Hand-Over-Hand (HOH) is a technique employed in the education of students with special needs such as visual or social impairments. A parent, teacher or friend will place their hand over the hand of the student, guiding them to make marks on paper, assemble and construct artworks, or explore objects. Through gestural prompts, the technique repeats and reinforces early childhood learning patterns. It attempts to emulate and stimulate students learning when, for a variety of reasons, such learning did not occur.
For Window’s summer project the triumph of the old master, the technique is used to paint renditions of a parrot.Two participants work side by side to create two paintings, taking turns at lending their hand to and guiding the hand of another person. The participants can choose one of two photographs to paint from: the original and its mirror image. They have a pencil, a sheet of A3 paper, and a selection of inks and brushes at their disposal. On completion of their task, participants are asked to invite another person to join the project and make a new set of paintings. Over the summer, the paintings will accumulate and be displayed within Window gallery. One public session will be scheduled to take place on Sunday February 7th.
Within the scope of the project, paintings stand for the educational, social and power relations between artists and non-artists, students and teachers, strangers and friends. Participants must take a position of self-reliance or dependency; of independence or belonging, of improvising or training.
The paintings address our capacity for subjective thought and action when most of our developmental learning relies upon repetition, and when belonging so often demands trade-offs with one’s primordial freedom.
Positioned within the University of Auckland campus, the triumph of the old master reflects upon universities as sites of nebulous agency and learning. It urges participants and viewers to find for their own place on the spectrum, to find freedom somewhere between the emancipation open to them as individuals, and the empowerment possible within a group.
The title of the show is taken from Jacques Rancière’s book The Ignorant Schoolmaster, a book once called "a manual of autistic practice".