Meet Nelson Loskamp, folks–one of many artists (myself included) who performed this past weekend at MEGAPOLIS (Sound Art Festival) 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. As I headed down the street to begin my Sunday afternoon performance, I stopped in my tracks transfixed by his Electric Chaircut performance.
So, Dear Curators of MEGAPOLIS 2010, sorry that I was late to my Sunday afternoon performance, but I had a good excuse. I couldn’t pass up the chance to document and blog about Nelson Loskamp’s very public audio art performance of haircut-generated audio.
Loskamp has been performing his Electric Chaircuts (amplified haircuts) worldwide since 1989. He set up for his 4-hour performance on Baltimore’s W. North Avenue, near the awesome Wind Up Space establishment to offer his performative services to festival attendees and passers-by. Gina, a friendly and hardworking MEGAPOLIS Fest volunteer, “sat” for one of his coiffures.
Loskamp’s got good equipment–from a block or two away, I could hear what I’d describe as outer space-like or underwater bubbly-like amped-up/feedback-based audio. The amplified sound drew my attention to the artist’s physical performance–Nelson strapped people down with colorful tape (and also covered participants’ eyes and mouths with the tape), and gave willing participants Electric Chaircuts. When I stopped by his very public performance on a heavily trafficked Baltimore artery, the line was 4 or 5 deep (and mostly male).
People can be hyper-sensitive about getting a (new) haircut or finding the right person to cut and style their hair so I thought of his performance as a very clever hairdresser’s revenge fantasy. And although Loskamp’s promotional photo which appeared on the MEGAPOLIS site seemed, uh, kinda severe, I noticed that the MEGAPOLIS participants, and at least one non-festival attendee (a chance passer-by), enjoyed giving themselves over to Loskamp’s (generous) haircuts on his terms.
From Loskamp’s performance, I’ve prepared two tiny audio documentaries that feature his awesome scissor cutting and clipping techniques. Both recordings feature the amplified sound of Nelson working on Gina’s haircut.
Read and see more about the artist and his work at www.chaircut.com.
Dear Nelson Loskamp–thanks for bringing your Electric Chaircut to Megapolis 2010!