A Spanish hand-out

One of my favourite oddities about the English language is its bewildering mix of expressions and sayings; and specifically those over-reflective/tentative moments when these phrases sound as strange as they are. Today’s CIP (case in point) are sayings referring to hands – “lend me a hand”, “hand-out” and “hands full” all falling victim to a post Queen of Hoxton and birthday-inebriated weekend (a.k.a. a Sunday slowness where I metaphorically have to google my mind to find a suitable noun/verb/adjective). However, this post also has a hint of seriousness to it as my handsome (apologies irresistible) quest led me to the open-ended question of Spain’s financial future and the apparent unstoppable demise of the Eurozone, hand-in-hand with sobering figures on wages, public services and unemployment.

My story starts in Barcelona, but could in fact represent any city where art and public consternation collide; and the economic reality triggers a guerrilla and urbanised response. In this instance the project Hands was born in reaction to the unlikely event of Spain receiving a Eurozone “hand-out”. However, what I find particularly interesting about this Catalan art installation is the ambiguity and mystery behind the use of this five-fingered sculpture. The project is ultimately provocative, designed to raise awareness (if needed) or discussion around the economic crisis. It is described as a –

“socioeconomic commentary through the placement of white cast hands doing a variety of things in conspicuous places throughout the streets of Barcelona including: making a finger-gun by an ATM toward its user; prying into a payphone coin slot; or dangling a noose. Artists Octavi Serra & Mateu Targa, with help from Daniel Llugany & Pau Garcia, are the masterminds behind the project, a manifestation against the current economic crisis in Spain…”

However, I appreciate the multi-purpose appeal of the imagery – the hand used both to command attention, but at the same time suggest reconciliation or, dare I say it, friendship. I like how the installation focuses on the emotional repercussions of the recession – a “hands-on-deck”, grounded approach; rather than tackle the financial institutions or politicians hands-on. Ultimately, it operates on a very personal level, whether this involves pointing a finger at extravagance or lending a plaster-cast hand.

hands project barcelona 1

hands project barcelona 2

hands project barcelona 3

hands project barcelona 4

hands project barcelona 5


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