Pȟehíŋ kiŋ líla akhíšoke. (Her hair was heavy.) is a new work by Oglala Lakȟóta artist, Kite, which builds on her hair-braid interfaces and new research into AI-generated text. The hair-braid interface is a computer on a 50 foot braid of hair. The computer system itself is made of song, power, sound, processors, machine learning decisions, handmade circuitry, gold, silver, copper, aluminum, silicon, and fiberglass. This hair-braid interface is something between instrument and sculpture, built collaboratively over the last decade with James Hurwitz and Devin Ronneberg. On stage, Kite manipulates the braid which controls the sonified, AI-generate texts. Then, the braid’s software listens to those audio changes and uses machine learning to make decisions about how and when to change the projection of hair. During the 8 minute performance, the audience witnesses a sonic sculpture which is a feeble human attempt to listen without the ears but with the body in relation with AI. The computer’s decisions are audible to human ears, sonifying invisible data. Lakȟóta ontology is an already established way of being, where seemingly ‘inanimate’ objects can be alive with spirit, and Pȟehíŋ kiŋ líla akhíšoke. (Her hair was heavy.) is an experiment in greeting that spirit.
Pȟehíŋ kiŋ líla akhíšoke. (Her hair was heavy.). Performance. Kite, 2019. 8 minutes. Performance, sonic sculpture, processor.
Video performance, choreography by Olivia Camfield.
The Studio Series, REDCAT / CalArts Theatre
10, 11 November 2019
Los Angeles, CA
Photo documentation by Steve Gunther