When good-health is compromised by illness, it becomes quickly apparent that ‘no man is an island’. The illusion of one’s independence and autonomy is shattered by the need to care or be cared for. Interdependence extends far beyond the reliance of a patient on his or her physician, into needs that might not have previously been noticed. Help is needed to get dressed, to buy and cook one’s food, to leave the house, to continue paying off a mortgage, and to weather new emotional experiences.
2.5 million people in the UK are living with cancer, and by 2030 this number will have risen to 4 million. No longer an island explores the ways in which the meaning of Utopia might be different for cancer survivors; people who have lived with and overcome one of the UK’s most significant diseases. Audio recordings of the thoughts of Guy’s Hospital cancer survivors are interspersed with readings from Aldous Huxley’s novel Island, a Utopia that re-imagines political priorities and social relationships as emanating from core values that centre around the human body (and mind), imagined by Huxley, who died of cancer.
Artist – Andy Franzkowiak
An audio installation at Somerset House, London, summer 2016