In experiencing a phantom limb, a person is haunted by what once was: a limb, now amputated, continues to aggravate the mind, like an uncatchable itch. The phenomenon is considered a neurological condition—a hallucination rather than a action—a set of disconnected feelings that no longer correspond to a material reality. The phantom limb, then, is a bodily denial, a disruption of a unified self.
It is between presence and absence that the phantom limb sets the stage as a metaphor for fractured ideologies and bodies. In an increasingly technologically mediated world, we are presented with a multiplicity of reflections and affects, each claiming to make us whole. yet they remain phantoms, images that can be felt but never embraced.
Combining selected narrative associations from philosophy, literature, psychoanalysis, and pop culture, and set to the musical commissions of Paul Wittgenstein (a one-handed pianist) For the Left Hand Alone
(2017) frames phantom pain as a metaphor for the sutured self, economic uncertainty, the dismantling of the political left, and as an unrequited longing in an increasingly precarious world.For the Left Hand Alone
makes its worldwide debut at Trinity Square Video as part of the Images Festival. Thanks to the Canada Council for the Arts for their support in the production of this work.