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Facial politics of images and media: Mask, body, immunity

Facial politics of images and media: Mask, body, immunity
Facial politics of images and media: Mask, body, immunity

How do the types of mask and masking that emerge and proliferate in the 21st-century media ecologies relate to the specific political and techno-aesthetic conditions that characterise this age of connectivity? I address this question by looking at two different functions of the mask that have been discussed separately: facilitation of disguise and of inhabitability. The former is epitomised by the balaclava of the activist, the latter by the protective mask of the physician. My main argument is that these seemingly disparate functions can both be discussed as immunitary capacities. The concept of immunity here is drawn predominantly from the writings of (bio)political philosopher Roberto Esposito. The project accentuates the multiple uses, functions and forms of the mask and what this multiplicity opens up by allowing us to think about the tensions between absence and presence, image and embodiment, inhabitability and uninhabitability, contagion and immunity. The significance of the mask, in this research, pertains to its liminality and its ability to negotiate these dualities. The project investigates the mask as image, medium and technique. That is, the mask is understood as a symbol, a material artefact and a technology. One of the key references for this taxonomy is German art historian Hans Belting’s theorisation of the triad of image, medium and body in the book, An Anthropology of Images. I discuss the processes of mask and masking through the media theoretical conceptualisation of ‘cultural techniques,’ of which Bernhard Siegert and Thomas Macho are central theorists.

University of Southampton
Soncul, Sukru Yigit
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Soncul, Sukru Yigit
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Parikka, Jussi
cf75ecb3-3559-4e53-a03e-af511651e9ac
Bishop, Ryan
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Soncul, Sukru Yigit (2019) Facial politics of images and media: Mask, body, immunity. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 213pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

How do the types of mask and masking that emerge and proliferate in the 21st-century media ecologies relate to the specific political and techno-aesthetic conditions that characterise this age of connectivity? I address this question by looking at two different functions of the mask that have been discussed separately: facilitation of disguise and of inhabitability. The former is epitomised by the balaclava of the activist, the latter by the protective mask of the physician. My main argument is that these seemingly disparate functions can both be discussed as immunitary capacities. The concept of immunity here is drawn predominantly from the writings of (bio)political philosopher Roberto Esposito. The project accentuates the multiple uses, functions and forms of the mask and what this multiplicity opens up by allowing us to think about the tensions between absence and presence, image and embodiment, inhabitability and uninhabitability, contagion and immunity. The significance of the mask, in this research, pertains to its liminality and its ability to negotiate these dualities. The project investigates the mask as image, medium and technique. That is, the mask is understood as a symbol, a material artefact and a technology. One of the key references for this taxonomy is German art historian Hans Belting’s theorisation of the triad of image, medium and body in the book, An Anthropology of Images. I discuss the processes of mask and masking through the media theoretical conceptualisation of ‘cultural techniques,’ of which Bernhard Siegert and Thomas Macho are central theorists.

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Published date: September 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 437090
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/437090
PURE UUID: c89c9951-9f8a-4efc-bb67-06073434e829
ORCID for Jussi Parikka: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2248-6377

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 16 Jan 2020 17:34
Last modified: 21 Oct 2020 04:01

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Contributors

Author: Sukru Yigit Soncul
Thesis advisor: Jussi Parikka ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: Ryan Bishop

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