Hand Movie
USA 1966 | 6 Min. | Yvonne Rainer
Kurze Str. 11, 14:00 – 24:00 Uhr


Hand Movie (1966) was American dancer/choreographer/filmmaker and writer Yvonne Rainer‘s first foray into filmmaking, it came into being as the result of her confinement to a hospital bed when she was seriously ill and recovering from major surgery. Hand Movie is an extraordinary and unique experimental dance film, it presented a way for Rainer to perform when her body was incapable. the film consists simply of two continuous medium close-up shots of Rainer‘s disembodied right hand, held upright, presumably against the blank wall of her hospital room.
Rainer creatively used Hand Movie as a way to continue and extend the minimalist/functional choreography she had firmly established with works like the seminal Trio A (1966), where she was reducing dance to the bare essentials, focusing on simple, repetitive, everyday movements, giving them new significance and possibilities. in many ways Hand Movie perfectly represents et illustrates Rainer‘s ideas of demystifying dance et rejecting any form of persona or narrative which she formulated/declared in her „No Manifesto“ in 1965.
No Manifesto (1965)
No to spectacle.
No to virtuosity.
No to transformations and magic and make-believe.
No to the glamour and transcendency of the star image.
No to the heroic.
No to the anti-heroic.
No to trash imagery.
No to involvement of performer or spectator.
No to style.
No to camp.
No to seduction of spectator by the wiles of the performer.
No to eccentricity.
No to moving or being moved.
Hand Movie was photographed by fellow dancer William Davis. it is in fact made up of two takes, or precisely two complete rolls of 16mm film that last approximately 3 minutes each. the film/performance does not have an end proper, that is, it does not resolve, which adheres to Rainer‘s manifesto, instead she consciously includes the film burning-out to a white screen as the camera negative runs out. like everyday life we gets a sense that Rainer‘s hand performance will be repeated endlessly with subtle variations over time.