Sally OReilly.jpg

Film still: Sally O'Reilly

Sally O’Reilly: Hands Up A Manual


Undertaking an investigation into the little known Manicular Therapy, Sally O’Reilly used a mix of found footage, much of it from American public service films, to create a short film. Manicular Therapy, was developed in the 16th century, and is still deployed today to combat antisocial behaviour and as means by which we can examine our relationship to knowledge, meaning and misunderstanding. It is not a process of enlightenment, but requires an honest, facing up to acceptance of the fact that we are continuously bewildered; the therapy radically encourages us to embrace this state as productive, rather than detrimental.

This short film demonstrated how, over time, the analysis of criminality involving the hands, as well as the therapy’s obscure correctives, offers profound insight into such enduring socio-political phenomena as manners, manufacturing, mandates, object-subject relation, and itching.

The film wavered between acceptable observation and ridiculous invention, intended to keep the audience alert, and challenge people to identify the boundaries between fact and fiction. Not only was this line impossible to identify, it was continuously shifting as disciplines, opinions, ideologies, and misinterpretations shunted what might be considered ‘knowledge’. The relationship between what the audience were told in the film and what they were looking at was inconstant. At times the footage was affirming, even illustrative; at others it was contradictory, tangential or irrelevant. The documentary format conventionally suggested authority, truth or authentic experience; but never duped the audience into thinking it was ‘real’.

Sally O'Reilly produces publications, videos and performances that find curious links between apparently divergent phenomena. Sally’s texts, events and performances intended to impart information, ignite curiosity and transcend genres, playing on her interests in metafiction, interdisciplinary collaboration and the history of ideas. 

Serena Korda

Serena Korda

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Olivia Plender & Patrick Staff

Olivia Plender & Patrick Staff

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Tris Vonna-Michell

Tris Vonna-Michell

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