Amy M. Youngs: HandShake

  • ©2016, Amy M. Youngs





Creation Year:





    5:10 min.


Artist Statement:

    I create situations that make visible – and palpable – the connections between the human and non-human. Immersed within participatory artworks, or in networks that include machines, plants or animals, the human experiences self as a mutually dependent being, intermeshing and intermingling with the non-human parts.

    In HandShake, I performed a three-hour handshake on live broadcast webcam as a way to acknowledge composting worms as important ecological partners. Worms are difficult to see, as they hide from visible light, which is harmful to them. This handshake was staged inside a dark box illuminated by an infra-red light which was invisible to my eye and to the light detectors of the worms, but sensed by the camera documenting the event. This extrasensory, technological agent allows us to see beyond our biological senses and it provides a view into the interconnected system that we participate in. The networked camera revealed the event as it unfolded in a three-hour timespan, but the span of human attention does not easily match this scale. I chose to time-lapse and color-enhance the documentation as a way to shift it towards human perception. I endeavor to employ technology in this way; as a means of highlighting the interdependent systems that include all of us – worms, people, dirt, cameras and ecosystems. These worms are the continuation of a colony of worms that have been with me for twenty years. We have shared many meals. They have transformed my waste products into fertilizer that I have fed to my plants. Once in awhile, when I bite into the juiciest strawberry, I remember to thank the worms for their part.

Technical Information:

    Media Used: Video, Music by Matt Ogborn.



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