“The Braid” is a series of performance inspired by an image from the Lithuanian artist Egle Rakauskaite, where young women dressed in black stand sternly in a circle facing outwards. They are not actively touching or holding hands as one could assume, only their plaits are fastened together with hair elastics.
In Gunnhildur’s interpretation, young women are replaced by people of all age and gender, which are braided together into a circle. While Gunnhildur braids she whispers words into individuals in the circle, who then call them out and the group responds. Woven in to the performance are elements outside the braided circle. Those can vary, a woman jumping up and down on a trampoline, a drummer, a woman skipping rope and a hula hop might be added, all the elements reprecent a circle in an action. And they respond to the braided circle by calling out, by repeating the words with the prefix end/beginning in front. For example: Artist whispers, “a marriage”, individual calls out: “A marriage”, braided choir responds: “THE BEGENING OF A MARRIAGE” and outside elements respond by calling out: “THE END OF A MARRIAGE” and so and so forth until the circle is closed and the outside elements enter inside the circle and start to loosen the braids once more.
In this work the viewer is invited to have an active role; during the performance, volunteers with long hair are encouraged to step out of the audience. The audience becomes a part of the braided choir, part of the slow process of braiding, slowly integrated in to the work, creating a full circle of people, woven together by the hair, the braided choir.
The performance has so far been made in two variations:
“Braid, Skip, Hop, Drum” in Hosek Contemporary in Berlin at the Berlin Gallery weekend in April 2017 with 10 long haired volunteers and artist Steinunn Gunnlaugsdottir bringing the “hop”, jumping up and down on a trampoline, Katrin Inga Jonsdottir the "skip", ferociously skipping a rope and drummer/poet Snorri Pall Jonsson beating the "drum" improvising on a drum set in the gallery.