I Am Not the Cancer

I Am Not the Cancer


2013 - 2015

John Wynne and Tim Wainwright


I Am Not the Cancer is a video and sound installation made with women from across Europe with advanced (metastatic) breast cancer. Originally commissioned as a one-off installation for an event in Brussels to mark the launch of an ABC awareness campaign, the piece was so compelling that patient support groups across Europe commissioned bespoke versions in their own countries. Staged in a darkened environment, the audio for each of the 6 video channels was directed in a narrow beam of audio to a single chair in front of the screen. A subtle very low frequency composition created an immersive, concentrated atmosphere that was felt more than heard. Cancer not only affects the body but also encroaches on one’s sense of identity; the title of the piece came from the Dutch participant Tootje, who said, “I have cancer, but I am not the cancer. I am Tootje."

“Without commotion or comment, Tim Wainwright and John Wynne’s thoughtful installation discloses the experiences of women with metastatic breast cancer. Six video portraits are accompanied by the disembodied voices of their subjects, each recounting their own particular journey “through the fog [of disease]”. - Josef James Pitt-Rashid, The Lancet

“The projection of separate sounds and images, and the whisper of noises off, creates a muddled ambiguity that anyone who has struggled to talk about cancer will be familiar with. A sense of suspended animation is created as time is simultaneously compressed and stretched. Quiet, thinking faces create a vacancy into which conjecture about appropriate thoughts and words spills. The artists have crafted this uncertainty very gently but it leaves a lasting impression, making the isolation encountered by people with metastatic cancer tangible to the audience.” - Josef James Pitt-Rashid, The Lancet

I Am Not the Cancer has been exhibited internationally, including inside the European Parliament in Brussels, at Famagusta Gate in Cyprus, and at the Advanced Breast Cancer Third International Conference in Portugal, as well as in Basel, London, Warsaw, Dubai and Baveno.

Read more about I Am not the Cancer on John’s website: www.sensitivebrigade.com/I_Am_Not_the_Cancer.htm

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