Martin O’Brien: Mucus Factory

18.58 - esther

Apparently the performance will finish shortly, says Becky, while Martin is still jumping. We are asked to leave. Martin starts hitting his chest again. Everbody leaves.

18.48 - esther

More mucus.

18.42 - esther

Smearing mucus.

18.40 - esther

More mucus.

18.39 - esther

More mucus.

18.36 - esther

More mucus.

18.33 - esther

More mucus.

18.31 - esther

Becky joins the beating, for a short while they are drumming together. Then only her. He breathes and sounds like a rattle.

18.28 - esther

Now more mucus.

18.27 - esther

More people coming in, we are 8 again. Do the others see that Martin has been going on for hours? Except for the beakers at the front that contain mucus and the empty ones lying on the floor, there is no indication of things having happened in here.

18.25 - esther

I guess you might have figured that out by now: the beakers in the back do not contain colorful liquids as I wrote – yes – hours ago, but glitter.

18.24 - esther

A phone rings.

18.21 - esther

He has taken two beakers from the front and goes to the back. He does not look like he wants to go on. 40 minutes still to go, Martin. And I wonder – does he have a watch? Does he know that it’s still 40 minutes?

18.19 - esther

After a long time of beating his chest, he takes a pause. I realise that he has not coughed in a while. I also realise that he has not produced any mucus in a while. Now he continues the beating again.

18.16 - esther

Now he has stopped.

18.13 - esther

In case you are wondering, he is still jumping.

18.11 - esther

He is jumping for longer than ever it seems.

18.02 - esther

One more hour.

18.01 - esther

More chest beating. And more mucus. And more beating. An absurd afternoon. A sinister afternoon. A physical afternoon. An afternoon stuck in a loop. More coughing, more breathing like an old train, more mucus.

17.58 - esther

One audience member goes to the front to look at the beakers very closely. There are 24 beakers with mucus now. Martin groans when pulling the mouth piece of the machine out of his anus and once more when he gets up.

17.55 - esther

A woman laughs at the machine in Martin’s ass. It’s the first time somebody laughs in here.

17.54 - esther

The machine starts again. Somebody next to me reads the paper that you are given when entering the space.

17.48 - esther

Some audience members come back again and again. Somebody just came back for the third time. And I wonder if he feels that something has changed in here. Has something changed? Yes and no.

17.47 - esther

The woman who has been here for the last hour starts tapping with her fingers on her knees, following the rhythm of Martin’s beats.

17.45 - esther

And the drumming starts again.

17.44 - esther

Spmetimes when he jumps he strokes his chest and his arms, trying to get some of the glitter off.

17.42 - esther

And the jumping starts again.

17.40 - esther

Most people only stay for short while, I guess about 10 minutes. But one woman has been here at least for the last hour. And a guy for about 30 minutes.

17.39 - esther

And the drumming again.

17.38 - esther

He takes the mouth piece of the machine out of his anus and gets up. It seems he has difficulty walking.

17.33 - esther

The more I watch the less I become engaged, the less I’m with the body in front of me. We are now 8 audience members (including me and Becky). Martin has just filled another beaker with mucus. There are now 22 beakers at the front of the stage, And he just took 2 to the back, starting to smear the mucus onto his chest. More than half of the beakers are still left underneath the bed. There are still 90 minutes to go.

17.25 - esther

Jumping. Sometimes Martin looks like a sportsman, who has fallen into a pot of glitter. Sometimes he looks like a performer, perhaps doing some workout after the show, some glitter still on him. Whenever Martin jumps, his gaze somehow disappears in nowhere. Does he actually see us? Is it important to him that we are here? Here with him.

17.22 - esther

Outside I realised that the sun started to disappear behind the houses.

17.21 - esther

I’m back. Becky is back with Martin, hitting his chest. When she does it, it becomes more percussion. Martin starts drumming on his chest again.

17.13 - esther

I have to take a very short break, back in a few minutes…

17.11 - esther

And back on the rostrum again.

17.09 - esther

I somehow feel the drumming gets louder and louder. Sometimes he looks angry when he does not get the mucus out of his chest. Sometimes he looks red, sometimes he looks pale. Sometimes he looks sad, sometimes tired, sometimes bored and empty. Sometimes he looks sick, sometimes he looks sexy. Sometimes he looks old, sometimes young.

17.07 - esther

Two more audience members have entered. We are five now.

17.06 - esther

Spitting mucus, lying on back on the bed again, silent, then starts the drumming again.

17.04 - esther

For a short moment he lifted his arms while jumping, then put them down again.

16.59 - esther

But starts jumping again, up and down.

16.59 - esther

He walks over to the trampoline, crooked, like an old man.

16.56 - esther

Awfully loud breathing. Sounds like an old train.

16.54 - esther

Drumming on the chest. Coughing. Coughing with the whole body, the whole body is coughing.

