All at once, our hands have become the center of the public’s attention and a source of fear from contagion. They are covered in Latex and washed repeatedly and frequently. Any contact with a person or a surface is paid a great deal of attention, while the most dangerous contact of all is the handshake. On one hand, the handshake is a simple and everyday action, a gesture of introduction between strangers. On the other hand, under certain historical circumstances the handshake becomes a meaningful act, one that symbolizes leaving differences behind and walking into a new and shared future.
In this collaborative project, we invited the public to reacquaint themselves with the handshake and shake hands with someone they don’t know, for at least 20 seconds. On an empty lot in the multi-cultural neighborhood of Shapira, we set up an outdoor photography set. Each passerby who chose to participate was invited up to a station where a performer washed their hands, while asking them questions about when they last shook hands with a stranger or whose hands they miss most lately. Then, they are invited to a photo op (part blind-date, part peace accord) in front of the cameras.
With Michal Vaaknin, Adva Weinstein, Ayelet Golan and Yuval Hameiri
Exit Strategy Festival, Tel Aviv 2020