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  • Writer's pictureJo Sutherst

Final Major Project: The Mask

“‘Unmasking’ is something that happens to spies and those with guilty secrets. Masking, masquerade, is disguise – and by extension perhaps even deception or pretence. The reference is to the altered appearance of the masker rather than to the status of the portrayal. Yet, as the examples of burglars and terrorists suggest, the wearing of a mask, while it may act to drain the masker of personal identity, is not inert even where it is intended only as a concealment. Of itself, a stocking mask asserts no other identity, yet the altered appearance of the wearer achieves menace whether or not the viewer feels personally threatened. In more playful context the staring, immobile masked face of even a close friend in party costume has a startling effect. The term ‘mask’ implicitly acknowledges human agency, that which is masked or concealed; but the resulting masquerade has a presence even if everyone is well aware that masking is, after all, only someone dressing up.”

– (Mack 1996: 12)


MACK, JOHN. 1996. Masks. London: British Museum.

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