About the Exhibition
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 (b.1957, Brussels, Canada) 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.