The face – a tool to lie with

People tend to think that the face is central for communication between people. I am not so sure. I think we think that the face is central. The face is what we use to lie with. We lie in the sense that we are being polite or chose to show an attitude. Bur the face is also where we first look to see what someone else are saying, even though that where we only find what he or she is trying to say.

To illustrate what I am trying to say I will exemplify with two examples:
When we work with our basic training (a series of specific movements) I ask the students to use their body and dynamics of movement (wish I define as size, power and speed in the movement) to communicate. 99 % of the students keep looking in each other’s eyes or faces to seek communication. Besides the students stand so close to each other that they are not able to either see more than someone’s face or relate to their own bodies in relation to the others. When I tell them to put paper plate masks (flat, round paper plates with only round holes for the eyes where there is impossible to see anything else) in their faces they keep seeking in the faces, even if there is nothing to see there.
The other example is a common exercise with neutral mask. I ask one student to put on their masks and reach out one hand with the palm upwards. Then I ask him or her to slowly walk up to the audience, fist to ask for something, then to demand something of them, then to force something on them and finally to offer them something. Almost always when we do this exercise the students in the audience relate how the face change when the actor change his body language, even though the “face” in this case is nothing more than a piece of plastic.

What I want to say with this is that the communication doesn’t lie in the face, but in postures, gestures, movements, attitudes we do with our bodies. But still we are so fixed with the face that we interpret if it is the face that communicates and we ourselves keep trying to first communicate with our face.

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2 Responses to The face – a tool to lie with

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