The simple act of dividing my face in half and mirroring those halves creates numerous versions of myself, varied, but related. They span from faces that are pristine and beautiful to faces that are uncanny and deranged, yet they stem from a single source. The results of this simple process are often surprising, which mirror our own experience as human beings of a ‘narrative identity.’ That is, through our ability to perceive a continuity of time, we must learn how to “integrate contradictory aspects and tendencies into a coherent, overarching sense [of self],”a process relegated to our ‘implicit other,’ or our inner narrator. Those that cannot do this, cannot combine their first-, second-, and third-person perspectives of themselves, leading to a feeling of being, simultaneously, several different people; varied, but related.1
Much like the Greeks used proportion and idealism to create a meta-image of man, and thus, an image of humanity, so do these symmetrical variations seek to find a meta-image of self. According to the ideas of aesthetician and plastic surgeon Steven Marquardt, beauty resides in symmetry; this attraction stemming from our primal search for companions free of disease and defect.2 However, Marquardt posits that this appeal of symmetry is not an abstract aesthetic ideal, but an appraisal of the relationship of a person’s face to a visual image of ‘humanness’ programmed into our genetic code.2 Thus, a correlation exists between symmetry and humanism. Relative to this theory, I have found that although the mirroring of my own face does occasionally evoke surreal beauty, it is equally likely to create uncanny-valley versions of myself that are discomforting, disquieting, and yet, also hauntingly human.
Thus, this process of mirroring creates both variety and symmetry, each exploring what it is to be human; mentally and physically, we are both one and many.
- Fuchs, Thomas. “Fragmented Selves: Temporality and Identity in Borderline Personality Disorder.” Psychopathology 40 (2007): 379-387. Web. 31 May 2012. < http://www.klinikum.uni-heidelberg....>.
- Marquardt, Steven. “Archetype Theory.” Marquardt Beauty Analysis. Marquardt Beauty Analysis, Inc., 2005. Web. 31 May 2012. < http://www.beautyanalysis.com>.