Face / Mask Forgery

An even more fascinating object, however, is the subject without a record: a person with no history, whom the system has not catalogued and registered, who exists as a bodily-physical presence but not as an object of the archive. This subject, free from being tangled in the webs of government records, financial statements, and other identity attachments, represents to those caught in such snares an unimaginable life. Not simply the freedom from identity but also the uncertainty of others’ when attempting to identify this person (from the Latin: mask): without official documentation, photographic identification, this person could be anybody. A truly horrific scenario emerges when, in the digital age, the notion of forgery is added to the possibility of an individual having no existence within the system of the archive: this person could fabricate records or steal records for personal use. An opposite, comical scenario is also present: that the individual in question could simulate an identity already possessed and literally wear a mask of herself.

2 responses to “Face / Mask Forgery

  1. Don’t we all wear masks of ourselves anyways? When I laugh I wear the mask of comedy. When I cry I wear the mask of tragedy. Without insight into someone else, what they identify as has no context. Because we don’t know if it is real it is both Real and False.
    Just like a homosexual who is “in the closet”, we are all in the closet all the time. Hiding from ourselves.

    • The point is that we all have points that identify us which are outside ourselves; our place of birth, parents, peer groups—even our names come from elsewhere, yet we feel as if they are somehow “inside of us.” (In you more than you?) In this sense, there is a mask that is “yourself,” and nobody else. Deliberately duplicating the mask of another, i.e. forgery, in terms of “the mask he wears of himself,” is forging everything about the subject that determines it from the outside: creating a semblance of the outside. And this is also known as “identity theft.” And all victims of identity theft know that an object that resembles nothing but an exterior—that is: composed of nothing but birth certificates, identity cards, and government records—can radically be used to alter interior states. But the person without a fixed identity, no anchoring points from the outside, represents a new dimension to what is real and false, as you put it; or what is more real than real.

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