Observing parallelly the built environment, sometimes called the habit, and the garment, sometimes called l’habit, we notice a major difference: the garment is the space for the expression of the identity (individuation), whereas the built environment is the space of public appearance and common trust (the essence convocated by Emmanuel Lévinas). A ritual mask is an incursion half way from the garment and the public space. The form of a face, the most individual feature of our body, calls for the confrontation between the self and the stranger. The face commands a “thinking through the other”, it is a call without any return; the unfamiliarity, the unknown that is facing leads me to confront my identity to the unexpected.
A face commands a meeting of my territories, the identical, the sameness that the identity is comfortable within with an undisclosed space that is in becoming: the Stranger. And it becomes a trace inscribed within myself. In presenting my self to uncharted territories I am unchained of the self, surrendering to the otherness. I am because of the interpellation of the Other, questioned and facing the responsibility of having to answer: here I am.
The mask as a space in between the self and the Others, a community with a face requiring me to answer by a declaration of the identity and ethics. It is an uncommon object that contours a time and space that is neither mine or public, but both at once.
Per Sonare mask, thr34d5 medialab (2019). Kombucha pellicle and mixed media.