Gathering Hair

Erin Curry- hair

My own hair has been a growing collection for almost two years now. When I cut it myself, I keep it perfunctorily, but what truly captures me is the collection of strands: from my brush, from washing it, from my hair ties, sometimes when I sweep the floor I gather the strands and remove the dust fritz and my friend's hair, I have to be feeling a bit obsessive for that process though. Even so the pile grows achingly slow. My brother-in-law has playfully called my loose strands Err-hairs ever since he was a kid, being a 10 year old in a house of crew-cut boys, it may have seemed my very body was taking over his space. My younger brother shivers a little bit as the pile grows, a result of watching Eraserhead I believe, but for me it is fascination, hair plays an important role as an undercurrent of civilization: myth, stories, history and science. Hair is dna, power (Samson), youth, a reminder of death, grows beyond death, and releases itself from the body strand by strand breadcrumbs to where you have existed. I think about the movie Gattaca where Vincent, the main character struggles against his own body's dna, evidence which marks him as an In-Valid in his culture, Rapunzel's freedom and desirability, some Orthodox Jewish wives wear wigs of other women's hair to hide their own hair and thus their sexuality.

I have always wished I was born with true red hair with my freckles, but for whatever reason I am too attached to my own color to dye it. The above photo is tricky and makes it more red than it is, the photo below is closer to reality.


redredday said...

hey Erin! i was thinking to do my next post on hair too! it's interesting how we are drawn to similar things and ideas, but in somewhat different ways, making it our own still.
you are right, your hair is very different from what i've collected. i love how fine and honey-golden yours is. mine freaked me out a couple of times when i forget and approach the table i have it at. interesting how we both kind of rolled the hair into a ball. i happily discovered how easily you can shape it and 'draw' with it. recently i collected more hair from a friend i just gave a haircut to.

anyways, i love how you connected hair beyond the self, taking it through myths and stories and science and history. i was only thinking as far as it being indicative of life and death, and how it could take forever for it to decay. but now you got me thinking more.

okay, i also have more to say in response to your previous posts. you are going too fast for me. and what a brainiac you are. ;).

redredday said...

p.s. so if you knew your brother-in-law when he was 10, does that mean you and Tommy were each other's childhood love since the beginning?? wow. that would be like life out of a storybook almost.

Erin said...

It's funny, this post was written back in September, and when I read your post I remembered it and dredged it out to look it over again. Not sure why I held it back.
I was pretty intrigued in how your interpretation was so very different from mine as well. They both have strong elements of ritual though, yours in presenting a kind of offering and the clay dishes activating the animal qualities playing skin and container, one with an uncanny mouthful of hair. The fact that your own hair can startle you is completely amusing, mine just makes me think of some soft little sleeping animal, growing as it hibernates.

I'm collecting from other sources too and have managed to convince a friend of mine to collect her hair for me, she's not wholly comfortable with this arrangement, fearing someone finding her little stash taken from her brush and think her strange. Which reminds me how in some cultures people are careful to bury their own hair to keep it from being used in some wicked way. And then others (those crazy Victorians) make momento mori keepsakes (drawings even) with the hair of their loved ones.
I love the way hair reacts as well, and leave little drawings with my strands on the bathtub wall.

p.s. Tommy and K are 6ish years apart. We met when I was 16 and he was 17. So we were high school sweethearts- at first we played chess everyday at lunch in the library over rectangular pizza and swiss rolls until our friends began joining us and we laughed too much to play seriously. Nerds.

Colin said...

This is the stuff of nightmares.


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