Gallery Zero: Anton Hecht

Gallery Zero is a platform for collectives of artists, creators, makers and agitators to develop practice and engage with audiences through the notion of collaboration. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gallery Zero remains closed and our residency programme continues to be on hold. In light of this, we offered shortlisted residency applicants the opportunity to platform their work online. Over the next couple of the months, we’ll be uploading their submissions.


Make and Play sign language duel.

An artistic endeavour for while you may have downtime, that is part of a catalogue of gameful artworks that require actions in order to come into being. This is based on the folk game - rock paper scissors - where there are three components that a player can choose from, with each component defeated by but also overcoming one other component, if the players show the same two components, its a draw, it is normally played as best of three. To make this experience you will have to choose three new components, and an action between them that shows how one overcomes or is defeated by the other one. Here in this new version, that you can play, we have a traditional version of the game, which is elephant, mouse, snake, with elephant stepping on snake, snake eating mouse, and mouse scaring elephant. This is shown through sign language gestures, so snake you push your hand forwards and wiggle your fingers, elephant is is flat hand raised and then pushed forwards and mouse is your index finger rubbed back and forth across your nose. Feel free to add the appropriate sounds. Now you can play this with people in your bubble, the set up is to stand back to back, take two steps away from each other, and then turn and show your sign, (as in a duel) you can play this with people on zoom as well, across your boxes you are in, two at a time.

If you want to play the versions I’ve made with my colleagues and friends, then there are five to choose from. Remember though, there has to be an action, not just beats. Games and their mechanics are about doing/acting, like jump or duck, so you take the element you choose and then put it into action to win. If you decide to make your own, there are many sites to look at to find out how to sign your choices, and it’s interesting to see and learn sign language, or you may know how to sign already or perhaps you can ask someone who knows sign language to play online. I’d be excited to see what rounds you come up with, probably much better than mine

The ones I have made are -

1) Mouse/Snake/Elephant: Mouse scares elephant – Snake eats mouse – Snake squashed by Elephant.

2) Oil/Water/Fire: Oil floats on water – Fire burns Oil – Water puts out Fire.

3) Bird/Dinosaur/Comet: Comet causes extinction of Dinosaurs – Birds evolve and thrive after Comet – Dinosaur chomps Bird.

4) Trapper/Bear/Ninja: Hunter captures bear – Bear belly flops on ninja – Ninja stuns hunter (this is a traditional version).

How to sign: adapted from BSL and ASL websites

Round 1

Elephant - Move your hand from your nose away from you showing an elephant's trunk.

Mouse - Use your index finger to flick back and forth across the tip of your nose.

Snake - Closed hand starts by mouth. Index and middle finger flick out while hand moves forwards (snake tongue).

Round 2

Oil - Rub your index finger up and down the side of your nose.

Water - Three fingers pointed out and this is tapped repeatedly to your lips

Fire - With your fingers on both hands wiggling back and forth. Then cycle your hand up and down your body.

Round 3

Bird - Make a beak shape with your index finger and thumb and by bringing those two fingers together, while making a mini-fist with the rest of your fingers. Then tweet like a bird, by bringing your fingers together and apart.

Dinosaur - Rest your one arm in the air with your elbow bent, creating a flat surface. Take your other arm and rest its elbow on top of the flat of your non-dominant hand, positioned in a diagonal with the hand forming a head by putting fingers together.

Comet - One hand holds the bottom of the other, and you wiggle the fingers outstretched of the held hand and move across your body from left to right.

Round 4

Trapper - Hands flat and and vertical and apart (like holding an invisible box) then bring them down together.

Bear - Cross your arms over your chest and clawing your chest twice. The sign ends with the fingers in the claw shape.

Ninja - Make your hands into two fists and place atop each other in front of you, then pull the top hand back, making it flat, and raise over your head, as if to make a chop, and place the other hand, flat, stretched out in front of you (so a fighting stance)

So try with these variations, or make your own, and let us know what you come up with… Game on….

Some sources to help with the signs

British Sign

Signing Time

When I put this together as an artwork, you may notice a giant wooden hand, this is not necessary for the game to occur, but if you want to make a similar hand out of card, straws string and glue here are the instructions.

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