Feature: Masks (II)

“Ritual is intimately connected with the mask, either in the wearing that hides the true face, or in the adoption of a public face.” – Subhash Kak, ‘Ritual, Masks and Sacrifice’ (2004)

“Formal”, London July 2020. Photo: Jaime Ashworth.

“Masks are boundary objects, mediating between ideas of contamination and con-
tainment, purity and pollutions, and life and death. Since the outbreak of COVID‐19, however, they perform a new kind of boundary work: they demarcate and negotiate the relationship not only between the body and the body politic, the individual citizen and the national whole. In the hands of politicians, the political logic of masking reinforces other governmental practices – from the imposition of travel bans, the neglect of migrant populations and stigmatisation of certain minorities – in defining the permeable boundaries between nation and self, self and other from the invading virus.”
– Nicolette Makovicky, ‘The national[ist] necropolitics of masks’ (2020)

“Breathe”, Kings Cross, June 2020. Photo: Jaime Ashworth.

“I wish to underline that the configuration of this apparatus as a mask of reason was predicated upon the redefinition of what pertains to reason and what not. If it could defend doctors and the general population from plague, this was possible only because it both stopped germs from entering the human body and transformed the public from a superstitious and ignorant mass into an enlightened hygienic-minded population: a population that accepted the contagious nature of the disease and corresponding, often brutal, quarantine and isolation measures.” – Christos Lynteris, ‘Plague Masks: The Visual Emergence of Anti-Epidemic Personal Protection Equipment’ (2020)

“Kiss Me Quick”, Kentish Town, August 2020. Photo: Jaime Ashworth.

“The mask works by concealing or modifying those signs of identity which conventionally display the actor, and by presenting new values that, again conventionally, represent the transformed person or an entirely new identity.” – Donald Pollock, ‘Masks and the Semiotics of Identity’ (1995)

“49er”, Kings Cross Station, August 2020. Photo: Jaime Ashworth.
“Wear your heart on your sleeve”, Granary Square, Kings Cross, August 2020. Photo: Jaime Ashworth.
“A Whale of a Time”, Kentish Town, August 2020. Photo: Jaime Ashworth.
“Flower Power”, Coal Drops Yard, August 2020. Photo: Jaime Ashworth.
“Coordinated”, Kentish Town, August 2020.
“A Grand Day Out”, Coal Drops Yard, August 2020. Photo: Jaime Ashworth.
“Swift”, Kentish Town, August 2020. Photo: Jaime Ashworth.
“Morning”, Bloomsbury, Jul 2020. Photo: Jaime Ashworth.
“Back to Work”, Kentish Town, July 2020. Photo: Jaime Ashworth.

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