Hands-on, after the distance (2021)

Hands-on, after the distance (2021) was first shown as a site specific performance video installation at Omega Holistic, Little Malop St. Geelong, as part of the NightLight art activation on June 11 2021. The work was shown directly after the fourth major Victorian lockdown arising from the COVID-19 pandemic that began in 2020; it was next installed and exhibited at the Victorian College of the Arts, Artspace Gallery, Melbourne in July 2021. The exhibition was cut prematurely short due to the fifth major lockdown in the state, which was an ironic and tacit convergence with the work’s artistic commentary on persisting with ideals of practice amidst rapidly reforming conditions.

It comprises two video projections of a performance by artist and practicing physiotherapist Jessica Laraine Williams. The performance is constructed to appear as a disembodied massage treatment conducted remotely- an inherently absurd concept that dissects the notion of ‘hands-on’ practice in a socially-distanced world. Hands-on, after the distance, responds to the symbolic shifts in identity and practice that demarcate an extraordinary period of Australian pandemic time. A customised PPE visor and sterile blue are among the artist’s characteristic identifiers in her regular clinical work. They are enshrined through focal use of colour in the artworks.

Below is documentation of the work in phases of development through to showing.