the vacuum cleaner. CV. |

“the vacuum cleaner is one of the most significant and exciting artists working in the UK today. Blurring the boundaries between art and audiences and between performance and politics, the vacuum cleaner’s work not only gets people thinking about things, but actually doing things to effect social, cultural and political change.” Lois Keidan, Director, Live Art Development Agency

Selected Projects.

Madlove: A Designer Asylum.  A project exploring architecture for madness. Major Commissions including FACT, Wellcome Collection, Broadmoor Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, Heart of Glass. Extensive talks and workshops globally. [2013+]

In Chains.  With Hana Madness. Film portrait of Istana KSJ, a radical mental health community in Indonesa. Exhibitions including National Gallery of Indonesia, Schankhalle Bremen, Bethlem Gallery London, Kammerspiele Munich. [2018+]

The art of a culture of hope.  Multidisciplinary project exploring the future, hope and fear. Including – Gessnerallee Zurich, Tate Britain, London, Steirischer Herbst, Graz, HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin, Vooruit, Ghent, Politik Im Freien Theater, Munich. [2015 – 2018]

Mental.  An autobiographical performance told through psychiatric records, police intelligence files and corporate injunctions. Including The Barbican, SpielArt Munich, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Tramway, Homo Novus and international touring over 5 years. [2013 – 2019]

Ship of Fools.  Over 28-days the artists apartment became a mental health hospital. A anti mental health detention action and residency programme. A film diary of Ship of Fools exhibition including at Bluecoat Liverpool, Projects Space London and Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, Michigan. [2011+]

Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination.  Co-founder of this artist-activist collective, making large-scale creative direct action. Including touring, festivals of interventions, participation in mass civil disobedience, trainings and gallery provocations. [2004 to 2009]

Prayers to Products/The Church of the Immaculate Consumption. An attempt to create a religion of shopping. Ten large-scale interventions in department stores around the UK, with between 10 and 70 people praying evangelically to the shop and its products. Featured on BBC 4 and Channel 4. [2003-5]

Just Do It – A tale of modern-day outlaws.  Editor, narrator and key collaborator of this feature documentary about the secretive world of environmental direct action in the UK. Cinema, Broadcast and DVD release. Directed by Emily James. [2011]

100,000 Pieces of Possibility.  One Thousand Euros worth of one cent pieces were given away free in a bank. Commissioned by Anti Festival, Finland. [2008]

The Cardboard Ark.  Life size model of an ark made out of cardboard, presented to the public as a viable solution to climate change. Commissioned by Peacock Visual Arts, Aberdeen. [2008]

Re-Call, Logo Fault. Logo brandalism at Starbucks stores internationally. Modified logos and merchandise were distributed to disrupt the chain coffee shop’s public image and via [2005]

Virgin on the Ridiculous/Cleaning Up After Capitalism. Intervention with a vacuum cleaner. Cleaning up Virgin Megastores, City of London, the Museum of Contemporary Arts Chicago and Wall St, New York. [2003]

Performance lectures.

Capitalism. Full Stop.  A manifesto for art’s separation from capitalism, exploring ownership, originality, ego, celebrity, money and language. Presented at Forest Fringe in Edinburgh, and the Showroom Gallery in London. [2011]

Morsels to Suck On.  An evening of films and storytelling around the vacuum cleaner’s favourites works of art and activism. Presented internationally including at CASA in Amsterdam, Liverpool Biennial and Performing Rights Vienna. [2006]

Lecturer. Performance and Aesthetics Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. [2006-8]

Visiting Artist Lecturer Nationally: Manchester University, Queen Mary’s, Cambridge, Nottingham Trent, London School of Economics, London College of Communication, Glasgow School of Art, Goldsmiths. Internationally: University of Amsterdam, University of Helsinki, Parsonʼs College, New York University, School of the Art Institute Chicago.


Tate Modern and Britain Artist in Residence – 2016/17.
Louder Than Bombs – Art, Action & Activism. Stanley Picker Gallery. 2010

Press. the vacuum cleaner’s work has featured internationally in printed and broadcast media, including: The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, BBC Television, Channel Four, Arte, BBC World Service/TV, a-n, New York Times, MTV Europe.