ABOUT THE HAIR COLLECTION
Two impulses have led to the project ‘The Hair Collection’. The first was that I started thinking about small, apparently insignificant things in my performance practice, things like dead birds, dust and refuse. The second was that I had done performances that involved giving the public something – a small porcelain elephant or pieces of coloured paper. I thought a lot about the act of giving as a quality. I then got the idea of asking for something. This soon led to the idea of asking for a strand of hair. To ask for one strand of hair is to ask for something insignificant, but simultaneously to ask for a lot. I needed to think through the idea thoroughly before realizing the project. Asking people to give a hair from their head and then gathering the strands of hair together is a process that triggers many associations and emotions, both for the people who are asked and the person who asks. But to ask people to freely give a strand of hair for the purpose of letting the strands meet one another has to do with some things being together because someone chooses that they be together.
While one strand of hair is insignificant, it also contains an amazing amount of information. While it is beautiful and fragile, it is also fit for the dustbin. There is something poetic about gathering together strands of hair from many people, but also something disturbing. One hair in the wrong place is disgusting. Hair in the right place is very beautiful.
THE HAIR COLLECTION
‘The Hair Collection’ is first and foremost a collection of hair that will grow larger over time. In addition to giving a strand of hair, the givers offer information about themselves: Name; Birth date/year the hair began growing; Country of birth/where the hair began to grow; Date the hair was removed from their head and the country they were in when this happened. Each case is a short story about the journey of a strand of hair before it was given away. It is also a way of saying ‘I exist’. The strand of hair and the information about the giver become separated the moment the strand mixes with all the other strands in ‘The Hair Collection’.
Giving involves trust. When someone gives, someone else receives. Someone gives something and simultaneously gives trust to the receiver. The receiver receives something plus trust. When one receives something, one must also receive trust. So when someone gives something to someone else, both receive trust. When I invite others to be ambassadors for ‘The Hair Collection’, I give these ambassadors trust and I receive trust. The ambassadors receive trust and I give trust. So by creating a situation where something is given, a small (abstract) room is created and filled with trust.
It is important that those who contribute to ‘The Hair Collection’ truly want to give. This is because the project balances on a knife edge between the beautiful and the disgusting. You must feel good about participating. If you choose to participate, it is important that you yourself choose how much information you will give. If you participate, you must do so in a way that feels comfortable for you. If you choose not to participate, it is not a matter of mistrust; it is a matter of making the right choice.