exploring art and writing

Mime, Make-up and The Mask.

In Fine Arts, Identity, Performance on March 29, 2010 at 8:58 am

“The mean lie as much as the actual truth lies in the mask; a work as mask is the interchangeability through ambiguity and foreground manifestation”. Karl Jaspers (in Sorell 1973:28)

Still from Ingmar Bergman's 'Persona' 1966

I don’t know where to start with this one. It hasn’t been completed yet but it’s come together enough for me to surmise that I don’t know what on earth I’m doing!

During filming, thanks to the lovely Amanda Bathory and her camera-skills I managed to get a few sweeping, semi-circle shots that were completely out of focus (that is not me being sarcastic – I really did want them out of focus!). There is a contradiction in the application of a mask then being masked itself. This lends questions as to what is truth and what is reality; is the mask allowing me to evade my everyday persona, albeit through cowardly means, or is it a direct physical representation of my persona? Either way I think it is representative of the ‘homelessness’ myself and others appear to be experiencing at the moment.

A sweeping movement and a smile isn’t necessarily indicative of happiness or ease. The smile can be more of a mask than the make-up, as most people are aware.

It’s weird how when a spotlight is shining at you you can’t see a thing! And it’s very unsettling.

Below is an action that allows you to be able to gain sight of yourself and your surroundings again, whilst lessening the exposure of yourself. Perhaps if I were to explore performance in greater depth I would be more suited suited to these subtler types of action. The actions of Eve Dent spring to mind, although not so much for her integration of body with architecture, but for her exposing herself through quiet and physically hidden means; I don’t seem to hold my own so well if I am trying to act or be too symbolic. This is why ‘Crazy’ will probably always remain a small series of film stills to anyone but myself.

The photograph below of Dent’s work conveys this contradictory method of at once hiding and exposing yourself perfectly. To further my attraction to it there is an echo of Tarkovsky’s Stalker in the appearance of the place she is containing herself in. So I seem to be going round in circles.

Eve Dent

I honestly don’t know why I’ve gone and filmed this ‘performance’. When I watch over the footage I have no idea as to how to deal with it. I will say this though: I am extremely glad that I have not only done a performance (although it is for video) before I leave university, but I am also glad that I have made use of the MAP spaceworkshop before I leave.

I don’t think the ideas behind the piece have worked: to release what before was too terrifying to say. Although it has been done by means that still prevent much clarity, I know that the video will remain strictly private. It’s no-one else’s job, after all, to have to figure me out – especially if I can’t do that myself.

“The self… ‘wills desperately to be itself – with the exception, however, of one particular, with respect to which it wills despairingly not to be itself’.” Sorell quoting Kierkegaard (1973:31)


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