Envisager / Facing

Issue 8, Fall 2006

Edited by Johanne Villeneuve

Faces impose themselves in various forms, through various relationships and reappearances (memories, traces, projections)—the effects of presence. Beyond the categories of “surface” and “expression,” easily identifiable in studies and descriptions of the face, faciality engages in a similarly dynamic fashion two technical intentions whose apices ultimately intersect: “figuring” and “facing.” From the outset, the question of the face seems to call forth that of the image. This obsession with the face as an imaginary focal point of all images and as a point of contact of all figurability, can be observed in Christianity as much as in psychoanalysis as well as in the history of image techniques, understood in their auratic dimension, from photography to cinema, including painting. The question of the face, inasmuch as it also supposes facing, draws the interpretation of the image closer to issues of collective identity, towards an “epoch” of faces, closer to the technologies of mediation that reveal them, towards a historicity of faces in terms of their belonging to social groups and of the tensions and intercultural relations that their figuration gives away.