General News / August 9, 2017

60 seconds with Niamh Murphy, Director of Dublin Live Art Festival 2017

General News / August 9, 2017

60 seconds with Niamh Murphy, Director of Dublin Live Art Festival 2017

“Rather than the likes of painting or sculpture, live art can only be fully experienced by the people who are there in the moment to witness it. It’s a real antidote to the digital world that we live in.”


This year’s Dublin Live Art Festival brings together themes of sexuality, protest and disability in what’s easily the most provocative live art spectacle to hit our shores, featuring a lineup of leading homegrown talent alongside some of the world’s most prominent performance artists.

The festival takes place between August 17-20, centred around The Complex, off Dublin’s Capel Street, with a number of pop-up performances happening around the north inner city. General tickets for each individual DLAF17 performance are priced at €10 on the website.

District Magazine also exclusively have our hands on 20 VIP tickets, priced at €20 each. These tickets include access to all of the performances over the four days, an invitation and drink on arrival to the DLAF Launch party hosted by LIVESTOCK and an invitation to the exclusive closing party on Sunday August 20 featuring DJ Martin McCann. To avail of the offer, contact

In the meantime, check out our 60 second interview with Dublin Live Art Festival Director Niamh Murphy and find out a bit more about this year’s festival…


What is ‘live art’, and why is it so important?

Well, ‘live art’ is a sort of catch all term for art where artists use the materials of time, space, their own bodies, props and a load of other bits and pieces to create their work. Rather than the likes of painting or sculpture, live art can only be fully experienced by the people who are there in the moment to witness it. It’s a real antidote to the digital world that we live in.

Tell me a bit about the Dublin Live Art Festival and its history to date…

DLAF began in 2012 as a way to connect the various organisations that were producing and presenting live art at the time in Ireland, as well as to build connections between Irish and international artists and curators. We have a strong tradition of live and performance art here in Ireland and Dublin Live Art Festival is a way to promote and place this work within an International framework.

This year’s theme is ‘Come Together’. What’s that all about?

Our theme of Come Together is a direct reaction to world events such as Brexit and the rise of the far right in Europe, as well as the the election of Trump and the international refugee crisis. We wanted to focus on shared experiences and the commonalities between people rather than what divides us.

You’ve got some really interesting guests flying in from around the world. What can you tell me about Reverend Billy Talen?

Reverend Billy Talen is a eco-activist that uses the performance persona of an evangelistic preacher to raise awareness around issues of eco-terrorism and anti-capitalism.

He was the subject of a Morgan Spurlock film (Director of Supersize Me), at the moment he is co-ordinating an ongoing protest outside Trump Tower which has gained him a lot of media attention. He’ll be joining up with Dublin-based singers as well as members of The Stop Shopping choir from New York to present his work for the first time in Ireland – we’re really excited about this one!

A couple of the artists performances deal with their own personal illnesses and disabilities too…

Yes, Martin O’Brien lives with Cystic Fibrosis and uses pain and endurance as his materials to allow him to reclaim his body from his condition. This is his first time showing his work in Ireland… Martin’s work can be quite challenging with adult content, so viewers discretion advised.

Rhiannon Armstrong suffers with chronic migraine and as a result sometimes must lie down in public. Her piece, ‘Public Self Care System’, a one on one performance, involves her facilitating her participant in laying down in public and promises to be a very unique experience in self care.

Who should we watch out for at the festival from our own shores?

Since it’s beginning, we’ve partnered with Dublin based curators LIVESTOCK. We’ll be launching the festival on Thursday August 17 with LIVESTOCK – Fresh Cuts, which will feature spoken word, dance and live art from all Irish artists.

Following on from her live art debut in last year’s DLAF, queer spoken artist Vickey Curtis will again use the medium of poetry to interrogate our ideas around what it means to be queer, female and socially aware in present day Ireland.

Another Irish artist to watch is Celina Muldoon, who uses her exquisitely adorned alter egos to explore ideas around gender, abjection and ritual.

Am I right in saying that sexuality also plays a big part in a number of the performances?

Absolutely. One of the first groups to use performance as a uniting power and protest was the LGBTI community. Although present day Pride celebrations seem a very long way from their roots in the Stonewall riot, the queer community has fought long and hard to gain acceptance and equal rights within society and in some parts of the world, this struggle continues.

Gareth Cutter is a gay man whose piece LOAD addresses penetration as a way to explore themes as diverse as Ulysses, autobiography and masculinity. LOAD is stripped back and raw and allows the viewer to enter this rabbit hole of exterior and interior. With his tongue firmly in his cheek, dancer Robert Hesp’s piece Hard C*ock investigates what it means to be queer in a digital world and uses disco and dance to look at ideas of sexual autonomy, identity and fragility

Anything else you’d like to add?

Director’s choice HIND by artist Umama Hamido from Beirut offers a different take on the refugee crisis as HIND documents a landscape and the daily life of a people who inhabit it.

It’s a cinematic performance, and Umama takes the audience on a journey through sound and image, with film footage that captures both the serenity and beauty of this environment and it’s inhabitants, but also a reality of tension, poverty, fear and imminent danger.

Click here to find out more about the festival.