The Haircut reconstructs selected scenes from movies where female characters cut their hair or have their haircut unwillingly. Reasons range from pretending to be a man to compete in a horse race (National Velvet, 1944), embodying a feline aesthetic as a vigilant antiheroine (Catwoman, 2004), aligning with male military standards (GI Jane, 1997), to retaliation by classmates for being involved in a severe cyber-bullying case (We Not Naughty, 2012).

This single-channel video installation centers the gesture of the haircut to consider its repetition within the traumatic realism of popular culture. Psychological trauma, its representation in visual culture and language, and the role of memory in shaping individual and cultural identities are the central concerns that define traumatic realism. Throughout the video, with close to 600 scenes from films from 1911 to today, edited diegetically, the recurrence of the haircut shows that, when enacted on a woman's body and psyche, it can range from a form of healing to an act and location of trauma.

Video, 18 hours, 2019-2021.

This project has been partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council.

Link to exhibition press release and installation images at AIR Gallery.