Francisco Ruiz de Infante
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This video belongs both to the projects “Sabemos contar hasta mil haciendo un agujero” (We know how to count to ten whilst digging a hole) and “Index-glosario-atlas” (index-glossary-atlas). Uñas (taxidermia nº1) is a seemingly simple story about the incapacity to cut one’s own toe nails with a pair of scissors and the left hand. This is a piece that deals with impotence and physical difficulties, a thematic thread that actually covers up the fun that an adult is clearly having playing with himself.

Right from the first, and frustrated, attempt to pick up a pair of scissors lying in the distance with the help of a stick and the left hand, and continuing with the constant palpitation of the light together with the wide angle shot that shapes the black and white image like a sphere, a feeling of anguish and anxiety invades the spectator. A tense music composition in the soundtrack accompanies the successive domestic problems. The disabled character of the right hand, which is holding the camera, forces the actions to be carried out by the opposite hand. Once the scissors have been reached, the cameraman, author and actor, walks through the different parts of a home studio filled with objects, boards, tables... until he finds the perfect site for the act, flickering with colour. Once he is sitting down, he puts his feet up on a wooden table. His feet are like claws, his dirty nails displaying a considerable length. The left foot is approached with determination, and a few nails manage to get cut (a couple of fingers are forgotten in the process). However, the right foot presents bigger difficulties, and our man doesn’t manage to cut one single nail. After putting the scissors down, he looks for the nail fragments and assembles them on the table.

This is a simple piece for the series “index”, which sublimates domestic moments within a haze of calm tension and mystery, where the everyday turns foreign and alienation takes hold of potential disabilities. On the other hand, the sight of the dirty feet and the length of the toe nails refer us back to the myth of the westernised savage. To dispose of the hard skin of one’s claws is like exposing oneself to defenselessness. The correction of westernised abandonment forces us to loose our natural weapons, it forces us to be human in a normalised fashion. Finally, the civilised barbarian examines the pieces left and puts them in order, classifying them as denaturalised objects, exotisms of the past. The first taxidermy.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Uñas
  • Direction: Francisco Ruiz de Infante
  • Production: Association AUTOUR DE LA TERRE. 2004.
  • Duration: 00:04:24
  • Subtitles: French
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: PAL
  • License: Copyright