Father-Daughter Confessional (FDC) will create an event space resembling a working barbershop: barber chair, mirrors, waiting area, and associated ephemera. The barber chair will serve as a central platform for a series of cultural programs centered on issues that will be offered for deeper community exploration. These programs will not be candidate forums, but rather platforms for the community to explore ideas that are important to them and frequently overlooked in the larger political discourse.
To underscore the work’s thematic element salon programs will be named after current hairstyles. For example, the ‘Disconnected Undercut’, the ‘Fade’, or the ‘Side Part’ will refer to programs about: 1) vacant lots in the urban core and their potential for positive community transformation; 2) social democracy/socialism and its relation to the creative process and body of work of selected artists; and 3) maker spaces, alternative economies, and self-directed education – and their role in developing vibrant, engaged, and healthy communities. Community leaders, thinkers, educators, and artists will participate in developing and leading these workshops.
During each program’s presentations, a barber will be cutting the hair of the presenter. Discussions between the audience and presenter will at times be reflected (and mediated) in the mirror – which is exactly how dialogue typically transpires within a salon or barbershop. The barber, or their assistant, will act as facilitator. Having the conversations unfold in this fashion will shift the focus of authority within the space, level the playing field for citizens, and encourage more robust, yet safer debates.
Artwork will also be generated as a part of these community interactions and will accumulate in the performance space – furthering the notion of a salon-within-a-salon, informing viewers, and disrupting notions of what exactly it means to ‘cut your hair in the socialist style’. FDC will engage a diverse range of community members whose hairstyles might be considered current, simple, or striking. This spectrum will form the basis for silkscreen posters created in collaboration with a local printmaker. Prints (in both fine art and production-run editions) will playfully refer to US political imagery and historical images done in the constructivist style, and serve as propaganda (workshop advertising) and saleable collectibles.
The ‘socialist’ label has often been pejoratively invoked by many who oppose Barack Obama and the cold-war legacy insures that many Americans still regard the term with ill humor. With the ascendancy of the Occupy movement, Pope Francis’ papacy and Bernie Sanders, the term socialist has re-entered the lexicon in a more positive light, viewed by some as an honorable badge denoting someone open to a more compassionate, worldly view. Cut Your Hair in the Socialist Style explores these varying perspectives and sentiments but does so with a dash of humor and hair tonic.
Father-Daughter Confessional (FDC)—comprised of father, Don Wilkison (an artist working as m.o.i. aka The Minister of Information) and daughter, Sarah Wilkison (an artist working as Sarah Star)—examines the cultural sins of America through the lens of age, gender, and middle-class economics. FDC collaborates with community and artists to make art that reflects societal, rather than corporate, concerns. FDC’s humorous yet thought-provoking engagements, meld science, popular culture, and visual acumen to engage the public in unexpected places, and challenge entrenched institutional thinking.
FDC has created interventions coupling the perils of intractable political thought with activism directed against continued, cultural insensitivity for women’s issues (We Might be Wrong; Remember the Ladies). In (More or Le$$), FDC engaged the public through a series of pop-ups directly aimed at the intersection of food deserts and hipster food culture in one of America’s wealthiest counties. FDC’s activism re-imagined corporate giveaways (Köttbullar: Examining our Meatball Culture) transforming an advertising strategy designed to create corporate wealth into a system for expanding community capital.
Work from each artist’s individual practice also feeds into their joint ventures. Star’s “Be a Citizen” challenges the tendency of our award-hungry society to overlook common courtesy and moral cooperation and instead awards people for simply doing what is expected of them. Her approach celebrates those who demonstrate a commitment to core societal values rather than those who focus on achieving VIP status. As a licensed cosmetologist, Star has produced thousands of head turns, taught styling techniques in many venues throughout the USA, and worked with artists and designers to create collaborative fashion statements. She was a 2012 Bread!KC grant recipient.
As much public servant as artist, m.o.i.’s practice crosses many platforms and engages with any number of techniques: performance, printmaking, photography, experimental film, and sculpture. His interdisciplinary approach to art has been informed by years of applied environmental research that mingled hydrology, environmental chemistry, and biology. He has worked with a number of community-based education groups whose goals are to model positive behavior for the larger community. m.o.i. was recently (2016) selected to participate in the Sante Fe Art Institute’s Water Rights residency and the Charlotte St Foundation’s retrospective exhibit, Traces and Trajectories. He has participated in a number of exhibitions and professional workshops, and is the recipient of several regional grants and awards.