e, haircut
a haircut by 9 hairdressers at once (second attempt)

year: 2010
material: HD video
time: 28 min
credits: Commissioned by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco
director of Photography: Daniel Gorrell
lighting and Camera Operator: Andrew Eckmann
sound: Anthony Ranville
gaffer: Daron Melkonian
assistant: Alfredo Solis
production Photography: Tomo Saito
sound sweetening: Taku Unami
coordination: Julio Morales and Kim Silva
production: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
curator: Julio Cesar Morales
location: Zindagi Salon, San Francisco

artist’s notes:

We live within society. Which makes it rather difficult to live without associating with others. Among those associations are collaborations on various scales, from discussing with friends what to eat for dinner, to working on clean energy development as part of a government project team. In any case, we stumble along, talking things over with others, sometimes agreeing with each other, sometimes not. It struck me that there might be a way to organize and document such collaborations as situations of a slightly intense nature: because, I reasoned, such collaborative efforts would reflect the society in which we live, and because it would reveal our beauty as humans, as well as our uglier side.

The first thing I did was to have several hairdressers cut the hair of a single model. The second was to have five piano students play a single piano. The third was to have five poets write a single poem. The fourth was to have multiple potters form a single piece of pottery.

In this series of projects, I took particular care wherever possible to assemble individuals with different backgrounds. Reflecting the characteristics of its location – San Francisco – "Haircut" involved people of various nationalities, and numbers of years at the job; for "Piano" the backgrounds consisted of multiple musical genres participants were studying at university: jazz, improv, classical; for "Poet" I assembled poets of various orientations and styles within the genre of contemporary poetry, and for "Pottery" the ceramicists approached their work from varying standpoints: that of a potter pursuing their art while tucked away in the countryside, the owner of a pottery workshop, someone who makes documentary films on ceramics, someone who took up pottery in their later years, and so on.

We tend to stress "results," and that includes in art. In the sporting world, exemplified by the Olympics, winning a gold medal is imperative. But that person's life goes on, whether they win a gold medal or not. Haruki Murakami wrote somewhere that unlike watching the Olympics on television, watching them in the flesh is mind-numbingly boring. Why? Because the contest lasts just for an instant, and there is the preparation time before and after, and then before and after the Olympics, there is the time the athlete spends living their life. The real world of the athlete, not shown on TV, is presented there for all to see. The "result" comes in a moment. But crammed into the process prior to and following are a great mass of complex things.

Documenting the process of collaboration is also a rebellion of sorts against reserving our admiration solely for results. Even if a haircut turns out wrong, hair grows, then you can go get it cut again. If a performance does not go well, play the piece again. Sometimes one can write a good poem, sometimes one cannot. Even in ceramics, in the end, until a piece goes into the kiln for firing, no one knows how it will turn out. Rather than depending on whether the result is good or bad, I'd like to focus on the act and the process of “making” something, and having done so, start by taking an affirming view of the act of making per se.







participants (2010/8/1):

Victor A Camarillo, Kristie Hansen, Nicole Korth, Nikki Mirsaeid, Olga Mybovalova, Sondra Osorio, Anthony Pullen, Brian Vu, Erik Webb, Karen Yee