Forum eikones, Rheinsprung 11, 4051 Basel
eikones - Zentrum für die Theorie und Geschichte des Bildes, Universität Basel
Masks and Faces
In the past three years, masks and the faces that they cover, have become a locus of ethical and political debates. Protecting their wearers and providing a barrier between self and other, masks symbolize for some the oppressive force of state control, while for others they stood for solidarity and social responsibility. The act of covering up part of the face has given rise to worries about the future of social communication, and questions about the emotional well-being of children who are unable to see human faces; yet when faces were covered, masking, and custom-made masks were seen as expressive of the individuality of those who wear them. Indeed, masks and faces have been central to making and understanding personhood and identity since antiquity. In Rome, the possession and display of facial casts was a marker of political power; only their owners were free men (at their funeral, the casts, that reproduced their faces were often worn by actors). With the change in the meaning of personhood and personality, masks were understood as merely false covers, that hide the singularity of the face, the core of the human. Some philosophers, such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Emmanuel Levinas, even located the face at the center of the ethical commitments humans have towards one another. The purpose of the workshop is to explore masks, faces, and the relationship between them. Focusing on the political and ethical meanings and possibilities embedded in different practices of masking and revealing, we will ask how are masks and faces used (or misused) to structure human interactions?
Liesbeth Schoonheim, Tom Stern, Abigail Nieves Delgado, Fenneke Sysling, Massimo Leone, Anna K.M. Skarpelis, Paula Barreiro Lopez, Jenny Chamarette, Eva-Maria Troelenberg
Detailed program to follow
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