30 Moons Many Hands explores our perception of the historical archive as it acquires new dimensions through digital tools of access and presentation. The important material work required to maintain the archive is highlighted here, albeit only once it has been captured, processed, translated, and presented with digital tools.
This installation transforms a large facade in the Accolade East courtyard at York University into a porthole into The Archives of Ontario. A large-scale projection will make it appear as if hands are reaching into the building, bringing forward various images from the Archives for inspection. The images that appear will begin to tell a story, that of Douglas Carr, a native of Ingersoll, Ontario who traversed Europe and Africa by bicycle in the late 1930s, a journey that lasted, in his words, for "thirty moons." The various hands that bring these images to life will be depicted in the montage-the gloved hands of staff that treat and preserve images, the hands of Archives users, and the computerized mouse pointer hand that navigates the growing online descriptive and visual database, to name a few.
30 Moons Many Hands ran as a 15-minute loop accompanied by a mobile enhanced website (thirtymoons.ca), audio accompaniment, a twitter feed (@Carr_Diaries), and a companion book presented as part of the official program of artistic works for the HASTAC 2013 Digital Humanities conference, April 25-28 at York University in Toronto.