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Hand (Jérémie MAGAR) from Jeremie Magar on Vimeo.

(Work commissioned for the collective exhibition « This Is Us », Museum of London)

The film “Hand” is an allegorical response to a recurring question in my work: how historical knowledge is present in everyday life?

From Homerian myths in ancient Greece to scientific approach today, historical knowledge constitutes an important part of our identity. And this “embedded” knowledge often hides the fact that it is is not given, but constructed and taught.

The video “Hands” is a response to the idea that the past is permanently manufactured and re-invented in the present. The past does not exist outside of its depiction in the present —like in the Museum of London— and in that sense, its knowledge is permanently reinvented.

I have worked many times with archives and from this recurring practice I kept the idea that the foundation of historical knowledge is created by hand, carved from the living texture of past life into artifacts seen in the present.

In the museum of London, I remarked than together with weapons, a great amount of tools from different periods were shown. In the video “Hand”, I show modern tools used by professional hands to excavate and display the ones from other times. Then the video shown at the entrance of the galleries creates a sense of continuity between the crafts of the past and the crafts involved in recovering and acknowledging them.