For the first three days of the Republican National Convention, a super-sized version of Donald Trump’s signature coiffure swept its way across Cleveland, inviting anyone to enter its gleaming, golden locks. Dubbed the Trump Hut, the hollow, 150-pound structure features 98 hula skirts made of straw originally from Oaxaca, Mexico. Inside, within its wooden framework, are a luxury hotel rug, regal wall fabric, a Doric column supporting the crown, solar-powered lights, and on some days — if you’re lucky —a bucket filled with champagne. It’s incredibly absurd — and intentionally so, meant to create spectacle and stir the media’s attention as a way to highlight and get people talking about economic inequality in the US especially if a Trump presidency becomes reality.
“We’re looking at our society as being a society of the spectacle, and how we take interesting symbols, turn them around, and see how the media will interact with it,” Douglas Cameron, one-half of the hut’s creators, told Hyperallergic. “The original intention for these was to put them up in front of the Trump Tower to dramatize the growing wealth divide of the country in a humorous way, to get people to refocus on that as we think is one of the most important issues relate to the election.”
Creating mass hype is a natural way for Cameron and partner-in-crime Tommy Noonan to approach Trump’s possible takeover of America, as both are ad men at DCX Growth Accelerator. But (if you missed Cameron’s above Guy Debord reference) they also cite avant-garde group Situationist International as an inspiration. In Cleveland, aside from the inevitable media crews eager for content, the Trump hut attracted politicians attending the convention as well as curious passersby. Visitors to the mop included Republicans and Democrats alike, uniting all parties under one giant wig and wigwam, mostly to snap photographs and selfies, but actually, at times, also to talk about the growing wealth divide in the country, according to Cameron. It probably helped that on day one, while flopped on the grounds of Ohio City Masonic Arts Center, a five-minute drive from Quicken Loans Arena, bottles of champagne did hide behind the sleek tresses to loosen tongues. It fits four people comfortably, and five somewhat awkwardly, the pair says.
Cameron and Noonan drove the hair in a U-Haul to the waterfront and to Willard Park in the following days, with the journey proving smooth aside from a few check-ins — none particularly hairy — from police (“Be warned, a Trump hut is approaching,” was all one cop apparently said when he spotted the mane). While they’ve since left Cleveland, however, this is not the last the world has seen of the Trump Hut, which actually debuted at Gut Rehab, an exhibition that closed this month at Red Hook’s Realty Collective. The pair plans to bring it to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, but before that would like to fulfill their initial scheme of planting it outside New York’s Trump Tower next week. They are also about to launch a Kickstarter aiming to build 10 more hairpieces to donate them to protestors as flagrantly luxurious, makeshift protest tents — “not-so-basic shelter,” they note— essentially the opposite of those that filled Zucotti park. If successful, the funds would go towards erecting the huts not only by Trump Tower but also by Mar-a-Lago, and other high-profile, Trump-stamped areas. So if you’ve ever dreamt about stepping in, sleeping, or living inside Trump’s undoubtedly well-conditioned hair (hey, we don’t judge!) your opportunity is here.
A photo posted by Sonny Jantos (@jonnysantos) on