Many people who spend a lot of time working with their hands as makers, artists, or musicians gain a great deal of happiness from what they do. Use your hands explores what might happen if an artist like this was not able to use her hands in the same way she could before.
The act of making, and the objects created by the maker, can also become a kind of shield for the artist. By putting time into the creation of some object, the artist puts a piece of themselves into it, and when they show it off to the world they are showing not only the object, but that little bit of their personality as well - even if the audience doesn’t realize that this is what they’re seeing. This release into the world can be quite comforting, because the maker is able to express themselves subtly without anyone knowing that that was the intention. It can also become a bit frustrating for the artist if the only way they are comfortable expressing themselves is through this cycle of making, instead of through normal human interaction.
Use Your Hands dives into this concept as the artist crochets handcuffs around her own wrists, making it increasingly difficult for her to finish the project as it progresses. In the top left frame, you see simple crocheting, where the artist has no difficulty accomplishing her task. To the right of this you see her attaching the first cuff to her dominant hand, below you see her crocheting the connecting piece in the bottom right frame, and then attaching it to her dominant hand’s cuff in the bottom left. Once you get to the last connection frame, you can see how difficult using her tool has become, and how much longer it takes for her to crochet a single stitch than it did in the first frame.
This piece could be presented as either a performance or as a video screening. If performed, it would take approximately 40 minutes to complete. Use Your Hands could also be executed with multiple performers crocheting themselves to each other’s wrists.