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Hands of Time

By Scott McCarney
Rochester, New York: Visual Books, 2008. Edition of 10.


Box: 6.5 x 8.5 x 1.75" hinged with paper title on lid. Book: 5.5 x 4.5"; 28
pages; accordion structure; handbound inkjet prints. Other objects: latex glove; flower seeds; plastic animal. Book and objects housed in the wooden box with metal clasp closure.


Scott McCarney: "Hands of Time documents a version of a piece that has been installed/performed privately in my garden in Rochester NY for the past eight years. It started as a tribute to my father, who died at his home in Virginia from lung cancer in 2001. When told he had three weeks to six months to live, he chose to move from hospital to hospice care at home. That was Friday. We had a nice weekend together before he passed away the following Tuesday, much to the surprise of his doctor. Being with him those last few days, I understood his will to die was as strong as his will to live had been.


"In the course of cleaning up the medical supplies, the hospice nurse gave me a box of latex surgical gloves that I had opened but not used. She knew I was an artist, and I believe she wanted to see them in my art.


"My father enjoyed my garden very much when he visited, spending time sitting and contemplating, moving a lawn chair around to enjoy different views. He would give me leather gardening gloves every year - the nice, soft kid-skin variety that are like a second skin.


"I started filing the latex gloves with sand in the summer of 2001, tying the opening in a knot, the way one does after inflating a balloon. I placed them in areas throughout the garden. Over the course of a season, the gloves burst due to the abrasive sand combined with effects of the sun and rain, returning the sand to the earth.


"The opportunity to perform this tribute in a public space was offered by Le Petit Versailles, a Green Thumb garden created in 1996 by community neighbors ... I spent a lovely spring morning in the garden filling gloves with dirt gathered on site, a mix of seeds I saved from plants in my Rochester garden, plus a bonus plastic barnyard animal. When the latex disintegrated, a part of my garden would become part of le Petit Versailles."


The pamphlet in the ensemble of items describes the space and process of the project. It includes a vertical panorama of Le Petit Versailles garden situated between two buildings in New York City.

Hands of Time

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