Augmented Nail Salon

XAMA: Augmented Salon was an installation and workshop by XA proposing an alternative communication space inspired by the typical Brazilian beauty salon. The performance took place within Michael Gozo’s Shop Work Shop, a research project, supported by Theatrum Mundi (LSE Cities), in which he explored the shop as a space of economic and artistic experimentation.

XA hosted a live nail salon and augmented reality workshop engaging the public in discussions about digital rights, internet freedom and social platforms. The installation and workshop was based around XA member Teresa Boulting’s project XAMA, which explores Brazilian beauty salons, a traditionally female hub of social interaction and information dissemination, as a parallel and autonomous alternative to the hegemony of existing social media platforms. The workshop drew on the historical idea of the French ‘Salon’, a space for political and cultural discussions usually hosted by women, reframing it as the Augmented Salon, an alternative community space in which digital tools add layers of information and spark public conversation. Hosting a live nail salon, XA invited members of the public to have their nails done while opening up discussions about the role of digital networks. XA used accessible digital tools which were shared during the workshop, to expand the notion of information dissemination and alternative community-based digital networking, using the Salon as a space of social and technological experimentation.