Hair, video and mirror, original bedframe
Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia
Soliloquy was conceived for the exhibition “Prison Sentences: The Prison as Site/The Prison as Subject” and was installed in two adjacent cells in this abandoned nineteenth-century prison. A 75′ -long rope of hair originated in a bun on an iron bed in one of the cells, climbed up approximately 13′ to the skylight, passed through it, across the exercise yard, and over the 30′- high perimeter wall. In the cell next door, there was a video of a woman repeatedly braiding her hair, putting it up with bobby pins, then undoing it. The image was shot in a small, circular mirror, and was viewed that way through the bars of the cell door. The effect was somewhat like watching a moving daguerreotype. Because the model’s face is never visible (we see only the back of her head and her hands), she remains anonymous, and there is the strong implication of being a voyeur or guard peering into the prison cell.