Growing... (The Hand) (2009)

This work was created over a 7 month span, starting on January 28, 2009 and ending on September 23, 2009. Through this specific project combining photography, video and performance I used the internet and Facebook as a platform to publish an in-progress body of work where the audience would take an active part in the creation of the work and its fictional and narrative aspect. I was also interested in exploring the friction of the public/private and voyeuristic/exhibitionist dualities inherent to the recent development of social media.

Full Description

On January 26th 2009 I was given for my birthday a little spongy Fatima’s hand which was intended to grow over time provided it were submerged into water. The following day, I embarked into a journey, both literal and symbolic, where the fate of the "Hand" and the artistic project it triggered became entangled with my personal and private life over the course of about 7 months. I put the spongy object in an old glass bottle – reminiscent of the ancient (and fictional?) practice of inserting a message into a bottle and throwing it into the ocean in the hope that the message will find a recipient – to observe the growth of the Hand. I started to document the growing process by taking daily pictures, which I chose to publish through an album (which I untitled “Growing…”) on Facebook. I was interested in engaging and intriguing an audience – encompassing close friends familiar with the genesis of the project, and people with no connection or knowledge of the project such as acquaintances, fans who have followed my work, friends of friends, etc. The idea was to use the Internet and the then recent phenomenon of social media to engage the audience as contributors to the work rather than passive viewers. Through what became a sort of virtual performative act, I wanted to involve the public in the making and interpretation of the work, and take part in the narrative aspect of the project.

The curiosity it triggered among the Facebook followers – whether active or passive – triggered me to start to stage more elaborate scenarios for the Hand in both private and public places, wherever I happened to be. I also created a couple of videos documenting the “journey of the Hand”, which were also posted on my Facebook page. The journey and project ended when the bottle containing the Hand accidentally broke. It turned out that this event also marked a turn in my personal life… I am now revisiting the project to present it as an installation and book form.

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Artist Statement

Through my artistic practice I like to challenge the familiar perception we have of the world and address the friction between reality and fiction by using photography, video and installation. I often see the images I create as a bridge between the world we live in and a more surreal and dreamlike dimension. My still and moving images address notions of time, place, memory and perception. Genres such as narrative and performance are expanded through visual and temporal transformations of represented reality.

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