Masking and Movement
The history of the mask can be traced back even 9,000 years ago connecting them to early rituals and traditions. The mask itself can have many different symbolic uses. For one, the obvious use is that it hides one’s visual appearance. Subsequently, a person could then act and behave however they pleased because their reputation would not tarnished. Without an identity, one could act as a noble even if they were of a lower class status. This could be seen prominently throughout Venice, specifically, during the Carnival ritual.
Much of the habits and characteristics of wearing a mask seen throughout history is very similar to what I saw and experienced in our “Masking and Movement” class. Before the class began everyone was acting like their normal selves saying “Hello!” and being friendly. However, when the professor told us to choose a mask everything seemed to change. It was if the class went under a spell and completely changed their personas. The professor dictated the words “Embody the ask,” and we also had to portray how the mask made us feel. The first mask I wore covered my whole face, containing silver flares around the top of the mask. The facial expression of the mask is very stoic and it made me feel very confident. I walked around with a proud stature and also acted as if I was above everyone. Because the mask covered my whole face, I had more room to do whatever I wanted with my body expressions. However, my second mask was on the complete opposite of the spectrum. This mask had a very long nose with unordinary colors and it only covered my eyes and my nose. This mask made me feel more self-conscience of all the actions and facial expressions I was making. After this I realized that the each individual mask is very important in the way that different masks bring out different personas and behaviors.
The observations I made during the mask workshop in class can be linked to what went on during Carnival in Venice. The elaborate masks in the Carnival ritual act the same way as they did in the workshop for me. The masks gave the citizens different identities where they could act however they wanted disregarded social class. This gave them a well needed break from the social hierarchy and ultimately produced a more peaceful environment less likely of rebellion.