Page 681 The GLQ Gallery Tobaron Waxman My installation began with a two-day tableau vivant. The performance consisted of three phases. Visitors cut suspended locks of my hair, then shaved my head with clippers and ï¬nally with a razor, until I was bald. An inverted forest of roughly twenty-ï¬ve locks hung from the ceiling. Combined with the shorn remains, this constitutes a site of gendered expectation excised. The epilogue, called Opshernish after the Orthodox Jewish ritual, occurred two months later at the closing of the installation. It revisited the second and third phases of shaving with clippers and razor. The Opshernish is an Orthodox boyâs ï¬rst haircut, which takes place on his third birthday. The community comes to the family home, and everyone participates by cutting a piece of his hair, until what remains is what will become his payes [sidelocks]. He then recites a short text in Hebrew to commence his life of learning. The community collectively conï¬rms the role of the male child, collectively acknowledges its expectations of him, by cutting his infant hair â the hair he has grown since birth â and shaping it to mark him as a male member of the society.
GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies – Duke University Press
Published: Jan 1, 2001
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