Les Mains Négatives

Anne Dubos, Jan Schacher (2017-2018)

The exploratory research project ‘Les Mains Négatives’ serves as an experimental apparatus for the observation and analysis of gestures in relation to a poetic agency made out of images and sounds. It thus becomes a carrier and witness to the traces of a cosmography.

The negative hands appear on prehistoric cave-walls, in aboriginal culture, but also figure in contemporary graffiti and digital arts. The apparatus enables complex structures to become visible and accessible to the interpretation through gesture interactions. Within the interactive media-space of the ‘Immersive Lab’ the painting gesture is ‘re-performed’ as a living experience. Visitors are exposed to an archive, which manifests digital forms of a fluid iconology.

As an echo to Aby Warburg’s ‘Mnemosyne Atlas’, the exploratory action of the researchers, artists, and public engender a remediation of the archives. In a cyclical process of construction, interpretation, and investigation the various materials operate reconfigurations on fluid digital spaces. How can a contemporary technological apparatus re-produce the performance of a gesture that is 40’000 years old through an iconic or iconological process?

Within the interactive and immersive configuration of the apparatus, the ontological state of the archives is augmented with an altered epistemic plane. The materiality of archived objects as well as the fluidity provided by the interactions contribute to the performance of meaning. This ‘mise-en-oeuvre’ produces an artistic object, whose primary basis is knowledge production through aesthetic experience.