A gesture of flexibility

© Fraktalwerk

First lesson: The thumb is held up as the hand slides down the right cheek: The word/concept is: Monday.

Second lesson: The index finger and thumb come together to form a small circle, the other fingers remain free. In this finger position the wrist rotates in and out again so that the free fingers beat with their three wings (fingers): Here we have: Tuesday.

I interrupt my learning for a moment and ask myself: what happens if I do the same with the other hand at the same time?

As I turn both wrists inwards and outwards, I begin to see something more than “Tuesday”. A gesture that starts to emerge out of pure curiosity. Then, I sprinkle in the rotation of the wrists and see the wings spiralling in the air.

What does a gesture that means something more than “Tuesday”, that is not just taken literally, tell me? Can I use the same kind of translation as when I write in German? Or do gestures have more meaning than words, or others? Is the concept of gestures more open than that of words?

Can I open my perception to what is happening in this moment? I ask myself what I am doing with my body, how do I perceive this gesture and what personal meaning does it acquire in addition to its lexical meaning?

Do I always make this gesture in the same way, or does it change over time, even if it is the same gesture?

What did it make me feel yesterday, what do I feel today, can I give it a different meaning and significance?

Learning sign language is a wonderful experience. I can learn the gestures, but beyond that I have an aesthetic experience with them that reminds me of my experience in dance.

What little I have learned opens endless doors to creativity.

So every gesture and every word has life. In the aesthetic process, the gesture changes as well as its meaning, along with us. But something of its origin as a sign language gesture can remain.

Text und Performance: Libertad Esmeralda Iocco