I Wear the Dog's Hair,
and the Dog Wears My Hair

A cape made of dog's hair for a human
A cape made of human hair for a dog
Two-channel video installation (5 min. 21 sec.)

Anyone who likes cats or dogs is a fool.
― Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari ; translation and foreword by Brian Massumi “A Thousand Plateaus” Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1987

Whom and what do I touch when I touch my dog? How is becoming with a practice of becoming worldly? When species meet, the question of how to inherit histories is pressing, and how to get on together is at stake.
― Donna J. Haraway “When Species Meet” Univ. of Minnesata Press, 2007

I collected the hair of a dog called Cielo and my own hair over a number of years, and then made clothes out of my hair for the dog and out of the dog’s hair for myself so that we could exchange coats. The two species, human beings and dogs, have developed together over the ages. This is a work that examines the relationship between a human and her pet, giving form to this concept.

The contemporary relationship between pets and humans exposes the warped nature of how the modern perception of the world and the logic of nature are out of sync. On talk-shows, the value of various types of dogs is decided based on their looks, and thorough-bred dogs are produced through in-breeding, however suffer from serious genetic diseases as a result. People raise strange animals that are not adapted to the environment of cities, and then abandon them in staggering numbers because they don’t know what to do with them, leading to a large number of animals being killed. Furthermore, differing species are bred together (for example in the case of raccoon dogs or the red-eared slider in Japan), leading to new species living in urban environments. This can be said to be a result of humans warping the natural ecology and modes of life of animals to fit their own needs according to modern concepts and perceptions of beauty. People today need to gain a new awareness of nature and reconsider the relationship between pets and humans.

I have had various pets, and do so now as well. Cats, goldfish, tadpoles, bagworms, and hermit crabs. I believe that all people who have pets wonder at some point whether their pet is happy; and I face the dilemma of whether it is right to make a living creature into a pet. Within this context I have had these animals appear in my artwork. My works take as their starting point things that I have felt within everyday experiences, and transplant the structure of these experiences analogically to the modes of life of the animals. One could call it a totemism-like approach towards ecology. The concept of my works is to get people to perceive the modes of life of various living creatures by experiencing a kind of empathy towards them. In this piece, I take that concept a step further by considering the relationship between humans and pets, and by exchanging a body part- in this case hair with my dog. On the one hand, the exchange of hair represents the embodiment of bonds, like a memento or a vow; and on the other hand, represents the exchange of two different functions – hair serving the function of maintaining body height for a dog, and serving the purpose of fashion for humans. I wonder if we can redefine the contemporary relationship between humans and pets as a coupling of the various functions and specific jobs that they can perform.

  • I Wear the Dog's Hair, and the Dog Wears My Hair
  • I Wear the Dog's Hair, and the Dog Wears My Hair
  • I Wear the Dog's Hair, and the Dog Wears My Hair
  • I Wear the Dog's Hair, and the Dog Wears My Hair
  • I Wear the Dog's Hair, and the Dog Wears My Hair
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