Transit Through Handshake
An exhibition by Isabelle Sully accompanied by Valentina Curandi and Anna Daučíková
November 29 – December 23, 2018
The Physics Room, Christchurch
In 1957 a woman entered an office. Eagerly estranged from the path of family life, she began typing her way to freedom. The sound of two hands thinking flooded the office. Once animated and vocal, they eventually became repetitious and silent. By becoming so familiar with the machine in front of her—enough to be entirely mistaken for—she began to write off her own necessity. Yet in recognising her effacement, the woman, entirely disgruntled by this point in time, outstretched her hand from the edge of the frame and, in a leap of something entirely other than faith, reached in.
Transit Through Handshake is an exhibition by Isabelle Sully that attempts to engage administration as a site of intervention. By taking a fictionalised female typist as its key protagonist and through including the work of Valentina Curandi and Anna Daučíková in supporting roles, it asks how we might come to think of the figure as someone who can reach in and breathe life into the protocols of administration. To do so, and in an attempt to inscribe an otherwise unaccounted voice, the works in the exhibition take document making into their own hands. They record alternative state surveillance reports, script a malfunctioning machine and negotiate contractual obligation. Three approaches that work with a proximal relationship to administered power are then put forth—so as to grasp the legacy of the gendered subject from within the piles of bureaucracy’s proliferating present.
Photos by Mitchell Bright