Theatre (v)

Theatre (v)

Date: 21st November 2008

An immersive projection of an aeromed flight from Camp Bastion to Kandahar

In 2007, Cotterrell was commissioned by the Wellcome Collection to travel to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, with the assistance of the Ministry of Defence, to observe the work of the joint forces medical teams at Camp Bastion.

Theatre is an attempt to put into context the sense of abstraction Cotterrell experienced as a witness to the treatment received by combat trauma victims in the field hospital at Camp Bastion. The film relates to a flight made on the eve of Remembrance Day 2007, in which the artist accompanied a Critical Care Air Support Team during the night-time evacuation of a seriously injured soldier. Such flights are often only vaguely remembered by the sedated patient. Inside the belly of the Hercules transport plane, the juxtaposition of medical care and military hardware creates a strange environment. The flight offers a symbolic bridge between the trauma and confusion of the casualty station and the considered, long-term process of rehabilitation in the civilian healthcare system.

Theatre is a simulation of a simulation: a reconstruction of the last day of training for medical evacuation crews before they are deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq. It offers a rare glimpse of what is hidden from the public eye.


60 minute 5-Channel HD Video source. Warp generator, edge-blending and synchronisation hardware.

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Gallery, Installation, Irritant, Museum, Site Neutral, Temporary, Video


TheArtFund RUSI: Remembrance in a Modern Society - 10.03.10, Bearing witness: the role of war artists in the 21st century - 26.10.09, David Cotterrell : Kino Eye


Art in the Danger Zone, War and Medicine, Krieg und Medizin, Bloody Reality, Transmission: Host, Uncontainable: Leonardo Electronic Alamanac, Dislocations, War and Art : A Visual History of Modern Conflict, A Heavy Reckoning: War, Medicine and Survival in Afghanistan and Beyond


War and Medicine, Krieg und Medizin, Dislocations


War & Medicine : War Artist Commission, Interact Artists Fellowship


Shared Territory, Culture in a Time of Conflict (a), Culture and Consequence, David Cotterrell in Conversation, Army medics on the front-line (v), David Cotterrell on Afghanistan (v), It was the best of times, it was the worst of times (v), Bearing witness: the role of war artists in the 21st century, BBC Radio 4 Today : Injury and Conflict (a), BBC Radio 4 : The Two Minute Silence (a), CNN : Another Side of War, RUSI : Subjective Views (a), TED : How I Almost Lost My Faith in Photography (v)


War and Medicine : Artists Diary, RSA Lecture : Culture in a Time of Conflict, TimeOut : Military Responses, RSA Journal : Art and Conflict, War and Medicine : Interview Transcript, Guardian G2 : Bloody Reality, Guardian G2 : War & Medicine Review, David Cotterrell : Kino Eye

Reviews : Theatre, Guardian G2 : Where science and art are encouraged to meet, Wall Street Journal : London art, Health Service Journal : Matter of life or death, The Times : A painful vision of healing in wartime, Student British Medical Journal : War and Medicine, Lancet : The complexity of medicine and war, Sunday Telegraph : Conflict under the knife, Financial Times : Battle on two fronts, Guardian : War and Medicine, London, Amelia's Magazine : David Cotterrell, British Medical Journal: War: what is it good for?, The Big Issue : Tools of Combat, : The uneasy link between war and medicine, Saturday Review : War and Medicine, : Saving lives and losing lives, : War and Medicine, fugitiveink : Salutary truth: 'War and Medicine' at the Wellcome Collection, : Artist explores war and medicine, : War + Medicine, : War and medicine on the front line, museums and heritage : War artists trip to Afghanistan, : War, what is it good for?, : ..staggering history of suffering, Art Monthly : War and Medicine, BBC Radio 4 : Start the Week (a), Yorkshire Post : The Silence That Still Resonates