Trying the Hand of God

Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles
2009 April 2, 7:00 pm
About

Trying the Hand of God Knifeandfork explores the media-perpetuated nature of the chance moment in Trying the Hand of God, hosting a carefully choreographed continuous reenactment of the infamous illegal, but not penalized, "Hand of God" soccer goal from the 1986 FIFA World Cup. The performance is staged on a recreation of Mexico City's Azteca Stadium, constructed within the confines of the MOCA Sculpture Plaza. A limited number of audience members have the opportunity to play the role of Diego Maradona, the Argentine soccer legend who scored the controversial goal against England during the quarterfinals, eventually leading his team to win the match and the tournament.

Through live performance, Knifeandfork introduces the potential for variations on a familiar, media-repeated image. The issue of variation is particularly interesting in this case, as the controversy over the "Hand of God" goal raised complex questions of chance, skill, and fate. In their choreographed reenactments, Knifeandfork attempts to control for all possible variables, yet the possibility of a "perfect" performance inevitably remains elusive. Rather, the repetitions serve as a form of kinetic documentation, both of what was and what might have been, and they grant the audience agency over the representation of this iconic event which has been otherwise ossified by media reproduction.

Trying the Hand of God is one of three works that Knifeandfork made while Artist in Residence at MOCA, Los Angeles. The project is documented in its entirety at the residency blog Trying the Hand of God Archive, and all reenactments can be viewed here.

Credits

Concept, engineering, fabrication, and production
Brian House
Sue Huang
Performance and video direction
Mike Cahill
Consulting
Josh Anderson
Live announcing
Enrique Gutierrez of
KMEX/Univision 34
Performance
Josh Anderson
Scott Davis
Kenny Garay
Oscar Garay
Elmer Garcia
Brian Shim
Lighting design
Jules Medina
DJ set
Blogging
Production assistance
Bobby Campo
Meghan Grebling
Matt Miller
Alanna Yu
Video documentation and editing
Alex MacInnis
Photo documentation
Patrick Miller
Thanks to
Aandrea Stang
Meghan Grebling
MOCA Think Tank and staff
Megan Metcalf
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Watch all 62 audience reenactments
Press

Knifeandfork
chapter in Engagement Party: Social Practice at MOCA by Zachary Kaplan
2013 January

I Was Diego Maradona
2009 April