Bilder, Medien, Formate
[The face. Images, media, formats]
Companion volume to the exhibition Das Gesicht. Eine Spurensuche [The Face. A Search for Clues] at the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum Dresden (19 Aug 2017 – 25 Feb 2018)
They literally surround us: faces. A book on their forms of appearance, representation, and meaning.
As the most expressive part of the human body, the face often leads us towards (often-times quick and premature) conclusions about an entire person: their personality, character, and moods, but also their age, gender, ethnicity, and social status. We ‘read’ the face in order to understand the emotional constitution and intentions of the opposite person: without face-to-face interaction, there is none of that communication which we have learned from very early on, a process of learning through a mimetic back and forth. And yet, certain facial features remain a mystery.
This companion volume to the exhibition at the German Hygiene Museum in Dresden features 26 essays on specific images, media, and formats in which we encounter faces. The contributions discuss historical and present-day phenomena such as the portrait and the image of Christ, selfies and advertisements, veils and passport photos, mug shots, and robot faces. Their cultural and social contexts, their importance for the individual, and their effect on the opposite person unfold in view of the formation, history, and production method of these respective forms. Histories, religions, and cultures, both familiar and foreign, are literally given a face.