Masks and the Space of Play

In: Research in Phenomenology
Author: Pascal Massie1
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  • 1 Miami University
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Masks are devices and symbols. In the first instance, they are artifacts that allow opposite poles to take each other’s place. They split the world into appearance and reality, manifest and repressed, sacred and profane. In this sense, they are dualistic. But by so doing they invert these terms. In this sense, they are dialectical. In the second instance, they exemplify doubt about people’s identities and the veracity of their words; they denote duplicity, inauthenticity, and hypocrisy. The conjunction of these two senses resides in the fact that masks are at the threshold between reality and fiction. Such a threshold makes possible the emergence of a space of play which asserts that the world does not express a determinate and final order but is infinitely open to the emergence of new, yet transient, forms of self-organization and open new spatiotemporal worlds.

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