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Alien Hand Experiment

I set up a version of the Alien Hand experiment at the Manchester Art Gallery Workshops, something I had never tried before on other people. Each day I watched people use this and took note of what they did and how they interacted with it. A participant places their hands under a screen. Another participant places their hands on the table under a camera, and are asked to copy the movements of the hands under the screen.  The camera films their movements and relays this to the screen. 

Alien Hand Experiment

After a few moments, participants started to feel ownership over the hand on the screen naturally it is difficult to accurately copy the movements and the participants begin somehow, mirroring each other’s movement to the point that they seem to forget who is leading who. In many cases the participant looking at the screen asking “Who is leading this?” or “I can’t remember who is following who”.

Drawing with an Alien Hand

Initially it started as a drawing activity referencing the original Alien Hand experiment, where participants copy the other drawing, then evolved into a 3d activity, copying and making objects with clay, but finally, in its most effective form remained simply with no drawing or making, but most effective was simply mirroring each others hand movements.

What was also interesting with the drawing was the fact that the drawing under the screen was often “better” than the copied one.

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