DIY+ 2017 – Martin O’Brien: For The Dead Travel Fast

A pilgrimage into the heart of darkness. Follow in the footsteps of Dracula on a journey from Whitby to Transylvania.


Project summary

This project will take 5 artists on a journey into the heart of darkness by following in the footsteps of Dracula. The project is aimed at artists whose practice is concerned with death, pain, horror, flesh-eating or the undead. We will become undead tourists as we make a pilgrimage to sites associated with the myth of Dracula. It will take place over 3 workshops: workshop 1 will be a weekend research visit to Whitby (accommodation provided) where we will take part in Dracula tours and get to know each other. Workshop 2 will be a 4 day research trip to Wallachia and Transylvania, Romania, (flights and accommodation provided) where we will visit Dracula’s castle, birthplace, and tomb. We will be based in Bucharest and take coach trips to the sites. Workshop 3 will take place over 12 hours through the night in London, bringing together and reflecting on the research.

Accommodation in Whitby and Romania is covered. Flights from London to Bucharest and coach trips within Romania are covered. Participants need to cover travel within the UK and food themselves.

How to apply

Applications are invited via the link below. The application requires a short biography, links to example work, and a short statement which explains how a pilgrimage in the footsteps of Dracula will benefit your practice.


Dates, times and locations

Part 1: Whitby
Sat 2 Sep (12noon) to Sun 3 Sep (12noon)
Accommodation in Whitby is included.

Part 2: Wallachia and Transylvania
Thu 7 Sep to Mon 11 Sep
Return flights, accommodation, and travel within Romania are included.

Part 3: London (overnight)
Sat 23 Sep (8pm) to Sun 24 Sep (8am)

The artist

Martin O’Brien is an artist whose performance work draws upon his experience of suffering from cystic fibrosis. His work uses physical endurance, disgust, long durations and pain based practices in order to address a politics of the sick queer body and examine what it means to be born with a life threatening disease, politically and philosophically. He has performed throughout the UK, the US, Canada and Europe, both solo and in collaboration with the pioneering performance artist Sheree Rose. He was artist in residence at ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles (2015). Martin has recently completed major commissions for Spill Festival of Performance, Ipswich, and DadaFest, Liverpool (both 2016). 2017 will also see the first book about Martin’s work published by the Live Art Development Agency, reflecting on a decade of performance. Martin is also a lecturer in performance at Queen Mary University of London. 

For questions about this project, please contact Martin.

DIY+ is kindly supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation.

DIY+ is a new initiative that has been created to facilitate more ambitious DIY projects than we have previously been able to support. These projects represent a step up from our regular DIY programme, either in terms of scale and scope, materials and resources, and/or which offer participant artists an increased or deeper level of engagement. 


Banner image credit:

image credit: Martin Fluck


DIY: 2005


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