Der Ausdruck der Hände

© Generali Foundation Collection—Permanent Loan to the Museum der Moderne Salzburg

Harun Farocki

Der Ausdruck der Hände, 1997

Video, black and white and color, sound, 29 min Director: Harun Farocki Photography: Ingo Kratisch Produced by: Harun Farocki Filmproduktion for WDR


Artwork text

The hand stands for touching—but cinema has to change all the perceptions of the senses into visual images. The first close-ups in film history focused on the human face—those that followed focused on hands. Often hands are meant to reveal something that the facial expression is trying to hide—for example, a hand crushes a glass and there is no readable reaction in the face. Although hands are also an identity marker of the person, the cinema almost never introduces a person by looking at their hands. The film reads who and what a person is from the face, and it is there that it also looks for the soul. The hands are reserved for the instinctive. Hands are like insignificant people: it is hard to tell them apart from each other; they do their work and don’t make a fuss. A filmed hand challenges the imagination to see it as a crawling creature. There is another, quite different, genre, in which the hand resigns its service to its owner and goes its own way. Once free, it wants to strangle throats and, as a punishment, is often nailed down, perhaps to a piano. Now it wriggles and jerks and arouses less pity than a rat. (Harun Farocki)

Lending history
2006 Vienna, AT, Österreichisches Filmmuseum