Hair Classification Project, 2006 – 2007

Sculpture, Glass Jars with Hair on Shelf, Dimensions Variable

This sculptural installation features four jars of hair that represent the external features often associated with intrinsic identity. In other words, a way to think about how we interpret peoples’ identities by their outward appearances.  Franz Boas wrote, a person’s “’type’ is formed quite subjectively on the basis of our everyday experience” (1932[2004]:22).  How distinct, then,  are the “types” we associate with race, nationality, sex, gender, and other markers if they are based in experience? What criteria do we use to classify ourselves and others?  What happens when “types” converge? How have our conceptions of race and identity shifted? Have they shifted at all?