The Gesture Collector:
Experiment 1, The Leading Gesture
A casual gesture between a middle-aged woman and her young swimming instructor is the seed for an entire novel by the Czech author Milan Kundera. As the main character, Agnes, leaves the pool, she glances back at her instructor, smiles, and waves. The gesture captivates Kundera, because the light airy movement belongs to a much younger woman. Kundera goes on to pontificate for 300 more pages about the parts of us that live outside of time. For almost 30 years I have wondered about the mystical nature of the gesture and imagined that each movement phrase is somehow more than the sum of its parts. The role of gesture in artmaking has been extensively researched, its mechanism and meaning widely expounded upon, but I want to study not just the remnants of gesture left behind in paintings and sculpture or the flat compressed space of gesture recorded by pixels. I want gesture in four dimensions, in three dimensional space plus time. I want to be able to both recreate the gesture at will and catalog it for further study, so I created a series of gesture collectors so that I may collect and analyze gestures across time, space, and culture.
The gesture collector is a machine designed for a singular purpose, to record and collect the mathematical representation of moving hands in space. Each gesture in the collection is coded with information for further analysis to be completed when the sample size is of sufficient quantity. “Experiment 1, The Leading Gesture” encourages the participant/informant to interact with the machine by providing sensory feedback with color and form, thus leading them to continue interacting until the control of the gesture is taken from them so the new gestural form may be collected and left in a holding pool with other gestural forms while they wait to be archived.