Once we stopped shaking hands, it was the only thing I had in mind. Like the only thing I was not able to do anymore was the only thing that captivated me. Suddenly in my fantasies my hands were cut off and had a life of their own, entirely detached from my body, like you could remove yourself from it. At that time we temporarily learned to look deeper into each other’s eyes. This novelty was a reconstruction of myself in the form of my own hands. A metaphor for detachment of anatomy and genetics.
The Addams Family’s pet hand resembles that kind of life of its own. Thing is one of the characters of the satirical family in the original American cartoon from 1938. Thing was one of the late additions to the sitcom, added in 1954. The writer and curator Huib Haye van der Werf describes Thing as “an anaesthetic entity there to pass things on, and signal, and to move around like an animated sculpture through a theatrical room”. He does not remember Thing ever touching anyone or holding anyone’s hand. It was a beloved member of the household, but it was the duties of fetching, bringing or placing something, basically being a dismembered servant, that made it Thing. I wonder what the contemporary narrative can be when the rest of the body is optically removed? In HanaHana, the artist Mélodie Mousset takes this further. Here the building component is not a hostile cube like in Minecraft, but women’s hands. “In this world, users can grow hands and chains of hands of all sizes and colors. As the piece is exhibited, like a three-dimensional cadavre exquis, they create a sort of improbable forest. It’s a contemporary mythical world, in the Anthropocene age: colonizing the human hand in a CGI world without any other form of life. As a player, you don’t really have a body, a shape, or skin, you are a kind of creative vital energy.” Some say itching palms often signify new internal energy moving through the hands.
Hands are responsible for sending information to us. Did you know that fingers are even more sensitive than the eyes? Fingertips have a large number of receptors devoted to sending messages to the brain. As part of an intricate system of nerve and specialised touch receptors, they are able to recognise all kinds of tactile sensations such as pressure, texture, pain and temperature. Furthermore, the tips of your fingers are so inclined at communicating with your brain that your consciousness is generally left out of the equation. For example: have you ever noticed that right before reaching for something, your hand will assume the shape of it?
- Things Might
is a column about the designed environment and how it sometimes becomes, often hurts, occasionally explodes and usually takes by Matylda Krzykowski. She is perplexed by the meaning of ‘Handout’.
 Mélodie Mousset: Projecting the body into virtual reality by Ewen Chardronnet, 3 October 2020, https://www. makery.info/en/2020/10/03/melodie-mousset-projeter-son-corps-hors-de-soi-jusque-dans-le-virtuel/
Workshop by Matylda Krzykowski around 'Choreography refers to the design' with students of the Critical Inquiry Lab of Design Academy Eindhoven. Exercise: Collectively moving the hand and the body to express and learn culture-specific meaning.