Hair / Insanity / Urbanism

Research Project at ZK/U Berlin, Center for Art and Urbanistics

From August 2012 to the end of February 2013 I was working on a research-project at ZK/U, Center for Art and Urbanistics in Berlin, within a residency program. For this project I had a closer look at the interpretation of „hair“ as part of our body, and tried to draw savage connections to  psychology, superstitious believes and the urban environment. The city, as a accumulation of people, gives ground for an investigation in obscure symbolic meanings and obsessions towards hair in our western society, starting in the early 20centruy, when cities became metropolises.

hair-collection4The core of my research was the story of the hair despoiler of Berlin, who started cutting women’s braids in the early 20th century.

Hair is sexually the most generally noted part of the (…) body after the eyes and the peculiar facility with which when plaited it may be removed, render hair – fetishism a sexual perversion of specially great medico – legal interests. The hair despoiler, Coupier de Nattes or Zopfabschneider may be found in any civilized country. Though the most carefully studied cases have actually occurred in cities like Paris and Berlin. (Havelock Ellis, „Studies in the Psychology of Sex“, Volume 5)

ZK/U

Artist in Residence at ZK/U, Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanstik, Berlin

7 Months

The city isn’t only the stage for those crimes, it’s accumulation of people are places of temptation and the condition for this crime to succeed.“ – Sophia Könemann und Benjamin A. Marcus

Account of a „hair despoiler“ in Paris. Form „Psychopathia sexualis“, published 1894 by Ferdinand Enke in Stuttgart.

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PROJECT OUTCOME

This research was shown in form of an video installation which played with quotes from popular movies, mostly hollywood and text extracts of my research. Both parts explore the very act of cutting, as an act of power and obression, mostly performed on women hair in movies as well as in history.

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