Social Practice > Crisis Resources

A commission for SPACES Cleveland's SPACEstation program, June 12 - July 12, 2020 (

In today’s atomized society, riven by white supremacy and with a seemingly endless appetite for reliance on notions of rugged individualism that have taken us beyond mere agonism, the American body politic has reached a point of critical disenfranchisement and disassembly. Due to race, class and other types of social division, many suffer invisibly. Due to the stigma attached to suffering many forms of crisis, most language options in-particular have largely failed those in crisis and, in fact, a variety of ongoing daily traumas continue without much seeming possibility of resolution, including addiction, police violence, mental illness, eviction, hunger poverty, etc., and rising incidences of domestic violence.

Crisis Resources / #Crisisresources, rooted in hand choreography from mudras in classical Indian dance, the hand dances of D.C. swing and etc., is also partly inspired by the Women’s Funding Network’s “Signal for Help,” or “#SignalForHelp” campaign, which proposed a hand signal for those experiencing domestic abuse -- “facing your palm to the camera or person, tucking your thumb into your palm and folding your four fingers over the top of your thumb.” Designed as an alternate to 911 that “sends a signal to anyone — the police, a family member, a friend — to ‘please reach out to me safely,’ so that the victim can respond via text or email or in a call away from the abuser and provide information to get help.”

Crisis Resources / #Crisisresources both serves to reshare and propagate #Signalforhelp in hopes of helping to spread awareness of it, and additionally takes this notion of non-verbal language alternatives as a means to provide additional hand-signaling choreographic resources for those experiencing a variety of other types of crisis. These may be used in real life, posted online, or on social media and elsewhere to signal for help, and ideally serve to reveal a representative sampling of those experiencing these crises as a call for change. Using written choreography, participation and the coded, non-verbal languages we employ everyday without realizing it, I hope these tools help to find help for those in crisis, raise awareness on the scope of these maladies, decrease the epidemic of “deaths of despair,” and point the way toward recovery and the reassembly of a new, more pluralistic body politic.

Crisis Resources is also a living, amendable resource project. Additional hand signals may be incorporated into the list, which will be continually updated as needed.


To receive the most recent, updated version of the hand signal list, please send an email to, and an autoresponder will reply with the most current list of hand signals.

To signal a crisis need, please make sure your hand is facing palm out toward your camera or the individual(s) you are attempting to signal. These hand signals may be used at any time, in any situation, to seek assistance from individuals or members of the public. For any instance in which a hand signal video or photograph is posted on social media, please include the hashtag #crisisresources to ensure your signal for help is included in the searchable list, and more available to response by others.

Crisis Resources