I plan to use imagery of hair to articulate experiences of racial identity. I have chosen to use hair as a medium because:
- Hair is a universally understood principle: Everyone understands the principle of hair as something organic, natural, etc.
- Hair is changeable: Hair can be changed, and what hair means for people is culturally sensitive, and effected by various social factors.
- Hair is an aesthetic: Hair can viewed as a sign of beauty, transformed and styled, and a tool for expression.
Applying these concepts to be ideas of race:
- As hair is changeable, so too are concepts of racial identity. They are culturally sensitive and always changing from person to person, place to place, era to era.
- Hair can be read to give different meanings and ideas, as does skin colour.
- Hair can represent race, but is the only removable physical marker of race, and can be exchanged, played with and remodelled.
- Hair as fashion, is determined both from society and the individual, as is racial identity. They can work antagonistically.
I am particularly keen on using hair as a visual medium to communicate concepts race, which can at times be an ugly topic, hard to understand, and off-putting. I think hair is linked to concepts of racial identity, but translates it into an aesthetic and a fashion, something with multi-accentuality, at the same time explicitly racial and less obvious and superficial.
The idea of changability linked to racial identity seems quite interesting as a concept for the project. I want to develop an interactive element to my work, and I think enabling the audience to change certain aspects will link ideas surrounding hair and race strongly.