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- ISBN: 9783958083332
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Investigating acts of masking and unmasking in arts and culture
This volume looks at masking and unmasking as indivisible aspects of the same process. It gathers articles from a wide range of disciplines and addresses un/masking both as a historical and a contemporary phenomenon. By highlighting the performative dimensions of un/masking, it challenges dichotomies like depth and surface, authenticity and deception, that play a central role in masks being commonly associated with illusion and dissimulation.
The contributions explore topics such as the relationship between face, mask, and identity in artistic contexts ranging from Surrealist photography to video installations and from Modernist poetry to fin-de-siècle cabaret theater. They investigate un/masking as a process of transition and transformation – be it in the case of the wooden masks of the First Nations of the American Northwest Coast or of the elaborate costumes and vocal masking of pop icon Lady Gaga.
In all of these instances, the act of un/masking has the power to simultaneously hide and reveal. It destabilizes supposedly fixed identities and blurs the lines between the self and the other, the visible and the invisible. The volume offers new perspectives on current debates surrounding issues such as protective masks in public spaces, facial recognition technologies, and colonial legacies in monuments and museums, offering insight into what the act of un/masking can mean today.
With contributions by Laurette Burgholzer, Joyce Cheng, Sarah Hegenbart, Bethan Hughes, Judith Kemp, Christiane Lewe, W. Anthony Sheppard, Bernhard Siegert, Anja Wächter, and Eleonore Zapf.