Emma Wilson

Velvet Runner 

Prior to quarantine friends were greeted with smiles and hugs, acquaintances were welcomed with handshakes, and intimacy was often communicated through physical connection. Our familiarity with physical contact caused us to take these acts for granted. Governments and doctors called for social distancing, a term that seems to not quite suit the act but brings up an important characteristic of the human species. We are not socially distancing. We are physically distancing. Perhaps the word choice reveals just how closely we associate physical interaction with social interaction. 


Through a surreal series of humanoid, clay sculptures my work delves into the intersection between the complexities of human behavior, posthumanism, and the philosophical concept of absurdism by depicting a new human species made out of unnaturally large fingers and fleshy masses. In my work, fingers represent a universal human desire for communication, physical contact, and understanding. Physical and social connection is deeply rooted in the survival of the human race. Given the current pandemic and those to come, we may need to explore the potential for meaningful social contact in a physically distanced world. Thus, the importance of fingers as a metaphor in my work especially now.


They relate to one of our strongest senses: touch. A sense that by no means is exclusively human but remains a defining factor in our humanity as it speaks to both physicality and the social nature of human beings. Fingers become a vessel to create visually ridiculous characters out of something that is ubiquitous to humans and I use that absurdity to explore the more abstract qualities of humanity, such as the extreme absurdity of our existence.