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The Sum of Hands is an Artwork using digital media in an installation form that references the digitality of the human. It is a multi-community work which then develops into a multi-national project. It has different iterations.


Small scale exhibition

When exhibited, the small local installation consists of a table and 12 chairs for people to sit around the table - this is direct and intimate exhibition which will give the audience the chance to join in. A projector is suspended above the table with the image projected directly down on a white table cloth (the screen). The first pair of virtual hands enters the table space until eventually there are fifty pairs, then slowly they leave, leaving only one pair which rests a moment before fading away - then the installation loop begins again.

What is being ‘healed’ in this larger scale version of the work is the neurosis that provokes a commodification of resources in the world. We no longer need to treat the world in this way so we must heal the original impetus in works like this and the activities they provoke with the public in their making.



A major part of the artwork is the making, so that in itself should be an art event, the gathering together of fifty people with one concern, the realization of this piece. It is important to me that there are both local communities of one kind of person indigenous to the area and also the inclusion of varied and mixed races - the colour of skin should be various and manifold. Of the fifty, the ones who place their hands on the table first will have to wait for a long time whilst the rest of the process happens above them - but that is how we will change things, for the stronger to support the smaller.

Respources for small scale exhibition:
Access to people to take part – mainly local publicity.
Shoot: An HD camera is required, a table and white table cloth, a black space (studio) to shoot in and some lights and a technician to help rig the camera above.
Editing: The next day a final cut editing suite would be needed to prepare the footage for display.

Then Exhibition: The following day a projector will be rigged above a table of the same size and a computer or blu ray DVD or media player to play back, a table, with a white table cloth and a technician to help rig.

The seven small exhibitions come together in the form of two large scale exhibitions:

  1. Initially the above footage is projected on to a set of tables (depending on resources available). The artwork is also the shooting of the footage for the exhibition to slowly replace the original with theme oriented ‘sums’. I.E. ‘The sum of hands of people of colour’; ‘The sum of hands of refugees’; ‘The sum of hands of indigenous people’; The sum of hands of immigrants’, ’the sum of hands of artists’; The sum of hands of steelworkers’ etc

So the work is not just the exhibition but the creation of the exhibition.

Resources required: Camera, mike, dark space of 5 metres by 4 metres located near the exhibition, lights, computer, table, rigging equipment

  1. The second form of a large scale exhibition requires 7 tanks of the same size as the original table, each filled with a white commodity, like milk, salt, soya, rice etc... This can take the form of gradually shooting a set of ‘Sums of communities) or utilize just the original footage where the work is actually the audience engaging with the commodities.


Shooting: A camera is suspended above looking directly down on to the table. People surround the table and slowly, one by one they place their hands on to the table taking care to get only their hands, wrists and arms in to shot and not their heads or shoulders. Eventually there are fifty pairs of hands of differing skin tones from black to white on the table. When the last pair of hands comes upon the table, they wait for a moment and then slowly leave, followed by all the other hands until eventually only one pair of lands is left. Whilst they're doing the 'performance' everyone will sing a low note, starting quiet, building and receding to silence when the last hands come off - and I'll record a clapping track for the middle (a sound like white noise) also building and receding... click for video example

A DV crew will shoot the making of this installation.


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