Liang-Hsuan Chen & Musquiqui Chihying – The Gesture II: Gestures; The Gesture II: Talk

<p>With the advent of the novel coronavirus epidemic over the past six months, not only have masks become a crucial first line of defense, but also hand gestures. To avoid contracting the virus, the government has counseled us to frequently wash and rub our hands, to constantly disinfect with alcohol, and to even wear rubber gloves. A new set of gestures have become the daily bodily rituals of the entire populace. These gestures draw a boundary, along which each individual delineates the internal/safe from the external/dangerous. But it is not just at this point in time that hand gestures have served as protective barriers – this is a culture that has always existed among humankind. “The Gesture II” begins with pop culture, exploring the zombie movies popular in Hong Kong and Taiwan during the 1990s and pondering how certain symbols in these films such as gestures or amulets metaphorically represented and reflected the public’s anxieties and fears and transformed them into comedy. Zombie movies are filled with visual elements, and these images are internalized and absorbed back into the public’s thinking. Unlike similar films of the West, in which zombies meet with direct bodily resistance, it is with protective hand gestures and ritualistic implements that different local cultures express a special sense of distance and deal with anxiety and danger. To this day, even with our endless string of crises, people still use symbolic hand gestures to respond to concerns about reality.</p>