16.53 - esther

Something rolling over the stage floor, I cannot see it, only hear it.

16.52 - esther

Argh, Urgh

16.50 - esther

The humming of the machine – bbbbbrrrrrrrbbbbbrrrrrrrbbbbrbbrrrrr.

16.49 - esther

Pingpangpang – another beaker on the floor. And one more audience member comes in. We are four again (including Becky and me).

16.48 - esther

The clicking of his bones when he kneels down.

16.47 - esther

Pingpangpang – a beaker falling onto the floor.

16.39 - esther

He has difficulty getting the mucus up.

16.37 - esther

One spectator comes, two go, one comes.

16.35 - esther

Coughing. Spitting.

16.35 - esther

Pam, Pam, Pam, Pam, Pam, Pam….

16.34 - esther

The squeaking of the trampoline.

16.32 - esther

The steps of his bare feet on the dance floor.

16.32 - esther

The creaking of the bed when Martin gets up.

16.31 - esther

Pam, pam, pam, pam, pam, pam, the drumming on the breast keeps rolling.

16.31 - esther

Deep breath that sounded painful.

16.29 - esther

Somebody comes inside, I hear: “Hi there” from outside. Sometimes this is more a listening to Martin’s body than a watching him.

16.25 - esther

Switching machine off. Getting up. Putting trousers on. Lying down on bed. Starting hitting of chest.

16.24 - esther

One more audience member. So it’s 4 of us (including me and Becky).

16.22 - esther

Taking trousers off. Standing on rostrum. Smearing mucus onto chest. Throwing glitter on chest. Smearing mucus into hair. Kneeling. Smearing mucus on mouth piece of breathing machnince. Pushing machine into anus. Leaning forward. Groaning. Switching machine on.

16.16 - esther

There are little bits of glitter all over his body now.

16.14 - esther

More hitting.

16.14 - esther

Stops hitting. Deep breathing, almost groaning. Silence.

16.10 - esther

And the hitting starts again.

16.10 - esther

Hitting chest. Spitting. He was spitting when sitting on the bed, he looked so tired. Now he is just lying there, silently.

16.09 - esther

Spitting mucus. Back onto the bed. According to my notes Martin has been jumping straight for 8 minutes (except when he stopped briefly to get rid of mucus).

16.06 - esther

Now I had to cough.

16.06 - esther

And again: spitting mucus. Continuing jumping.

16.04 - esther

Another one. Spitting mucus. Jumping. Becky, sitting at the side of the room, coughs.

16.04 - esther

Stops jumping. Oh, no, just a break for spitting mucus.

15.59 - esther

There are now about 17 beakers at the front.

15.58 - esther

Deep breath. Clearing the throat. Starting to jump. Coughing. Spitting mucus. Jumping.

15.55 - esther

Hitting. Becky gets up and starts hitting Martin’s chest, but more slowly then he did. Percussion. Hit, flip, clap, hit, flip, hit, hit, clap, hit, hit, clap, cough, hit, hit, hit, cough, cough, hit sometimes on upper, sometimes on lower chest. Every now and then hitting her own chest. And then Martin takes over the hitting again.

15.51 - esther

Coughing.

15.49 - esther

One more audience member.

15.48 - esther

Bed.

15.45 - esther

Groaning.

15.43 - esther

Machine.

15.42 - esther

Glitter.

15.40 - esther

Mucus.

15.39 - esther

And back to hitting.

15.39 - esther

Short pause in hitting. Thick silence.

15.34 - esther

Bed.

15.34 - esther

Are we actually watching Martin making his disease worse?

15.33 - esther

Still jumping.

15.33 - esther

I get a back pain from crouching over the computer. And my eyes hurt from the darkness.

15.31 - esther

The shadows on the walls are really striking. Though I wonder if I had noticed them if Hannah had not commented on them.

15.30 - esther

No audience. Except me. And Becky who helped Martin with the piece. We two are the only ones constantly watching. I did not count her before when giving numbers about the audience.

15.28 - esther

Jumping. Clearing his throat.

15.27 - esther

Now he is back on the trampoline.

15.27 - esther

When you come into the space, you are handed a piece of paper about the work. It explains that Martin is suffering from Cystic Fybrosis, a chronic disease in which the body produces excess mucus, which restricts and prevents breathing through clogging up airways and lungs. Martin is still hitting his chest.

15.23 - esther

Hitting, coughing, filling up beaker with more mucus.

15.22 - esther

New beaker. And a “argh”.

15.21 - esther

I feel mucus coming up from my chest into my mouth. Listening to more drumming.

15.20 - esther

Coughing. Mucus.

15.20 - esther

Now back into rhythym of hitting. This time a bit louder than before and only with his right hand. He is constantly hitting his heart.

