Lisa Meixner - Chiron - of twofold nature - Chiron

Chiron is a film about the human hand, about the relation between gesture and speech and was shot in Chengdu, China and Frankfurt, Germany. Combining French anthropologist Andre Leroi-Gourhain’s theorie of evolution with the myth of the centaur Chiron the film narrates the hybrid existence of human beings in contemporary urban environments, their unseparable bond with touchscreens, ear phones and vehicles.

„My intention was to make a film about the human hand and the relationship between gesture and speech, about this highly complex tool which enabled a technical evolution as well as the development of language and writing. But very soon the central subject of my research became more and more the most famous pedagogue of Greek mythology, a centaur named Chiron (hand or skilled with the hands). Chiron educated many of the greek heroes and was, due to his twofold hybrid nature, a great healer, astrologer and mediator between humans and gods. His naming derived from the fact that a Begriff, or notion, is something that arises only from materials and issues that have been grasped by our hands and by extension, our minds. Yet I was wondering why exactly a half-horse man was so wise and skilled with the hands?
The figure of Chiron unifies two different types of grasping, the rational and

intuitional. Chiron is wise, not only because of his human brain and his skilled hands, but because he is a hybrid and can therefore combine human intelligence with the emotional, instinctive intelligence of his animal abdomen. He is skilled with the human hand, but consisting of two bodies, has the ability to empathise more easily with other creatures.

A contrabassist needs the whole body to play his instrument and when really mastering it he actually melds into a contrabass hybrid. Similarly we constantly unify with other bodies and machines when we drive cars, ride bicycles or sit for many hours at our desks in front of the computer.

The modern subject is “transformed with its surface and profoundity into centaurs that have a human front side and an automobile abdomen“ according to Peter Sloterdijk in his essay “The society of centaurs“. But today, almost twenty years later, there are further technical body extensions. We have become even more hybrid, not only grown together with vehicles, but also inseparatable from touch screens and earphones.

In the end it didn’t seem convincing to consider just the hand and brain as the motor of the technical evolution. Where was the rest of the body to which they belong? I forgot this lower part of the story and its clear I cannot just focus on one highly complex tool, but Chiron, a half-horse man has become the indispensable protagonist of my film and his legend, the guiding theme for a reflection on the human hand.“

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