The Waiting Hand


The Waiting Hand is a kinetic sculpture comprised of a mechanical hand that repeatedly taps its fingers in wait. It is a visual metaphor of life and death, reduced down to one singular action. The hand exhibits delicate life-like movements, taking on a personality in itself, and makes it easy to identify with on a personal level as it is a symbol for how we touch, feel and experience life. The hand’s entire existence consists of one action: the tapping of its fingers, which it carries out in a repetitious, mechanical manner as it waits for something to happen. The only real change or event that occurs is that the hand ceases its movement completely when someone approaches it – a representation of death.

The same dynamic is paralleled in the experience of the viewer, who is inclined to approach the intricate moving sculpture in order to get a better look. They approach the piece intending to improve their experience of it, anticipating certain expectations. When they approach the hand however, they are only greeted by its stillness. They don’t get a chance to experience anything and now the wait is transferred onto them. They soon realize that their experience is over before it began.

The interactivity is integral to the concept of the piece as half of its purpose is realized only when someone approaches it. There is no overt statement or singular purpose in the piece, as it is intended to leave the viewer with more questions than answers. They are meant to think about its meaning and the outcome of their experience. By pondering the purpose of the hand and its motion, the feelings are transferred onto pondering the meaning of life and death. What is the purpose of our actions? Do we wait too much? What are we waiting for? The answers will be unique to every individual.


The Waiting Hand is a kinetic sculpture that is made up of a mechanical hand driven by various axels, wheels and pegs, which allow the fingers of the hand to move in a tapping motion. This motion is repeated in a loop and powered by one main axel which is controlled by a parallax continuous rotation servo. An IR sensor placed in the front of the piece measures the proximity of the user and controls the hand’s execution of the designated behaviours. The minimalism of the aesthetics of the piece is reflected on the detailed, realistic representation of a life-sized human hand which is white, while every other component of its surroundings is painted black. The contrast also acts as a spotlight, focusing the eye on the hand and its delicate movements.

Measurements: width 15.5” / height 9” / depth 11.5”


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