How To Wash Your Hands (2020)

with Christa Donner

As the Covid-19 epidemic emerged, so too did an abundance of how-to hand washing videos. Starting in late January 2020, one in particular played on a continuous, hypnotic loop in the dining hall that my partner and I shared with hundreds of others in Singapore. Always running, hands in motion, suds, instruction, rinsing, sensation, ablution.

 

My partner's and my time as artists-in-residence in Southeast Asia transformed into one of sheltering-in-place for months on end. With a hazard so invisible and communicable, and within a global mesh where everything is shared, the significance of safety, of self, and of contact became more pressing and at the same time more difficult to discern. The ritual choreography of hand washing became deeply embedded in our bodies and minds over those months, while forms of protection, isolation, and communion continue to mutate.