Alice Gale-Feeny


14 September – 27 September 2014



Participants: Francesca Ayton, Lois Burton, Olwen Davies, Heather Forknell, Katherine Hall, Robert Hardaker and Tom Morgan.

Camera: James E Smith

HairWashCarWash is a research project, performance and exhibition by Alice Gale-Feeny that examines in detail, two examples where dirt is removed from a surface. Dirt here is viewed as a substance, as a sign of experience and the result of intimate contact between a body, object and an environment.

Referencing the term ‘Palaver’, meaning idle chatter, drawn out conversation or unnecessary ‘paroles’ between primitive natives and traders, from the mid 18th century, HairWashCarWash looks at the body’s relationship to objects during improvised, conversational exchange between those accustomed to an object, and those who are not.

All works in the exhibition use material generated in workshops delivered by the artist and filmed by James E Smith. These workshops invited 7 participants to explore our proximity to objects through the act of speaking, hair washing, sweeping and site visits to Car Washes. These participants, who will also perform at the project opening include 5 practicing artists/performers, and 2 hair salon assistants from George’s Hairdressing Salon, all of whom are local to Leicester.

The workshops took place with the hope of gathering a broad range of dialects that surround particular actions and objects. Looking to redefine something familiar, the idea was to provide the conditions for an alternative encounter that enabled a way of looking that was more rudimentary, based on physical touch.

The project was developed in response to the Two Queens building and its former life as a garage.

Throughout the project, the artist made visits to 3 Car Wash’s in particular. At the first two, filming or recording audio was not allowed; written notes were taken but the relationship could not develop for various reasons. The artist began a relationship with a third Car Wash, buying empty cleaning product containers and micro fibre cloths on different occasions. She was then granted permission to film the employees hands with the promise of returning with printed video stills for the employees to keep. She then returned for a final time to record an audio dialogue of an employee whilst one of the workshop participants’ cars was washed.

HairWashCarWash is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

Thank you to the workshop participants, James E Smith, Sara Giddens (project mentor), Gino Attwood, Daniel Sean Kelly, Dave Briggs, Samuel Jones, Mateus Domingos, Dexter Prior, George’s Hairdressing and Hollywood Car Care, Nottingham.