Masking - Nüshu -
"MASKING - Prologue -" is a collection of portrait photography capturing the protagonist's essence and voice through each Mask in the speculated world of MASKING. The project was inspired by how Masks creates prismatic identities in both digital and physical space. It can be an empowering medium to explore identities and be used as a political act form. Whether physical, digital, or invisible, masks are necessary tools that have become a part of Homo Sapiens as social beings. The mask hides and, at the same time, reveals the self that lies inside. It becomes a gateway to revisit the relationship between their existence and the Cosmos.
The Mask design is inspired by the Nüshu script, a writing system created around 9th century by and only for women in China's Hunan area. Nüshu was a solution for the social separation the women had at that time. The creation of their own script leads their way to communicate to each other to strengthen their collective consciousness. This act and the script become a strong core of their identity. The design combines this symbolic act together, creating a collective presence using the Mask as a tool of revelation and political action.
In this fast-moving modern world, we live in a co-existing digital and physical world, creating digital twins with multiple personas. This leads to revealing and discovering another dimension of our identity. Simultaneously, our digital identities are encrypted in the system for data mining, mass manipulation, mass surveillance, and biometric stereotyping. This project speculates on how Mask can be used as a powerful political symbolic act for resistance and a tool for seeking the self.
Model ▲ Steffie Harner
Photographer ▲ Ilan Derech
Lighting ▲ Ice Elloso
Director/3D/Concept ▲ NAOWAO