Sunday, 10 April 2011

A Visit to the Freud Museum - Part 1: Childhood Rituals and Auburnophobia

I was very fortunate to be visiting the Freud Museum this week at the point an art installation was being erected actually over the surface of Freud's house by the artist Alice Anderson. Alice, who has lots of beautiful red hair, unlike my small paltry amount, uses red hair in her work. The current exhibition, Childhood Rituals, includes the work that is currently appearing at the Freud Museum. In the following picture you can see Alice's team on the roof draping and fixing the hair.

Being a redhead myself, and also a cultural theorist, I struggle with the ginger prejudice which is so prevalent today and has definitely got worse since I was a child. I think it was probably David Bowie that saved my teenage-hood from any potential bullying because of my hair. As a small child, older people seemed to love my hair saying things like "It is a sign of beauty", and one of my father's friends actually called me "Red". I remember seeing a straw poll on the campus of a university where they asked ten male students if they would go out with a redhead. Nine of them said that under no conditions would they, the tenth said he would sleep with one but wouldn't call her the next day - and these are supposed to be 'educated' people! Interestingly enough, and also in a somewhat contradiction to these figures, I can remember hearing about Edinburgh University doing a redhead gene study a while ago, in order to find the evolutionary benefit for those who have it. It turned out that one of its benefits was in attracting a mate. However, this appears to work for ancient Scots only as, going by the media portrayal of red hair, the pull has turned from attract to repel.

Below are some really good close-up shots of Alice's installation where the hair reaches the ground and is anchored in various places:

Alice Anderson's exhibition is on from April 15th to June 5th 2011.

Related sites:
The Ginger Phenomenon
Flaming Heck
Sarak Spanton