Masks are seen in almost every culture globally as a tool used in cultural and religious festivals, rituals, ceremonies, and funerals. Masks embody spirits over generations, becoming the primary medium to transcend into a different soul, a divine deity, an ancestor from the past, or a spirit from nature. The mask is seen as a gateway to another realm of time and space, enabling the person to transcend into this realm. A relatively similar approach is taken in indigenous tribes for sacred places, where two realms of worlds connect- this reality and the other supernatural time and space. This can be seen in the reflection of the beliefs of Blackfeet of Native Americans, how the supernatural beings exist within the same time and space with our world. The sacred space is an essential factor for the tribe’s collective existence, the interaction between the people and the transcendence of their soul. A mask becomes also a sacred space, a channel to a mirror of reality of various times and spaces, revealing the unseen. A mirror, creating a world that is not exactly the same, but also across different time and space. A world where the gods come from, a different time flow. The body is here, but the soul is in the altar place, however, at the same time experiencing the connection between the self and the world. Together with the body movement, and the music performed with the tribe one leads to a trance state, leading to a connection to the other realm. The Mask becomes a central medium of becoming the gateway.
Together with the embodiment of the self reconnects to the spirit of what the mask embodies, connecting to the spirit of the other realm. To the Cosmos where time and space flows differently, existing through different time and space. Humans inherently seek truth and are meaning makers of experiences, with imagination and storytelling. We explore the mystery of why this world began and where it leads, the world of life, death, after death and the in between. To seek these answers, masks are a creation from living in the chaotic natural world of Gaia, holding passion and fear to the unknown. Now that technology has become one of our second nature, how does the use of masks become a way to seek answers to our existence?
Since the invention of technology, the life of Homosapiens has vastly shifted. Mask use is now different from the past, including avatars, AR face filters, and even living in the digital realm itself is wearing a digital mask. People can constantly change their appearance in the digital world, which can be from a mislead choice of beauty trend and from social groups that can lead to a disorientation of the identity in the real world and the digital world. At the same time, the digital mask can empower the individual to be a stronger person in real life. Living with technology has become second nature . Many professionals predict that we are heading to singularity or it has already started, where artificial intelligence will develop on its own without Homosapiens being able to control or know 100% what is happening. Many voices speculate on our dystopian future, commonly seen in pop culture, fiction books, and films, e.g. Bladerunner, and even, popular science fiction stems from a technology driven future. The famous TV series Black Mirror shows every episode an unfortunate outcome in our modern world caused by technology use. In the documentary Social Dilemma, it explains that the A.I is controlling the information for us to see, and it is controlling us more than we are controlling them. Today we are overloaded with information, and our emotion and behaviours may be strongly shaped by artificial intelligence. This can take over our choices which can affect our experience of reality and shift our identity. How will Homo Sapiens evolve together with this technology with a sense of authenticity and identity? We live at a tipping point. How can the view of animistic beliefs, the way of life looking at these spirits reflect in the technological realm?
MASKING explores the power of Masks and the meaning of animistic cultures in our digital nature—a suggestion to look back and re-imagine our relationship to nature and a connection to our inner self, navigating the mirror world through rituals and sacred Masks and allowing it to guide our way through the changes that will come to us in the near future by perceiving the whole world through rituals and sacred Masks. A paradigm shift that can happen with our core values, which we need to reimagine of our understanding of what we are, what the digital nature is, and what we are together.
“We are reaching deep within ourselves to adjust the master knob.”
― Kevin Kelly
- Kevin Kelly