if (2010)human hair, string, kraft paper, charcoal, burlap
"the complicated sense memory of someone else's hair"
— Don DeLillo, The Body Artist
That the hair belonged to someone else explained to me my compulsion to collect it. In a time of frequent separation from people close to me, I tried to keep them physically near by requesting a lock of hair. I created connections with near strangers by having them share (literally) an intimate piece of themselves with me—an act demonstrating assuredness that I’d soon be separated from them too.
I was shaking when I opened the bags of hair clippings which had sat dormant for years; I found they still held the smell of each person. Something beyond my own disgust at the coarse chopped texture (even of my own hair) made manipulating the loose material difficult; it felt like violation. A few times I even felt like I should ask the person if it was okay if I put that dead part of them on display.
I was surprised how tenderly I handled the hair as material, how I gasped when I dropped a piece of it, as if it were a fleshy part of a person falling to the ground, or as if my own hair were coming out in my fingers.
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