The Global Hair Project started with my interest in the notion of hair. Hair as a private and as part of identity in an external manner (appearance), as well as in an internal manner, as a data source of DNA. Next to hair as biological matter and hair in art, I have been researching hair in other realms:
By loosing hair in public spaces one is unconsciously spreading his or her territory.
Hair can be seen as a diary of time; as a timeline of that specific moment in one’s life. When you cut your hair, time stops, because the growth is intermitted.
Hair can become disgusting when it is not fixed on the head anymore, for example in your food or shower drain. In this case it is even worse when this loose hair belongs to someone else whom you don’t know.
For over a year I have been collecting the hairs that I lost naturally. On every different location I have been I created a new ball of hair. They all have different sizes. The hairball of the city I live in, has the biggest size.
First I created a world map of the locations where I made some of my hairballs. The first one is a flat map of the world, the second one is a globe. After this I thought about a universe with the hairballs connected to the floor and after that with the hairballs connected to the ceiling.
After this I planned to open up this project for people to join in. This would create hairballs with have either which have or with different colours and structures and would add variation to the installation. I developed a desk with tools and a manual where people can bring their hair and learn how to make a ball out of this it. Their hairballs were to be integrated directly into the hair installation. This would create a Global Hair Project and could stay an infinite work in progress. But I chose to take an other path.
The most striking field of the hair research for me was the one that of hair as a source of DNA. I have been always busy with creating a timeline of my family, because as a child I thought I had close ancestors from the South of Europe or West Asia. My parents and family on the other hand always told me I was very Dutch. After more research I found out that there were actually two (known) bastard children in the family, from both my mother’s and my father’s side. This made me wondering about my origin even more. I sent my hair to a laboratory for a DNA test. This DNA test gave me an overview of a world map where I would see which people who live today, in different parts of the world have the most in common with my DNA.
The DNA results that got delivered to me were less exciting as I expected. Indeed I was a mix of Northern European, Mediterranean and Southwest Asian. The graphic showed me the percentage of each of them, together with the percentage of Neanderthal and a map that goes all the way back to show how my ancestors travelled from the moment the first humans went out of East Africa. This graphic and results inspired me to create a new base for my development in my work.
This project is ongoing. The final work will be shown in the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven in the end of September 2014, in the form of an intervention and an installation. For more information: www.GlobalHairProject.blogspot.com