15.18 - esther

Trousers on again and back on the back. Deep breath. He is just lying there for a few seconds before starting to drum. Perhaps he does not want to. He only has to beat a couple of times, then already starts coughing.

15.12 - esther

Some beakers fall on the floor and roll around.

15.11 - esther

And back to the rostrum: trousers off, mucus on chest, glitter, machine.

15.08 - esther

More mucus.

15.08 - esther

More hitting.

15.07 - esther

He is back on the bed, hitting the chest with his hands. We are three audience members, but except me there are different people than before. I think of the sun outside – is it sunny where you are?

15.06 - esther

back on trampoline, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, gasping for air, jumping, jumping, gasping for more air, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping., jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jupming, coughing, spitting mucus into beaker, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping,jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, juping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping, slowly smaller jumps, back to bed, drumming, drumming, drumming, a bit of coughing, spitting mucus into beaker.

14.59 - esther

Back on bed, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming,  drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, coughing, coughing, coughing, spitting mucus into the beaker, durmming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, dumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, dumming, drumming, drumming, one really loud clap, drumming, drumming, dumming, drumming, drumming, dumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, dumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming with hands on his chest, spitting mucus into beaker.

14.55 - esther

Back on the bed, hitting chest. Drumming, durmming, drumming, drumming, drumming, dumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming, coughing, coughing, coughing, coughing, coughing, spitting mucus into beaker, dumming, coughing, coughing, coughing, coughing, spitting mucus into beaker.

14.52 - esther

He takes the mouth piece out, makes noise as if in pain. Turns machine off. It’s very silent, my typing seems very loud.

14.48 - esther

He takes two beakers from the front to the back. Taking trousers off again, standing on the rostrum again. Taking mucus out of the beakers, smearing it onto the chest. I guess that’s what he was doing before – mucus, no vaseline. And some mucus into the hair. He has to cough, spits into a beaker. He kneels down, smears some mucus onto the mouth piece of the breathing machine. He turns around and pushes it into his anus. Turns machine on. He is kneeling, the back towards us, but his head is on the floor and he watches us through his legs. There is some silver glitter on the sole of his foot.

14.42 - esther

More coughing, more mucus, beaker number 9.

14.40 - esther

Drumming on the chest.

14.39 - esther

Actually there are only 7 beakers at the front, he has just started spitting into his 8th beaker. Now number 8 is at the front too.

14.38 - esther

Back on the bed, hitting the chest, coughing, mucus, gasping noise when breathing. His chest his red.

14.37 - esther

Martin stops jumping, more coughing, more mucus. Beaker number 8.

14.35 - esther

I have tried to count. There must be over a hundred beakers underneath the bed.

14.35 - esther

One audience member has left again, but Culture Colony is now also filming.

14.34 - esther

Still jumping. Coughing.

14.33 - esther

Martin starts jumping on the trampoline. He has difficulty breathing. I can feel the mucus in my chest.

14.32 - esther

More coughing, more mucus, it’s the 6th beaker.

14.32 - esther

A fourth audience members enters, male.

14.31 - esther

Back on the bed, more drumming, more coughing, more mucus. The empty beakers, by the way, are all standing underneath the bed. I start typing in the rhythym of his drumming.

14.30 - esther

Martin gets off the rostrum again, puts on the red trousers, starts drumming his chest again. Coughing, spitting mucus into a beaker, some more drumming, some more coughing, some more mucus. There are now five beakers at the front of the performance space.

14.28 - esther

Now we are three audience members, all female.

14.28 - esther

He turns around. On the right side of the rostrum is some medical machine, I think a breathing machine. He pushes the mouth piece into his anus. Then turns on the machine.

14.26 - esther

He puts some cream (vaseline?) on his chest and also some silver glitter.

14.25 - esther

In the back of the space is a black rostrum. Martin takes off his red sporty trousers and is standing on the rostrum in his underwear. There are also several beakers on it, all filled with different colourful liquids.

14.23 - esther

At the front of the performance space are already 4 beakers with mucus.

14.22 - esther

Martin coughs. He spits his mucus into a beaker. He starts beating his chest again, gets up and spits more mucus into the same beaker.

14.20 - esther

The trampoline is on the left side and on the right side there is a kind of medical examination bed. When I came in Martin was lying on hit, repeatedly hitting his chest with his hands. After jumping up and down he is doing it again, the drumming noise is filling the space.

14.16 - esther

It’s weird to be inside on this sunny afternoon. Half of the studio is rather dark, the other half is lit. In the lit area there is some black dance floor and some gym equipment. At the moment Martin is jumping up and down on a small trampoline.

14.11 - esther

I’m in the studio. So far I’m the only audience member, but Martin has already started.

14.04 - esther

I’m walking over to the studio for “Mucus Factory” – watch this for a five-hour live blog.

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