The Handbook contains a collection of hands cut out from newspaper photographs gathered over a period of several years (1994-97).
The project started out of an interest in studying hand positions.
[enlarge image 1 + 2 . See a similar study book from 1985]
As the collection grew, the work took on a life of its own and developed an Eigenleben.
Newspaper photographs depict current events and the people involved in them.
However, in this collection the hand is the essential link between intention and action. By focusing on the gesture of the hand, I am stressing the importance of this functional link between cause and effect, thus emphasizing the means to an end initiated by an unknown cause. As such, the gesture (Handlung) out of context takes on a life of its own.
No record was kept on the identity of the people whose hands are portrayed nor on the context in which they are shown. This was done intentionally to depersonalize and equalize the hand's owners, undermining current value systems and radically changing conventional parameters of the importance of the events. The book grew exponentially in an organic manner.
In the process, I became more and more alienated from "reality" and came to understand that these "biomorphic instruments" are sculpting an enormous work-in-progress called life and creating a singular hand language -- but one that no one really understands.