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Contando con los Dedos de una Mano

Josu Rekalde


Contando con los dedos de una mano offers us the potential of a story under permanent construction. In a confessional tone and with the attitude of a story teller, the author lights his hands with a flashlight. With detail shots of these, such as the author’s finger, ambiguous figures and settings take shape that enact a reflection on utopia and on the disenchantment of ideological struggles. This fable reestablishes, by means of the emergence of words and their images, the idea of the singularity of personal stories.

Starting out with an interest in the specific contradictions of the human, Rekalde’s work, in video and other formats, has evolved towards a social abstraction both of politics and of its anthropologies. In Contando con los dedos de una mano he limits the representational space to his own hands, and thereby recuperates a primary and immediate experience. The concepts and aims with which he began his practice have not changed: to cut through the notions of struggle, ideology, xenophobia and the manipulation of the mass media.

Contando con los dedos de una mano is a video that stems from the necessity of that first act of narration. The fingers, illuminated in the dark, and a confessional voice, take us from the images of Altamira to the human generated conflicts of the present. Due to the necessity of narrating a story with words and images but without showing any specific cases, the potential of the story builds up: sociopolitical places and contexts (which remind us of the last thirty years in Spain), ideologised characters, tyrannical mass communication media that pass judgement without any trace of humanity, but with a liberating element, chaotic nature. The “arch of defeat” of the corpses of history evolves and manages to produce an ideal “arch of life”, where words, like stones, construct time.

Rekalde works in this piece with the notion of an intimate art, with fixed shots, with the play of the hands, the light and the smoke, reminding us of night time stories. This is a simple representation, charged with a dream like quality, whose rhetoric suggests some impressions about the act of narration itself. We are offered a discourse of certainties within a transparent argumentation about the disenchantment of the image, words, ideologies and its struggles. Where the nonexistent virtues of a utopic story subtly appear within a series of expressions and evocative images of our own culture. Concepts, words and stories blend in to make up a fabric of ambiguous suggestions. The one thousand words that an image evokes become the unavoidable denounciation against the oblivion of historical (with capitals) memory. Notions, opened up from a neutral context, that turn into formal expressions on which the viewer will have to deposit his own experiences and take a close look at his own implications in it all.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Contando con los Dedos de una Mano
  • Direction: Josu Rekalde
  • Production: Josu Rekalde. 1996.
  • Duration: 00:08:30
  • Languages: Spanish
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: PAL
  • License: Copyright