You’re kind of like a hairy stranger I know
So we paid for our entry to Tiana Hemlock-Yensen’s performance of “You’re kind of like a hairy stranger I know’ with a hair from our heads. Without flowing locks that was a pretty small contribution from me, but it seemed to be acknowledged with care, and collected with everyone else’s, for her to then eat on stage. And from there the reaction was huge. A cross between a roar and gag initiated a sequence of actions which sent the performer under the vast sheet of plastic to get seemingly lost and engulfed, transforming in our eyes from a person to an arctic landscape, to mountains to rolling waves on a white sea.
As she emerges, rolling the sheet vigorously into a mammoth version of the collected hair from the start, we realise there has been no transformation here – this performer has simply been ‘doing’ – it’s in our heads that we’ve whizzed round the landscape of the world. And when the sheet has become a huge ball, and onto it – not swallowed at all – the performer has regurgitated the tiny ball of hair, the starting point (our contribution!) is returned to us with infinite care and respect, processed by her digestion system but essentially nothing more than what we started with.
There’s been magic here. Scale and composition and process, and the body of a performer and the bodies of the audience, have come together to make something and nothing, both huge and almost invisible.