Surface Tension was originally published as my contribution to the art and literary journal, Bearings: Works about Boundaries, designed by Antonia Pinter and co-edited by Olivia Durif and Molly Schaeffer. BEARINGS issue no.1 is available for purchase via http://www.bearings-journal.com/new-products/
For a haircut to exist as a harmonious entity in relation to its owner, a balanced sculptural chord has to be struck and stealthily maintained throughout the architecture of this haircut’s composition. There exists a precise proportion of equilibrium which tethers a haircut’s internal fluidity to it’s external delineation, its flesh to its skin. The elusive boundary which exists between the two is, hilariously, the mainline artery of the haircut’s form.*
*TBH, for me this structural moment is never found but always pursued, always sought, never realized. Some kind of sculpto-textural folklorian paradise. The earnestness of this fool’s pursuit is inevitably what defines whether or not I am working with efficacy as a hairdresser. It is an innately agonizing venture to manifest textural fluidity, to then build the container which holds this swirling substance, to give delineation and therefore form via selected edges and parameters: this is my chosen form of technical masochism. There is a minor tingling feeling in my crotch when I feel myself approaching the apex of this harmony.
To shape the liquid and then build the container. Or, that in reverse. Rarely a linear animal, the whole game is generally a miserably esoteric juggling act of both. The two entities relate to each other via a physical play of textural tension.
My adolescent pseudo-study of Physics (historically an elusive land of missed concepts for me) left me haunted by a few wisps of vocabulary remnants drifting uselessly through my upper ethers. One of which is called to mind when I consider the haircut’s battle for truth, so appropriately, is the term SURFACE TENSION. The fraught mathematical marriage between the delineated form and the fluidity it encapsulates. Without one the other is useless, meaningless, non-existent. Synergistically desolate. In this case, it’s hairline-to-skin, skin-to-temple, neck-to-nape, nape-to-ear, ear-to-crown. Connected, they define each other as a whole haircut. Separated, the form is vacant and absurd.
What I am seeking when I am cutting a person’s hair is the manufacturing of a perfect tension, via a boundary. Tension which tethers, tension which elevates, tension which justifies. Without an external delineation, a series of delineations for my hair waves, they would crash and dissipate. Without an internal system of orchestrated waves, the surrounding delineation is purposeless, dissolute.
When this tension, this boundary which tethers the two is unstable, uncalled-for, mis-represented- the whole process refutes itself: a failed expedition. When the boundary is as close to alignment as my cognitive functioning can orchestrate, a brief flash of mutual calm falls over the both of us, cool eye contact in the mirror, lungs expel and it’s over,