2008. Patrick Courtney. HAIR + SPIT V1.0.

FORMAT: LOOP/ CD I YEAR: 2005-2007


Name Play Size Duration
Patrick Courtney. HAIR SPIT V1.0
7.5 MB 8:11 min

‘"The end result of complete cellular representation is cancer"
William S. Burroughs Naked Lunch 134

hair+spit v1.0 is a war broadcast. It is first piece taken from over 17 hours of actual sound recordings of chemotherapy treatment. The sound of the drugs, blood transfusions, hydration treatments and food supplements entering the body.

In the summer of 2005, I sat beside my son, Piers, in Ward 10. He had cancer. These are moments of complete helplessness; you are not part of the rest of the world. You feel lonely in the realisation he is lonely; you are always alone in great pain wherever that pain originates and for nearly two months he hardly spoke or smiled. He has now fully recovered.

Chemotherapy is a form of warfare; a well planned and sustained war of attrition against any abnormal and uncontrolled cell division causing cancerous tumours. Like any successful battle plan it requires meticulous planning, execution and of course, luck. Like any war, there are many casualties suffered other than intended targets. Collateral damage within the body is widespread. Severely reduced is the hair and saliva production within the body due to the destruction of those dividing cells; it decimates the immune system.

In a small totally blacked out space, an immersive sonic environment, I want to put the audience somewhere in the position I was; in a children’s oncology ward in the dead of night with the faint sound of the infusion pump which had the unsettling psychological effect of slowly increasing in volume until it was all I could hear. This is, in media terms, within the realm of a war broadcast, a ‘scaling up’ as opposed to obvious ‘scaling down’ effect we normally experience.

hair+spit v1.0 is both a real document and an artistic corporeal investigation through a lonely virulent sound of mutation and war.