The Face as Performance?
This artwork is inspired by Charlotte’s photography. Following the rich and ambiguous tradition of mythologies about human and animal, Cory created images in the form of Victorian studio portraiture. Where are they? Who are they? In these bizarre photos. Despite the laughter and the joke in the worldview, and the title – YOU, ANIMAL, YOU, of her album. By changing the pronoun from “they” to “we”, serious questions have been asked: Where are we? Who are we? Who we think we are?
Take Cory’s idea as a starting point, new light can be shaded on these faceless people or beings. Through the lens of Levinas:
What we call the face is precisely this exceptional presentation of self by self. (Totality and Infinity Expression, or the face, overflows images. (Totality and Infinity 297)
The face of the Other at each moment destroys and overflows the plastic image it leaves me, the idea existing to my own measure. It expresses itself. (Totality and Infinity 50-51)
The face is a living presence; it is expression. The life of expression consists in undoing the form in which the existent, exposed as a theme, is thereby dissimulated. The face speaks. The manifestation of the face is already discourse. He who manifests himself comes, according to Plato’s expression, to his own assistance. He at each instant undoes the form he presents. (Totality and Infinity 66)
Then, can we go beyond the anthropocentric presuppositions, and think about the faceless beings, ethically? Here, I borrow the fashion-show aesthetic, which is already bizarre and alienated enough, and use the title Post-animalism, as a contrast to Posthumanism, with the hope of evoking people to think the problems underling the human-centralism notion.