These forms are made of mud. The mud was created by sifting red dirt and mixing it with a thick wheat paste. The result is a brick-like material that when wet is somewhat plastic with clay-like properties. When it dries, it is semi-waterproof, and stronger than natural mud, but still susceptible to breakage. The forms were each created by manipulating single blobs of mud into palms with fingers. Once they took a basic shape, they were wrapped, and left to slowly dry and mold until further alterations could be made, and the final drying could take place without excessive cracking. The hands are formed to appear to be texting.
Repetition gives the piece a sense of time, and time is also implied in the content. The forms repeat, but they change, so they create a chronology that informs the viewer of periods of time between the transformations of the hands. The aesthetic function of the repeated forms is to activate space. The malformed hands suggest motion with their gestures, and their color brings unity within the piece, helping to connect them as related, but changing objects.
This piece is about identity because it explores the question: how does technology change those who use it? For this piece, I looked at the collective identity of our nation, and decided that one of the most identifying characteristics in the United States is our use of technology. Everywhere, in every imaginable situation, I see people using phones. Cellular devices have become more than an interface for communication; they are, for many people, an essential part of life. Our technology changes the way we communicate, navigate, and it even changes our posture, so there is a possibility that it will change us drastically over time. If evolution were to reform people’s hands into ideal tools for their most performed activity, hands would probably change to become better at texting. The shape of a phone demands anti-ergonomic movement from human hands and fingers that were originally formed for other tasks. Langdon Winner said: “We do not use technologies as much as we live them.” This piece is a visual equivalent of that statement.