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.Read more »
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.