DIY: 2013 – Kira O’Reilly ‘Thinking Through the Body. Combative Manifestos’



Kira O’Reilly
Thinking Through the Body. Combative Manifestos

Learning grappling/Brazillian jiu jitsu techniques and writing exercises to produce manifestos from and of our bodies.

Project Summary:
This DIY project will have as its central practice a series of daily three-hour workshops in grappling/Brazillian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) with experienced mixed martial arts instructor James Duncalf. Around these I will lead other workshop activities that will provide supplementary and complementary conditioning and preparation.

We will do circuit training and strange yogas. We will write. We will consider our bodies as grapplers in transformative contexts. We will contemplate the materiality of our bodies and we will write some more, but when sweating and tired and in states of exhaustion. We will write from our bodies. We will invoke suffragettes and activist legacies: the suffragettes were among the pioneers of jiu jitsu in the UK, utilising it as a subversive and activist strategy. We will consider identities and their problematics, and perhaps jettison them as we find something that is posited on the relational. Our physical training will inform all of this: we will, quite literally, think through our bodies, thinking through doing. We will strive to write Manifestos and these will be our outcomes – our Manifestos will carry urgencies, and whatever else emerges. They can be artistic declarations, political rhetoric, subversive assertions. The Manifesto will provide a writerly form, a clarion call, a proclamation, no matter how transient or foundational, we will seek to develop them from our bodily selves.

Dates, times, location(s):
Wednesday 14, Thursday 15 and Friday 16 August 2013
. 9am to 5pm daily.

Queen Mary University of London and a nearby location tbc.

Application procedure:
Please send:
1. a short CV
2. a brief artist’s statement about the ideas that inform your current practice and
3. why you want to participate in this project including why you imagine this opportunity might be useful to you. If you are not sure, then feel free to say that.
1. Please give details of any physical practices you currently practice or have done in the past. It will be useful to have a good basic level of fitness and a willingness to experiment with the practices being introduced.
2. Detail any injuries or physical conditions as well that you feel are relevant to mention.

Applications must be received by Sunday 9 June, emailed to [email protected] (cc’d to[email protected])

The artist:
Kira O’Reilly is a UK based artist. Her practice, both wilfully interdisciplinary and entirely undisciplined, stems from a visual art background; it employs performance, biotechnical practices and writing with which to consider speculative reconfigurations around The Body. Her practice has developed across several contexts from art, science and technology to performance, live art and movement work. She has been learning to grapple for 18 months and is still very poor at it but sees it as a core methodology and research tool.

Contact information:
Kira O’Reilly on [email protected]

Part of DIY: 2013

Unusual professional development projects conceived and run BY artists FOR artists

DIY: 2013


Unusual professional development projects conceived and run BY artists FOR artists

Read more


DIY: 2018 – Joanne Matthews: Wild Philosophy: Raving, Running, Reading


theory and philosophy for women channeling punk, rave energies and radical sensitivity

Read more

DIY 2020: José García Oliva – White Vinegar


White Vinegar Workshop revolves around the quote from leading New York artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles “After the revolution, who’s going to pick up the garbage on Monday morning?”.

Read more