Abstract

This article discusses the “sick body” in performance art and ethics, specifically in Taste of Flesh/Bite Me I’m Yours (2015) by London-based artist Martin O’Brien, which was commissioned by the Arts Catalyst as part of Trust Me, I’m an Artist, a Creative Europe-funded project exploring ethical issues in art that engages with biotechnology and medicine, such as medical self-experimentation, extreme body art and art practices using living materials and scientific process. It considers the bodily categorization “sick,” particularly in relation to when the markers for such categorization are rendered invisible through illnesses—in this context, cystic fibrosis. Through the performance of this illness, important ethical questions are raised for the performing sick body, including complicity, subjectivity and the situation-behavior dynamics present between a performer and an audience.

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