HANDS – An impression from the Wellcome Collection ‘hands-event’!

December 3, 2010

An impression from the Wellcome Collection hands-event in London!

Hands….where would we be without them?

At november 26 the Wellcome Collection in Lond presented their ‘hands’-event. Tabitha Langton-Lockton was one of the participants in the event and she wrote an impressive review:

Can you imagine a society without hands? Frankly, no. For this would mean a world without Twitter, Facebook and YouTube; heavens forbid a world without art and literature, for how would we paint, write and type? 

The Wellcome Collection plays host to an event, ‘Hands’, celebrating these odd looking appendages with an evening of music, magic and science. In the foyer visitors play the piano and pinball machine whilst waiting for the main event to open. Gigantic cardboard hands loom by the entrance and people animatedly express themselves with their hands as they queued for the ticketed events. Hands are everywhere.

A talk by Chris McManus takes place in the auditorium. Accompanied by a British Sign Language interpreter, McManus explains the science that differs between the left and right-handed. As a right-handed individual, I was disappointed to find out that all ‘lefties’ were not in fact evil as I had previously been led to believe. A later talk by the evolution expert Christophe Soligo explains how hands have developed and changed over time. Both talks are educational and thought-provoking.

The wonder of hands continues to be celebrated on all floors. Climbing the stairs, white-gloved men greet visitors with a shake of the hand and subtly (but unsuccessfully) try to place a sticker on their arms without them noticing.

On the first floor, areas dedicated to the event could be found whilst wandering around the current exhibitions. The Nail Bar proves popular with the ladies (although I did spy a suited man waiting patiently for his turn) whilst the prosthetics and medical tools appeal more to the gruesome individuals.

A neuroscientist asks me to place my right hand inside a black box and look at a rubber hand. He then proceeded to poke and stroke me resulting in my questioning my senses and walking away feeling distinctly confused. Had he been poking my hand or the rubbery hand? 

Turning a corner I found what I was looking for – the palmistry section. After having my palms read by an amateur reader from the Collection library I plucked up the courage to ask if he could see children in my future. “I think that you might have two”. “Damn” I muttered, “I was hoping for at least three”.

The second floor becomes a surgery for the evening. Here, surgeons from Imperial College perform the art of stitching a wound, whilst showing the crowd how hands save lives. Visitors were able to try their hands at surgery and to see for themselves just how steady the hand must be to perform operations.

‘Hands’ shows the visitor just how essential they are in everyday life. The evening appealed to all ages and amused and educated its audience.

• Famous stories about strang hands: Charles Darwin
• The Wellcome Collection presents their HANDS-event (official announcement)

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