Heather MacKenzie, Louis Mallozzi, Markues, Fabian Marti, Xavier Mazzarol, Eduardo Menz, Ahmad Mhidi, Nadine Milde, Zoë Claire Miller, Lin Mingyan, Hani Moustafa, Marlie Mul, Aya Nakamura, Sadaf H Nava, Nile Sunset Annex, Johannes E. Nowak, Kira O'Reilly, Julie Oh, Roger Outa, Chantal Partamian, Mary Patten, Manuel Pelmus, Alexis Blair Penney, Claire Pentecost, Mario Pfeifer, Rivers Plasketes, Natasha Pradhan, Kinana Qaddour, Anahita Razmi, Elliot J. Reichert, Wissam Saade, Walid Sadek, Mitsu Salmon, Fred Schmidt-Arenales, Wieland Schoenfelder, Chloe Seibert, Aram Han Sifuentes, Hayley Silverman, Blunt x Skensved, Alex Smith, Sheida Soleimani, Beatrice Steimer, Antoinette Suiter, Larin Sullivan, Frederika Tevebring, Keijaun Thomas, Robert Hotchkiss Thomson, Jan Tichy, Oxana Timofeeva, Petros Touloudis, Devdutt Trivedi, Colleen Tuite, Masha Tupitsyn, Tricia Van Eck, Amanda Van Valkenburg, Mark Van Yetter, Voin de Voin, Mark Von Shlegell, Calum Walter, Sama Waly, Arlene Wandera, Sarah Wang, Hsinyen Wei, Mikka Wellner, Jasmin Werner, Christoph Westermeier, Olav Westphalen, Yaloo, Nine Yamamoto-Masson, Zhiyuan Yang, Atalay Yavuz, Jiyoung Yoon, Mi You, Lena Youkhana, Chen Chen Yu, Snow Yunxue Fu, Bahar Yürükoğlu, Tobias Zielony, Pablo Zuleta Zahr
If you have been an audience member or participant in my work, do consider sending some thoughts and reflections to Rebecca French, who's putting together a piece for the forthcoming book on my work, 'Kira O'Reilly: Untitled (Bodies)'.
Co/editor Harriet Curtis explains, 'we're aiming to get a broad range of responses from audience members across the globe - share this post widely! Please send contributions to Rebecca (details below) - the deadline now extended until 1st August.'
Needless to say this book project is a significant and extraordinary project that I am very delighted to see come about.
Rebecca French writes:
'As you may know, the forthcoming monograph on Kira O’Reilly’s work, co-edited by Harriet Curtis and Martin Hargreaves, will be published in 2017 by Intellect Live, together with the Live Art Development Agency.
Kira has asked me to write a text for her book. Kira and I were at art school together in the mid-1990s and we have a 20-year friendship and relationship with each other’s work.
With my ongoing interest in participation and engagement, I have proposed inviting contributions from people who have had direct experience of Kira’s work – as viewer and/or participant – and editing these audience responses into a fabric of words, which complicate, compliment, interrogate, critique, laud and unpick Kira’s distinctive practice. A key characteristic of this text will be its deliberate aim to combine diverse responses from a great many audience members, who have experienced Kira’s work over the last 20 years.
I am inviting contributions to this text. You could contribute a word, several words, a sentence, a paragraph, an anecdote, a snapshot, a feeling, a response, from you as an audience/participant in Kira’s artwork. It could have been written at the time or just now, previously published or not.
I intend to credit all contributors to the text in the footnotes, away from the main text, which means that your name will be printed, but not linked to the actual text you contribute, so please feel free to write whatever you feel will add to a diverse viewpoint of Kira’s work. (It is also possible to not print your name at all if you prefer – so please let me know if you would like to contribute anonymously.)
Please email your words to me at email@example.com, with KIRA BOOK as the subject heading. Please include how you would like to be credited – your full name, anonymously etc.'