HAIR AS COMMODITY
This research stems from an initial inquiry into oil booms used in the remediation of the 2008 Cosco Busan oil spill off the coast of San Francisco, California. This application of hair as a viable material, and demonstration of the latent material qualities of hair, prompted a deeper investigation into the potential uses of hair as a potential material in design and construction projects. Widely considered a waste product in the Global North, hair can be considered a precious resource and source of income in many countries that constitute the Global South. The intent of this research is to contextualize hair as a commodity with the complex social, cultural, economic and geographic relationships that emerge alongside its material flows.
Through the potential application of hair as a landscape material, hair must be traced as its own material. It has its own histories, cultures, familiarities, and strangeness. Cultures and peoples perceive hair as a wide range of material possibilities that extend past its material properties: a source of disease, a source of income, a sign of religious deference, a symbol of gender, a symbol of sexuality, and the nuances that each of the categories include. By advocating for hair as a landscape material, these nuances must be unpacked, as materials must be understood before they are applied.