Her Long Black Hair
An audio walk in Central Park
June 17 - September 13, 2004
Janet Cardiff's Her Long Black Hair is a 35-minute journey that begins at Central Park South and transforms an everyday stroll in the park into an absorbing psychological and physical experience. Cardiff takes each listener on a winding journey through Central Park's 19th-century pathways, retracing the footsteps of an enigmatic dark-haired woman. Relayed in a quasi-narrative style, Her Long Black Hair is a complex investigation of location, time, sound, and physicality, interweaving stream-of-consciousness observations with fact and fiction, local history, opera and gospel music, and other atmospheric and cultural elements. At once cinematic and non-linear, Her Long Black Hair uses binaural technology--a means of recording that achieves incredibly precise three-dimensional sound--to create an experience of physical immediacy and complexity.
The walk echoes the visual world as well, using photographs to reflect upon the relationship between images and notions of possession, loss, history, and beauty. Each person receives an audio kit that contains a CD player with headphones as well as a packet of photographs. As Cardiff's voice on the audio soundtrack guides listeners through the park, they are occasionally prompted to pull out and view one of the photographs. These images link the speaker and the listener within their shared physical surroundings of Central Park.
Janet Cardiff is perhaps best known for her signature audio walks, which she has made in London, Florence, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, St. Louis, and elsewhere. Her gallery installations--often made with George Bures Miller, Cardiff's husband and artistic collaborator--use the narrative and technical language of film noir to create lush, suspenseful sound and video works.
Janet Cardiff was born in Canada in 1957; she and Miller currently live and work in Berlin. They have recently had exhibitions at Luhring Augustine, New York (2004); Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (2003); Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2002); and National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2002). A recent mid-career retrospective, Janet Cardiff: A Survey of Works, Including Collaborations with George Bures Miller, opened at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, Queens, in 2001 and has since traveled to Montreal, Oslo, and Turin.
Starting June 17, the audio kit for Her Long Black Hair will be available at a kiosk at 59th Street and Sixth Avenue, Thursday through Monday, 9:30am to 5pm. The last audio kit pick-up time is 5pm. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 212-446-9529 by 4pm the day before.
Viewers will be asked to leave a drivers license or credit card in exchange for the audio equipment and should allow at least 50 minutes for Her Long Black Hair. The work's running time is 35 minutes and then the audio kit must be returned to the kiosk at 59th Street and Sixth Avenue. A map with the return route will be included.
Subways: N, R, Q, to 57th Street or N, R to Fifth Avenue; A, B, C, D, 1, 9 to Columbus Circle.
Added by higa on July 27, 2004