I Am Not the Cancer

6-channel video / 8-channel sound installation in collaboration with Tim Wainwright

European Parliament (main foyer), Brussels, Belgium, 2015
Hotel Intercontinental Ballroom, Dubai, UAE, 2014
Famagusta Gate, Nicosia, Cyprus, 2014
Congress Center, Basel, Switzerland, 2014
The Music Room, London, 2014
Baveno, Italy, 2014
Gazarte, Athens, Greece, 2013
Basen, Warsaw, Poland, 2013
Advanced Breast Cancer Third International Consensus Conference, Lisbon, Portugal, 2013
Egg Centre, Brussels, Belgium, 2013

John Wynne



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
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