Hair Tsunami

Performance
2016
casted chalk, casted resin, black board, contact mics, audio transducers, hair extension
Duration: 45’00”

Photo from 1930‘s – a man cuts a civilian’s hair by force on the street during Japanese colonial period. It shows how the ordinance prohibiting topknots was carried out. In pre-modern Korea, hair was considered as the spiritual connection to his/her ancestors. Cutting hair was a punishment, unless one chose to become a monk.

The performance is a non-verbal lecture dance about the history of hair-cutting (the ordinace prohibiting topknots in Korean) through colonialization and modernization. This history influenced our relationship to wearing a long hair in modern society. Hair used to be considered as spiritual symbol and a connection to the ancestors. Both men and women wore long hair, and cutting of the hair symbolized decapitation of pride. Colonialism attacked symbolic values of people to destroy belief systems of the colonized countries and tribes. The time frame of the performance is the normal school lecture duration in elementary to high school in Asian countries.

Ironically in my adolescence, having a long hair was prohibited in schools. Educators argued that long hair obstructs students from concentrating on their studies and that the girls will spend more time in front of mirrors if they would have long hair. Why does a system restrict the way of carrying one’s own body? I question how the colonialism might have affected the ways people relate to their own bodies now.

The performer(s) will have extended braid that is attached to a casted chalk head. The braid is just long enough for the chalk head to touch the ground when the performers’ knees and neck are bent slightly. Performer(s) will try to write the word ‘landmine’ in their own mother tongue language by dragging the chalk head.