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Railroads & Finger Gloves

On the left is an image of Chinese immigrant laborers building the transcontinental railroad through Wyoming using hand shovels. On the right is photograph by German artist Rebecca Horn from her 1972 performance Finger Gloves, where she attempted to perform simple tasks wearing finger extensions that she constructed out of wood and fabric.

Horn’s work is a strange reminder of how ill-suited humans are to touch the ground. Placed alongside this work of art, the picture of the railway workers serves as a reminder that the railway train, which facilitated human interconnection across a continent, required the continuous effort of humans touching the ground.


Credits: Western Wyoming Community College, Wyoming History; Rebecca Horn, Handschuhfinger, 1972 (Finger Gloves), Silver gelatin print, 54 x 44.4 cm. Holzwarth Publications.

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