Bryan Rollins ‘09_Graphic Design
Where does the mask end and the face begin? How we perceive ourselves, as well as, what we truly are, is determined by our pasts and our experiences – that which we can never escape. We masquerade to protect our vulnerabilities, or our pasts and to perhaps deceive others or join them. These guises are as fragile as the idea of identity in itself, yet we still choose to conceal ourselves. Derrida theorizes that our identities are not self contained, but constructed from language, culture, and history, and are therefore composites of experience and circumstance. I submit that masking, by proxy, is that manifested identity constructed totally outside of circumstance shaped by the other.
“Maskhara” is an Arabic word meaning to distort or falsify into an animal or monster and is where the European iterations of “mask” are derived.
This investigation observes the ruse and questions its role in determining identity by abstracting the form of three physical masks, and in turn, further distorting the true face. These pieces are constructed of paper in order to express the malleability of identity, and at once, show the weak, and impermanence of the façade. Folding each piece rather than cutting, expresses the natural forming of the deception. Each fold is dependent upon the fold that came before. As these creases begin to layer, flatten, and disappear, the piece gains a sense of lineage.
“While we are alive, we cannot escape from masks or names. We are inseparable from our fictions ¬– our features. We are condemned to invent a mask for ourselves and afterward to discover that the mask is our true face.” —Octavio Paz, 1970