The Last Breath Society (Coughing Coffin)

The Last Breath Society (Coughing Coffin) consists of a four-hour durational performance and a resulting installation by the artist Martin O’Brien. These are part of a weekend of activity around his work, hosted by the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London. The weekend ends with a half day symposium, examining ideas of duration and waiting in performance.  For more info, visit the ICA’s website:

The coffin is sealed shut, the faint sound of coughing from inside can be heard ringing out through the night. In another place, a group are meeting. The Last Breath Society gather to breathe together, to mourn their own life and rehearse for the inevitable.

Martin O’Brien continues his exploration of mortality, and a life lived in ‘zombie time’, since outliving his life expectancy. The Last Breath Society (Coughing Coffin) is an exploration of waiting as a mode of survival. The sick body is constantly reminded of death as the inevitable outcome of life. Martin has gathered a society of sick queers, old queens, and others thinking about death, to wait together in a room full of coffins. With his usual mix of pain based practices, humour, and long durations, Martin and his society use a series of coffins to explore how we wait for death. Come and join the Last Breath Society and resist the loneliness of decay.

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