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The Hand

David Lamelas
35 mins Colour Sound Video

The Hand

Invited in 1976 to teach at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, Canada, David Lamelas produced his first video, The Hand, for the local public channel.

He invented the fiction of a 'Newsmakershow,' a mixture of newscast and talk show, as a commentary on the structure and procedure in American newscasts as well as the techniques of journalistic expose and opinion polls. The characters represent various overlappng levels of reality and fiction: Ghilia Benesty, a politically committed journalist from Israel and living in France, 'plays' herself and links the discussion to real political events and people. A real musician plays the role of rock star Kevin Gold, who made a comeback after a long absence and is now accused of having smuggled weapons in preparation for a subversive terrorist attack. Talkmaster/journalist Barbara Lopez is modelled after anchor woman Barbara Walthers, who interviewed Nixon during the Watergate affair. Lamelas's talk show keeps coming back to the issue of entertainment versus politics: Can or must people in the public eye wield their influence?

The interview is intercut with brief episodes in the control room where a dark hand with a flashing knife keeps fingering the levers and is preparing to engage in an act of censorship. This is followed by a shot of Barbara Lopez, almost in a state of shock, briefly announcing that Kevin Gold has just succumbed to an insidious assassination.

'In Los Angeles I went to a lot of film seminars about screen writing and film producing. One thing I noticed in these seminars was that people in the commercial scene completely ignored art film. I was also very interested in American TV because it was the most accessible form of information and I realised that the line between entertainment and information was very close. In a way, this video was an extension of my earlier work on fact and fiction. I was really fascinated in how information on a subject can be transformed and condensed into a few seconds.'DL

David Lamelas - A New Refutation of Time, Kunstverein Munchen, Witte de With Rotterdam, 1997.

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