Faceless Portraits: Take Another Look

We constantly create incidental portraits of ourselves, images left in our environment and in the memories of others. Life is a series of self-presentation, and each presentation helps to develop a 3-dimensional sense of an individual.

Yet individuals are much more than 3-dimensional. They move through time, through different doors to different contexts, to changing expectations, and it is in this that we present the complexity, the multiplicity, of self.

CourtYard02_01BC digital 3-dimensional modelling

Terrace05bBC digital 3-dimensional modelling

 

The crenelations of our mind hold memories that present and re-present changing recollections of ourselves. Thoughts flow and doors impose a structure on our access to what is there, to what was there, and to the possibilities of what might lie beyond.

Participant observation is the only option for a self-portrait and the subsequent risk of loss of objectivity has to be considered. Using multiple images and considering multiple perspectives has the potential to address elements of the question of objectivity.

Is a sense of discomfort when considering elements of your presented self indicative of good observation? The process of learning about yourself can often be uncomfortable. In this work, I seek the uncanny valleys, those uncomfortable places, boundaries that question the nature of reality.  Ultimately any presentation is a presentation of what you see and any value is in what others see.

 

Terrace05mattaHRHC01

Downthestreet

upandDown04

 

Boundaries control
Gaps in walls controlled by doors.
Safe place illusions.

 

Faceless Portrait: Me Meditation

Using digital space and objects, in a digital 3D environment, I am exploring its potential to weave a narrative to examine the sense of self in a portrait. The images enclosing the bust present aspects of personality, while camouflaging and then influencing our perception of the image. The face is disrupted, but not excluded – it is a faceless portrait.

Inside looking out.
I collect, make, and see.
My face is not me.

Me meditation
Kinaesthetic centring.
Ignoring the boot

 

I have produced a number of these portraits to cover different aspects of `self’ and have shared them on YouTube and my Facebook page.  

Faceless Portrait: The Very Centre

Faceless Portrait: The Very Centre, is my submission for the Sussex Open 2017.

Using digital space and objects, in a digital 3D environment, I am exploring its potential to weave a narrative to examine the sense of self in a portrait. The images enclosing the bust present aspects of personality, while camouflaging and then influencing our perception of the image. The face is disrupted, but not excluded – it is a faceless portrait.

Inside looking out.
I collect, make, and see.
My face is not me.

The very centre.
Dad is everything I am.
Nothing left unused.

 

Faceless Portraits: Seeming Restriction and Random Compromise

Faceless Portraits now looks at another role – another narrative that is an integrated part of my life. The digital head remains the same but a different camouflage image is imposed. This is Seeming Restriction (FP02)

Each Faceless Portrait is a separate book in a series – a new narrative as I examine this individual’s life and my sense of self. 

In Random Compromise (FP06), I enclosed the head in a virtual `glass case’. To encase something in a glass is to present the contained object as precious and so requiring protection. It presents a physical barrier to full access at the cost of a visual one. It suggests a perceived value but this is redundant in a digital environment where there is no physical access. In the digital world, this encasement is purely a narrative device.

Interestingly, as I am the subject of this representation, placing the head in a glass box induced an unexpected sense of claustrophobia.

Faceless Portraits: Father-Son Bonding

The initial head I created in Blender, was a generic head – little more than a balloon shape. So I made a representation of a specific individual: however the self-portrait was all about the objects placed on the “head”. With this head, I wanted a classic 3D bust as the starting point.

Having made a digital, yet traditional, representation of a head I looked to camouflage it with a set of photographic images from `Faceless Portraits’ a series of photographs I produced in November last year and shared on Twitter.

Inside looking out
I collect, make, do and see.
My face is not me.

The images wrapped around the face present aspects of personality that are missing from a traditional portrait, but they also camouflage and influence perception. This process of influence based around the most easily perceived aspect is usually with the face as the principal influence.

The wrapped image reveals something of the person without the traditional access of a sculpted head. The resulting image disrupts rather than excludes the face.

 

In following the traditional form of display, the head is placed upon a pedestal. It becomes a gallery item but it has no physical reality. The 3D pedestal becomes an object on which to place the head and also a surface on which to place text; just as would be seen in a traditional gallery.

 

I am playing with the metaphor of the form of gallery display. I am questioning issues to do with reality and its representational narrative. What is the nature of narrative in the digital world?