On Hands!

Hands introduces us to the world. They are our primary mode of gaining a tactile understanding of what surrounds us. Acts of creation emerge from planning and clear intent and hands become a conduit for expression. The satisfaction that working with hands provides is something primal and outside of material and monetary standards of success today. Most makers will claim that their intuitive, obsessive, and committed use of their hands brings them a satisfaction that is beyond our conventional understanding of value. This process of translating the world through their hands is essential for the maker’s emotional sustenance.

The Look Here! Project led me to the Special Collections Library artists’ books showcasing hands as a subject. I was also interested in the Digital collections archives on the Milwaukee Art Project, created to provide employment for Americans affected by the 1930’s stock market crash. I was interested in this collection because most of the people that were trained within the Milwaukee Art Project worked with their hands. At a time when our experiences are mediated through technology and our social interactions become distanced with social media, this film brings our attention back to an essential way of experiencing the world.