Dancing Hands


30th Oct – 11th Nov, 10AM-7PM  .  Regional Museum of Natural Science
09th -10th – 11th Nov, 2PM-2AM  .  RAT – via San Massimo 7bis, Torino

curated by Mirjam Struppek

Urban Screens as moving image platforms in public spaces for cultural expression stand usually under strong influence of the predetermination on advertisement. Can cultural content withstand the visual power of commercial clips in our cities? This program confronts works of established and young artists, with creative clips produced by filmmakers and animators. The genre of video art and advertisement seem more and more to merge. Creatives are sometimes active in both fields. What are the consequences of this development for content and its specific production for Urban Screens? The future lies in our hands…Hands are our most precious human tools, they are revealing the true process of our life and aging. Reaching out with our sensual desire to touch and create, their delicate fingers can move gracefully like dancers so their movements can tell us vivid stories about their doings. As means of expression they enable us to communicate without voice in our sound overloaded modern cities. In this selection of 12 short films and a collaborative project, the “City Lights Orchestra”, hands are silently speaking to us, becoming dancing symbols for a dream of actively creating, liberating or helping hands. The artists and designers are telling us stories around the image of this powerful tool and its meaning for life.

(Based on a program for Public Art Screens, Stavanger in 2011 and further elaborated for Share Festival.)


David Rühm (A) – “The Mysterious Lines of Life” / 1991 / 2’38”

Having just smashed a fly a man looks closer at his hands to study his lifeline. The clock is further ticking. He discovers something unusual and surprised he realizes that there is actually life dancing in his deep lines. Life and death sometimes lies in our hands.

Bio: David Rühm is a trained photographer with a history of working as film-director and screenwriter. His films have been shown among others at Cannes Film Festivals and he produced award winning commercial and music-clips. 1992 he won the “Thomas Pluch Drehbuchpreis”.

Cyriak Harris (UK) – “Walks of Life” / 2010 / 1’50”

The animation tells us the abridged story of the development of life on earth, vividly expressed trough the medium of bizarrely crafted, walking fingers. Hands truly drive our evolution! One of the 3.482 online comments rightly says: “… they are a significant part of why humans are where we are today.”

Bio: Cyriak Harris works as freelance animator and graphic designer. 2004 he began spreading his popular surreal animations across the Internet, which have been featured at Wired, Showtime, Cartoon Network and BBC. His work often twists the familiar into something alien, strangely disturbing or hilarious.

Myriam Thyes (L) – Multiple Madonna / 2007 / 4’30”

Three variations of a russian Matryoshka are slowly revealed. The regular moving hands, the hardedge bright colours, the geometrical order create a “processes of life” with a ritual and ludic character. The Multiple Madonna, a reminder of the myths of the multiple godess and of matrilineal cultures.

Bio: Myriam Thyes is an award winning new media artist participating since 1994 internationally in exhibitions, festivals and residence programs. She focuses on videoart, animation, photography and digital imagery, analyzing cultural symbols of power and belief while adressing topics of gender, colonialism and myths.

Daniel Bird (UK) – “Give Earth a Hand” / 2010 / 1’30”

“I was walking past a local school where I could only see the raised hands of the pupils and was struck by an image of the entire human population being asked to choose about their environment.” Reflecting Greenpeace’s aims, and their universal appeal the clip plays with what we seem to want and dream of.

Bio: Daniel Bird is a “modern-day agitprop filmmaker with surrealist tendencies.” He worked in TV post-production and for Prague film-maker Jan Svankmajer as model maker and animator and worked one year for Greenpeace International. He produced award winning short films and commercials.

Dario Bardic (HR) – “Inside” / 2009 / 2’33”

Bardic’s video art expresses “the desire for the subconscious and the search for the mystical in contemporary life”. In his visual “subconscious poetry” hands seem to be exploring trough the sense of touch the shiny surface of our modern architecture. Are they looking for their symbolic values and future role in history of art?

Bio: Dario Bardic studied graphic arts and design. Exploring various disciplines he works as free-lance video & multimedia artist and on non-profit projects. His work is shown on worldwide festivals and exhibitions and won three Tommie Awards for his one-minute videos

Ellen Pau (HK) – “For/Give” / 2010 / 2’35”

A Chinese phrase about Filial piety says,” when the son wants to take care of his father, the father is no longer there. When the leaves want to stand still, the wind keeps blowing.” The video reflects this through a dancer’s hand swinging like a pendulum between forgetful and forgiveness in the sun and shadow.

Bio: Ellen Pau works since 1984 as self taught cinematographer, video artist, curator and new media art critic. She exhibited international at numerous Festivals and international Biennials. She founded Videotage organization and Microwave New Media Art Festival and teaches at Hong Kong City University.

