Plastic Haircut



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Plastic Haircut
Artist William T. Wiley regularly collaborated with filmmaker Robert Nelson. Plastic Haircut offers an early example of their work together.

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Plastic Haircut is divided into three parts. The first section is silent, focusing on the formal artistic qualities of film through fast paced editing, the interaction of shapes, and the physical action of characters. Largely produced in an unscripted fashion, most of the gestures are improvisational and repetitive. The actions are seemingly attached to some undefined ritual, leaving the audience to conjure up their own understanding.

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Sculpture, Painting, Performance, Film
The film was composed in the San Francisco Mime Troupe theater where William Wiley and Robert Nelson worked designing sets. Using the theater to stage their improvisational performances with props and other materials, Wiley and Nelson further blurred the artistic lines between plastic arts, theater and film.

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In response to the rapid visual devices employed in the silent first section, the second act is designed in sound only. The auditory composition is drawn from found footage and music taken from sporting events and television. This division of labor perhaps questions the structures of what we know and how we find meaning.

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Neo Italian School?
The third and final act adds an interesting twist by staging a faux-critique. Positioned as a discussion between two characters, an "indian filmmaker" and an avant-gard film critic, talk about the meaning of the film. The nonsensical dialogue between the two pokes fun at our understanding of what has been presented. This inquiry into What's It All Mean persists throughout the artwork of William T. Wiley.

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0 / 5

1963, Film, 15 minutes
Directed by William T. Wiley
and Robert Nelson

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Although this film was a collaborative effort by Robert Nelson, William T. Wiley, Robert Hudson, R.G. Davis, and Steve Reich, it was Nelson that shot and edited the film.

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