BARCELONA – The international banking crisis has hit Spain particularly hard: thousands of businesses have been shuttered, funding for education and health programs has been slashed, and 55 percent of Spaniards under age 25 are unemployed.
In January 2013 artists Octavi Serra, Mateu Targa, Daniel Llugany, and Pau Garcia installed Hands, a series of cast human hands in strategic locations, throughout the streets of Barcelona. The hands highlight the human impact of the financial crisis by appearing to do various activities related to money—begging for coins, holding up unsuspecting ATM users, and beckoning people to hand them a couple euros. The piece has resonated with Barcelona residents. Many people stop to pose with the hands or discuss them with other passersby. The disembodied hands are a pointed reminder of how seemingly small decisions made in boardrooms can affect millions of people’s daily lives.