Janet Cardiff: Her Long Black Hair

About the Exhibition

Janet Cardiff’s Her Long Black Hair is a 35-minute journey that begins at Central Park South and transforms an everyday stroll in the park into an absorbing psychological experience. Cardiff (b.1957, Brussels, Canada) takes each listener on a winding journey through Central Park’s 19th-century pathways, retracing the footsteps of an enigmatic dark-haired woman. Relayed in a quasi-narrative style, Her Long Black Hair is a complex investigation of location, time, sound, and physicality, interweaving stream-of-consciousness observations with fact and fiction, local history, opera and gospel music, and other atmospheric and cultural elements.

The experience of the walk uses photographs to reflect upon the relationship between images and notions of possession, loss, history, and beauty. The original iteration of the project in 2004 included an audio kit that contained a CD player with headphones as well as a packet of photographs.

Digitized supporting materials for Her Long Black Hair are now available! The artist intends for visitors to listen to the audio tracks while observing the images in the gallery below. We recommend following the directions on the map below and printing the images or opening them on your mobile device while you’re in the park.

As Cardiff’s voice on the audio soundtrack guides listeners through the park, they are occasionally prompted to pull out and view one of the photographs. These images link the speaker and the listener within their shared physical surroundings of Central Park.

Materials provided with the permission of Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, with special thanks to Dan Phiffer.



Click to view the map in its entirety.



This artwork was recorded using binaural 3D audio. It is necessary to use headphones to experience this effect.

Her Long Black Hair 1
Her Long Black Hair 2
Her Long Black Hair 3
Her Long Black Hair 4
Her Long Black Hair 5
Her Long Black Hair 6

Archival images