Alexander Hetherington

Ripples on the Pond, Allison Gibbs

How to wash your hands in molten metal (2014)
, Allison Gibbs

16mm film. Colour, silent, looped. Transferred to HD

Running time 7 minutes 15 seconds

18 February – 10 March 2016

As part of the moving image programme for Ripples on the Pond, GoMA is delighted to present How to wash your hands in molten metal (2014) by Allison Gibbs, made whilst on residency at Hospitalfield Arts, Arbroath and for the exhibition Let The Body Be Electric, Let There Be Whistleblowers at Dan Gunn, Berlin (2014).


Shown for the first time in digital format, this 16 mm film is based on her research in to the Italian monk and mathematician, Luca Pacioli (1145 -1517), sometimes known as the father of accounting following the publication of his work Summa de arithmetica, geometria, proportioni et proportionalita (Summary of arithmetic, geometry, proportions and proportionality)in 1494. In How to wash your hands in molten metal, Gibbs translates the financial information of her own bank accounts into hand gestures registered in Pacioli’s publication, those gestures also functioning as a visual allusion to the abacus.


Gibbs also references a more recently rediscovered publication of Pacioli’s, De viribus quantitatis (On the Powers of Numbers). This publication explores the connectedness of magic and mathematics and regarded as one of the oldest written texts on magic. How to wash your hands in molten metal refers to the title of one of Pacioli’s magic tricks in the section on puzzles and tricks.


This screening is courtesy of the artist and Modern Edinburgh Film School.


The artist would like to thank Simon Mills & Angus Accountancy Arbroath, Heidi Ballet, Lucy Byatt and Alex Hetherington.

Alexander Hetherington