Right Hand Man

Right Hand Man, 2001

Collaboration by Nicole C. Russell & Kate Henningsen

In a performance starting March 1st and ending March 31st, 2001; Kate Henningsen was assimilated from being left-handed to right-handed. During this assimilation she used her right hand for all daily activities usually carried out by her left hand. In addition, Henningsen completed one assimilation workbook per day. These workbooks created by Nicole C. Russell, were made to be reminiscent of grade school writing and grammar workbooks, with a bright primary colored cover and thick dotted lined paper.  Each workbook contains instructions to practice the alphabet, numbers, and a sentence of the day. These sentences are simple, directive phrases and questions, which address issues of choice, conformity and the intolerance of difference.

On the 31st day of the performance, Henningsen performed in an installation space (created by both artists) resembling an elementary school classroom. The space contained the thirty-one assimilation workbooks, a large chalkboard, wooden school desks and an American flag, among other objects.  For several hours Henningsen practiced select sentences from the assimilation workbooks, on the chalkboard.  Visitors to the gallery were able to sit in the desks, read the workbooks, and observe the chalkboard standards.