A Hands Routine



Installation views from Over the Wall at Southern Exposure (SoEx), San Francisco

This work maps the holding and unholding of hands of two gay lovers, while in the car roaming the streets of Beirut. 

"He is driving and I am sitting next to him, sometimes I reach to his side and put my hand in his, other times he reaches to my side and puts his hand in mine. We roam, we talk, and we look. Holding hands becomes a risk, a secret act, fun for being dangerous. We hold and unhold, depending on where we are, who is next to us, and what is next to us. The holding is interrupted: by a traffic light, a higher adjacent car, a rose seller, a beggar, a delivery boy, a passer by, a heated conversation, a jealous gaze...

As a translucent gay space, the car is vulnerable and exposed. The city and its people become a threat. 'Revolt' does happen every once in a while by keeping the hold even when everything around us (and everything we learned and internalized) tells us not to. We could say it is a form of resisting. We contribute to the interruption of our hand holding as much as everybody out there does. The cause for unholding might be internal: a conversation, a dispute, a sweaty hand... The routine is by no means consistent. It depends on our mood and how alert we are to the outside even when encountering the same threats. It seems that we are threatened by everything and nothing simultaneously." 

This work is featured in the book Queer Geographies. It was produced as part of the Queer Geography Workshop held in Beirut and organized by Lasse Lau.

Beirut, 2012