Design a way to intensify how we experience human hair
Mengdie Lu, Yuying (Abbey) Wang, Zuzana Galova and Xiyuan (Cyrus) Han
Directed Storytelling, Bodystorming
27.10 – 10.11.2022
We started off the project discussing hair in our cultures – Asian (Chinese) and Western culture (and Eastern European). In that, we explored some of the differences between how hair is viewed, used and presented.
After informing ourselves with secondary research we brainstormed on the topics that we found interesting from it:
We resonated with the topics of
- Consent of people touching our hair and who do we give ourselves over to touch our hair.
- Daily objects with hair
- Hair and identity
We felt we needed more information in these directions to focus on something very specific so we used Directed Storytelling research method selectively choosing our questions and took turns interviewing and recording each other.
We were interested to find out the connection between hair and emotions for people.
Feedback from Tonicha Child: be very specific on the words we use: emotion and intimacy because they can be misinterpreted easily.
Considering our target audience and our interest in the topic, we decided to use intimacy in a friendly context and emotion as friendly affection.
Does the act of hair brushing increase friendly intimacy?
Physicalising emotions through body actions and materials was quite challenging despite being much more specific in the definitions of these words.
Home research findings from the experience of brushing each other’s hair would increase the friendly bond:
- talking after brushing the hair increased intimacy
- the experience felt awkward with strangers
- cherished memories of our pasts with loved ones surfaced
So we got interested in the question:
How can we use hair to evoke memories?
We used a simple setup for the Bodystorming with materials at hand – a comb and phone connected to Spotify.
For our experience this week, we used a soothing bed story for the background while simultaneously gently brushing the hair of the participant while they rest comfortably. All of that was accompanied by stories and pictures of the past to evoke intimate moments with the closest ones.
- people actually got reminded of the past memories of a loved one (mother or close friend) or a place/ atmosphere.
- The participant feels awkward being in a big space – private space and safety of this behaviour are needed
- Some shared that felt uncomfortable if they did not know who would brush their hair
Feedback was pointing to two different directions of our experience. The first one of self-love which is very personalised to the user. The second one, an activity where the degree of intimacy is negotiated and accepted with other people (strangers), a bit of an unconventional one.