INFERNO (1997). Performance Art / Short Film.
After seeing an image of a woman shaking her head back and forth with Christmas ornaments in her hair, I thought to myself "How cool would it be if, instead of ornaments, those were flames dancing across her face casting shadows. If... in the midst of chaos, there was peace."
I set out trying to figure out how to bring this to life.
I quickly realized it would be difficult to find someone willing to risk setting their head on fire, so I volunteered. I sketched out some rough ideas for how it might look (notice the small flames in the drawing). I shaved my head leaving 7 braids, headed out to Pismo Beach at sunset, and covered myself in fire gel and glitter.
I hadn't done any tests on the flammability of hair (not very much) and so tore my socks into pieces, tied them on the ends of the hair, and poured a can of rubber cement on my head. That worked.
The piercing heat of the flames blinded me and seared my skin. With no fire extinguisher around, I instinctively dove to the ground while people kicked sand on me to put out the flames.
Invigorated, I then used pipe cleaner to extend the 7 braids straight out and, in a more controlled manner, lit them up again.
A commentary on contemplating one's mortality, I put the footage over a slowed down mix of Pink Floyd and Dead Can Dance. The footage will appear again in another personal project, Soulscapes.