Kira O'Reilly

Placement at University of Birmingham

Kira O’Reilly is a UK based artist and she has been making art for 10 years now. Her practice, while willfully interdisplinary and entirely undisciplined, stems from a fine art background; it employs performance, biotechnical practices and writing with which to consider the body as material and site.

Since graduating from the University of Wales Institute Cardiff in 1998 with a BA(HONS) in Fine Art, her work has been exhibited widely throughout the UK and Europe. She has been invited to Australia and more recently Beijing where she performed at the DaDao festival. She also made commissioned work for SPILL, Festival of performance, London.

She has also presented her work widely, speaking at conferences and symposia including BioDifference conference Biennial of Electronic Art, Perth 2004. She has worked as a lecturer in the UK and Australia in fine art, drama and dance departments. She is featured and contributed to the recently published Sk-interfaces: Exploding Borders – Creating Membranes in Art, Technology and Society, Edited by Jens Hauser, Liverpool University Press, 2008.

In October 2004 Kira completed an honorary research fellowship as artist in residence at SymbioticA, the art science collaborative research lab, School of Anatomy and Human Biology, University of Western Australia, funded by a Wellcome Trust sciart research and development award. There, she was concerned with exploring convergence between contemporary biotechnical tissue culturing and traditional lace-making crafts, using the materiality of skin at its cellular level as material and metaphor.

She continued and expanded this research as an honorary research associate and artist in residence in the School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham (June to December 2007) investigating spider silk and muscle cell culture as biomedia. She is currently fundraising to continue this research.

Last year she began to make ‘dances’ with her 41-year-old non-dance trained body, attempting to totter at the edge of some kind of capacity and some unnamed ground, resulting in a new movement based work Untitled (Syncope) commissioned for SPILL Festival of performance. This year she is investigating similar performance strategies towards performance and film outcomes. She has just completed a research period at Chisenhale Dance Space, London.