Ksenija Jurišic (HR) – “Voice” / 2010 / 1’41”

A female figure half- submerged in water unfolds with her hands a nonverbal autobiographical story of enforced muteness. A few sentences extracted from a dialogue with an elder person are transformed in sign language with literally missing and unwritten words. The video questions methods and cause of (mis)communication in modern society.

Bio: Ksenija Jurisic graduated 2008 in printmaking and has been specifically trained in Underwater video making. Her works include videos, experimental films, installations, drawings and prints, site specific, performative and social art projects.

Christian Bevilacqua (UK) – “It’s in your Hands” / 2009 / 1’30”

As a message from Amnesty International the film shows a mysterious process during which a captured man is surrounded by his three torturers. Their hands suddenly start to have a life of their own, serving the idea of freedom and human rights. Step by step they are destroying the tools of torture.

Bio: Christian Bevilacqua is a trained graphic designer, working as commercials director mainly with visual storytelling, live action, animation and photography. He has won several awards globally for his commercials work, most notably twice gold in Cannes for ‘best new director’.

Dima Stefanova (BG) – “Offer” / 1999 / 00’12”

The short video sequence combines in a ritual act the human power of caring and giving with the basic element of water, a symbol for vitality, purification, healing, renewal. Reduced to intense simplicity and the absolutely necessary the bare human hands return to be a carrier of development and sustainment of life. (Credits: camera: Alex Ivanov, cast: Stefan Jordanov)

Bio: Dima Stefanova founded 1999 with Henk Groenedijk (NL) “Icecreamdesign”, a studio and platform for initiatives and ideas connected to the modern visual and communication culture, melting art and design. Their label is a symbol for freedom, revolution and new beginning.

Evelien Lohbeck (NL) – “Genetically Modified Kiwi” / 2011 / 00’50”

The humorous realistic animation turns our hands into a tool of our insatiable desire to create new life. The Kiwi becomes the symbol for the human unstoppable scientific progress modifying our natural surrounding systems: The attempt to satisfy the mythical dream to control the future of our world.

Bio: Evelien Lohbeck is a young animator and concept artist, fascinated by the boundaries between reality and fantasy. Her graduation work of 2008 won 15 awards at international film festivals. Currently she is artist in residence at the Nederlands Instituut voor Animatiefilm.

Miwa Matreyek (USA) – Digitopia / 2005 / 04’14”

Digitopia is a calmly flowing science-fiction-vision of a world where machines, technology and the human hands have merged with our environment, represented by a wild mountain landscape. Everything seems possible. The surreal stream of fantasy images full of symbolic elements of science, religion and medicine inspire numerous interpretations.

Bio: Miwa Matreyek is young animator, designer and multi-media artist. Her short films as well as works integrating animation and live performance are a fantastical transformation of body, objects and space. They tour to numerous festivals and continuously gain recognitions since 2006.

Anna Anders (D) – Cleaner Clip / 2003 / 1’50’’

Three pairs of hands in yellow, red and turquoise rubber gloves clean the pane of glass while their protagonists stay in the dark. The cleaning process mutates into an obsession – a cleaning madness or mania. All imaginable techniques are performed in different rhythms and dynamics to gain total transparency.

Bio: Anna Anders works since 1986 with video, often playing with the screen itself as an element. Her single-channel tapes and installations are shown worldwide. Since 2005 she is professor at the University of the Arts Berlin, Institute of Time Based Media.

Special Project:
Antoine Schmitt (F) – “City Lights Orchestra” / 2012

Challenging the notion, shape and content of an Urban Screen, this project has been especially selected to open your city: we give an artwork into the hands of the people. City Lights Orchestra is an open visual light-symphony for the windows of the city. With the help of your hands, the city turns into an artwork itself; your window becomes a pixel of a giant collaborative urban screen. Each connected computer illuminates the window of its office, of the home and blinks, pulsates, beats, fades in and out, each according to its own score, but all in rhythm with all the others. The smart phones in the street do the same. Anyone can participate: the symphony is composed to accept an unlimited number of participants and it might never stop. It recomposes itself indefinitely, according to a living score generated from an initial musical DNA.

Your active contribution is needed, without you we are lost! Like modern crowd funding, everybody can help and support: set up your computer for the pulsing light at the website below, extend the time when its display goes to sleep as long as you want, turn the browser full screen and switch off your lights, go out and enjoy!

Bio: Antoine Schmitt creates dynamic systems, kinetic and cybernetic art in minimalist aesthetics. He explores programmed movement, revealing or manipulating forces, to question the modalities of the free being in complex systems of reality. His Installation artworks received numerous awards.



Mirjam Struppek (D), now living in Turin, works since 2002 internationally as urbanist, researcher and curator in the field of Urban Media. She focuses on the sustainable liveability of public space and its transformation through the interactive and participatory potential of new media.