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Masks of Masks (2019)

It’s a farewell of true faces, a routine and a time loop in the age of beautified selfies.

This project began with the disappearance of my cheek piercing in a beauty cam app. The app will automatically beautify your face when you use it to take selfies, so you can have big eyes, flawless skin, small face in the picture. I didn’t think much about it until the app automatically erased my piercing, and I got a little bit mad because the ‘beauty app’ doesn’t think my cheek piercing is pretty. When I looked at other auto-modifications, I suddenly realized that there’s such a huge cultural bias that was reinforced by this kind of technology.
In Face and Mask: a double history, Hans mentioned that by looking into the mirror, we not only have ourselves looking back, we also see the social gaze. The masks we put on are not only shaped by ourselves but also sculpted by the culture we are in. The ‘beauty’ templates and filters in that app are like foot-bonding or Corsets in the modern age. It’s so easy and painless for us to constantly make those cybermasks and squeeze our faces into them, that we don’t even notice our true faces are gone.