Friction Factory: Draining Desire

An installation, connected to a hairdresser’s sink, that zooms in on chemical-cosmetic processes to explore the conflicting interplay between beauty standards and their invisible toxicity.  

Departing from research into hair bleaching, a speculative production line is designed and attached to a hairdresser's sink, interfering with the unseen paths of flushed-away chemicals. Inside the ‘factory’, mirrors undergo fast oxidation caused by chemical products that are used to transform hair. The process gradually reveals gaps and imperfections that reflect the uncertainty and limited understanding surrounding these single-use chemical cosmetics. Social norms, perpetuated by popular culture, have normalised the production and use of harmful substances within the beauty industry. However, as our chemicals appear to evaporate into thin air, seep into the ground, or effortlessly flow down the drain, the direct consequences of our actions are vanishing alongside them. With Friction Factory: Draining Desire Loena aims to hold up a mirror – quite literally – to confront consumers, cosmetic companies, and designers with these socially constructed and industrially enforced frictions.  

Oxidised mirror

Oxidised mirror experiments

Bleaching hair process

Oxidising mirror with leftover hair bleach

Friction Factory installation