Anna Macdonald

moving images

Collected ways of doing things

screenshot of the artwork

Collected ways of doing things is a simple interactive database containing recordings of people performing hand movements. This work is about looking for patterns and matches across materials and people. It invites the viewer to think about how much complexity we can hold in our movement, creating time for the eye to attune to difference and connection.

The artwork consists of a star map full of numbers and words. Each number contains a hand dance, donated by a member of the public, which was recorded as part of their participation in a live performance of Ways of doing things, which we began in November 2021. Each time the work is performed the collection grows. Interspersed in the collection, are images of trees that you are invited to place alongside the images of hands. Whilst some of the hand and tree videos are silent, others contain ambient sound or sporadic recordings of people speaking about matching and searching for connections. These voices come from conversations about giving, matching and receiving with scientists and organ donor recipients.

You can find out more about the performance project, Ways of doing things, led by Wellcome Sanger and funded by Wellcome Trust at

How it works

Click on the image on the left to enter the artwork

Click and hold the cursor to rotate the numbers on the screen.

Clicking on the number or text will start the video. You can choose up to three at a time, creating patterns and relationships between the movement. When you have selected three videos, the background image will fade to black.

Hovering on the top right corner of the video will bring up a small white dot, which you can click to close the video.

The larger dot in the corner of the whole screen exits the artwork

Other things to try

You can change the size of your browser window to focus or one set of hands, make them closer together or overlap.

Try three of the same clicked slightly after each other

If you get tired of searching for a particular number or tree type, then using the find button on your browser will highlight the number for you.


This is a first stage of a bigger project. We would like to make the work more interactive so you can group types of hand movement into different parts of the screen, or maybe make them different sizes or play them all at once. We would also like people to be able to things into the collection to match with – materials, sounds and events could all be added, bringing different parts of the world into play.

[Also - it is not currently possible to access the videos on an iPhone but we are working on it!]


Wellcome Sanger web development team made the first iteration of this work in 2021
Naomi – designed version 2 in 2022
Dominic Smith composed Sunday morning dust, which features in many of the videos
Tree images – Flickr CC
Dmott9 – Single tree alone
NCinDC - Skyline tree (facing west on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park)
Bill Dickinson – One (Lone tree – Southern California)


Angela, Muzlifah Haniffa, John Mills, Mary, Young carers, Anna Macdonald, Issac Goh