Ausstellung in der Vorpal Gallery Soho mit 8-tägiger Performance, New York City, März / April 2002
8 Tage lang wuchs Gras in meinem Haar. Bei der Eröffnung meiner Ausstellung SYMBIOTIC in der Vorpal Gallery Soho besähten die Besucher*innen mein Haar mit Grassamen, um das gewachsene Grashaar eine Woche später zu ernten, indem sie es abschnitten und teilweise in kleinen Töpfen mitnahmen. So konnte es noch einige Zeit, verstreut in der City, weiterwachsen. Innerhalb der Performancewoche war ich viel im öffentlichen Raum von NYC unterwegs mit dementsprechend unterschiedlichen Reaktionen auf das Grashaar. Im Folgenden gab es einen Internet-Tagebucheintrag von Elissa Nelson:
Houston Street, New York
March 28, 2002 – 12:40 p.m.
“Houston St: The Girl with the Garden in Her Hair”
by Elissa Nelson
Walking down Houston, I come up behind two girls. They are about my age, mid-twenties, and well-coiffed, carefully put together, in a SoHo sort of way: one girl has dark curly hair, and wears an expensive-looking jacket. The other girl, a blonde, has nice brown boots and a sleek khaki coat. As I walk past them, I notice that the blonde has an extraordinary headpiece on. It isn’t quite a hat; it transcends “hat.” There is a sort of platform extending from the back of her head, above the hairline, but well below the crown of her head. The platform is like the brim of a hat, but bigger: about eight inches wide, and extending back at least six inches. On the platform is a small expanse of growing grass, with a pink carnation placed in the center. The girl’s long blond hair is woven into the whole project, so that the grass is growing out of the dirt on the platform but also out of her hair. I can’t tell how the whole thing is attached to her head; perhaps the platform is supported by a piece underneath it, that goes along her neck and then down underneath the coat.
I am moving at my usual fast NYC pace, so I barely get a glimpse at this masterpiece. As I zip past them, I hear a bit of their conversation. Casual chatter about a possible job for one of them. They both have European accents. There is nothing about them to suggest anything at all out of the ordinary: they do not exchange knowing looks, and they speak in measured tones, no excitement in their voices. After I pass them, I am so curious about the work of art that is her head that I dawdle at the corner of Houston and West Broadway, waiting for the girls to catch up so I can walk behind them a bit longer. I am also curious about the reactions of other passers-by. I hang out for a moment exchanging a nod with the guy handing out flyers for a nearby peep show, and when the girls reach the corner, I walk behind them. I follow for a couple blocks, observing people’s reactions; a few people rubber-neck (“Did you see that? What was that?”), but most do not notice, or at least seem not to notice. The girls are perfect poker-faces, as if everything were ordinary. And they are so ordinary, themselves: that is part of what makes it perfect. The girl with the garden in her hair carries a camera case, the only (other) hint that perhaps she is one of those artist types. I think about stopping them, asking them about it—but it would feel wrong somehow, like standing up at the ballet and screaming out a question to the dancers on the stage. It would interrupt the performance. I am also caught up, as usual, in all the same questions of New York City and public / private space, the unwritten rule: don’t cross the boundaries; don’t disrupt the anonymity of the city.
So I don’t.