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"My Hair is at MoMA PS1"

**Runner-up MoMA/MoMA PS1 - Young Architects Program**

Queens, New York


Type: Temporary Public Installation 

Submitted as TempAgency a collaboration between mcdowellespinosa architects and Kutonotuk

Project Text

“My Hair is at MoMA PS1” is a project about the waste everyone produces: our hair. It is an element that links us, divides us, fascinates us, and traces our diversity.  There are over four thousand hair salons and barbershops in the five boroughs of New York City. Each salon produces up to four cubic feet of hair clippings daily, and nearly all of it ends up in a landfill; this material that once signified diversity, character, and collective identity is readily forgotten and discarded. This project aims at diverting hair from a material waste stream and repositioning it as a valuable cultural, architectural material imbued with thermal, acoustical, and structural properties.  Working in collaboration with material scientists, hair stylists, medical doctors, and engineers, we revive and transform hair waste into a dynamic, interactive, and resilient modular canvas.

The process we propose has four phases: hair collection, treatment, assembly, and installation. TempAgency (a design collaboration between mcdowellespinosa and Kutonotuk) partners with over 120 New York City hair salons and barbershops and collects a total amount of eighty cubic feet of hair for a period of five days. Collected hair is carefully inspected, sanitized, dyed, and bound with customized weather-proof, fire-retardant silicone, affixed to light and rigid metal mesh, then finally to fiberglass poles. Horizontal and vertical variations of the hair rollers offer six distinct stage-like environments in the MoMA PS1 courtyards—“Cut,” “Tease,” “Brush,” “Part,” “Wash,” and “Love Cave.”   “My Hair is at MoMA PS1” is a landscape of serendipity, overlaid with scientific and tactile explorations of material and information, and ultimately an architectural expression of renewed life.


Design Partners:

Leena Cho, Rychiee Espinosa, Matthew Jull, Seth McDowell


Design Team::

Jake Fox, Aaron Gahr, Ben Gregory, Teppei Iizuka, Gwen McGinn, Matthew Pinyan

Photography, video and images: 

©TempAgency and University of Virginia

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