At the installation is a host who welcomes people, briefly explains what the intention is, and cleans the installation between sessions. People can then read short instructions and get started. First, one person washes the hands of another and the person whose hands are being washed closes their eyes. After having their hands dried, the person opens their eyes again and the roles are reversed. “It is a very intimate moment of contact and that reciprocity is very beautiful – that you can give back what you have received.”
With the installation, they enable valuable encounters for people who either know each other or who are meeting for the first time. Daan and his colleagues get a lot of positive reactions from people who have performed the ritual. For example, one couple said that the ritual had helped them with their relationship problems. “Touching each other in this way made a big change in their relationship,” says Daan.
Strangers who meet during the ritual often leave together. “They go for a walk afterwards or have a cup of coffee. And I suspect that there has even been a relationship born out of the ritual. It was between a boy and girl who met a little awkwardly at the installation in a mental healthcare institution. The two of them then returned to wash each other’s hands one more time. And there are also people who return for a second time with someone else.”