Wigs (2012-13) Digital C-Type photographic prints
‘Wigs’ has been informed from a previous documentary study into the vestiges and detritus left lying around in a red-light district in Manchester. I became interested in fallen hair pieces (artificial extensions, weaves, etc) that I regularly found in the street. These were graphic metaphors for what went on in the area, either as evidence of broken femininity, quite literally ‘fallen woman’, or as symbols of the underlying violence that the women risked working there, they could also represent the evidence of sloughed off remains of women who had shifted from one social state to another, from one persona to another.
The project utilised wigs as a way of abstracting from the specifics of the sex industry in order to explore female sexual identity in broader terms. Confusion hangs over an abandoned or unused wigs – they look organic, even though we know they’re not. Amputated from their intended context like this, they trigger in us a very deep-seated sense of the unease. The minimal, forensic style of photography further emphasises their link to the uncanny. They are just wigs, dead, inert, they pose no danger; yet they look like they could unfurl, at any moment, and come to life.
The photographs are titled according to the names given to the wigs by manufacturers but by trying to adopt certain personalities they are only highlighting their ambiguity, and speaks of a lack of interior, a void, which draws attention to their surfaces, and the fragility of identity – in this case the representation of female desirability and sexuality.
‘Wigs’ and interview featured in Hunger.tv