Renaudin Mary - Frei Drang

The loss of the identity -social identity

The loss of the identity -social identity


Even if I'm not sure to find again the photographies, which show this performance, I still want to explain the approach of this work. This was a performance, which I have done in High School and it was the first performance which I have ever done -and also surely the most challenging. Because at an age of 16 where we doubt everything, show oneself with a meaningless mask, white shapeless clothes, doing this during an evening, a night and a morning ; it is understandable that it can be trying. Especially that through this way to act, we become the center of attention of every schoolmate and every passers-by, although the most important message of this performance was an attempt to erase oneself : paradox of the anonymity which finally becomes impossible.


According to Levinas and his concept, the face is the most important part of the body, it is not just a physical « place » but also a metaphysical one, and it shows the depths of the human psyche, the deep, the suffering, the conscious and unconscious of a human. We can also say, that our faces are what differentiates us from each other, the « signature » of our own identity. In fact, it shows most of the time gender, age and feelings of an individual. It's why my starting point in the attempt of losing my identity (social identity, it is naturally impossible to stop being myself in my inner) was my face, which I made a cast of and which gave me a sort of « deathmask » -whether it is in the process of moulding or in the horizontal posture or because I had my own face frozen in one expression, when they should be many of them.


Afterwards I had to think of the clothes. What should I wear if I was trying to erase my own image ? Because the clothes that we wear characterize ourselves too, nowadays more than ever before. I choose the color white, which is for most of us the symbol of neutrality.


But the wish to lose the own identity – at least , as much as possible- wasn't part of a simple question about what characterizes an individual and its personality or way of being. It was a more engaged subject and a questioning about the notions of being human and humanity which were the tackled issues.


If I choose this attempt to lose my identity during an evening and a night – also the next morning- it was because I wanted to commemorate the massacres of two Palestinian refugee camps of West Beirut -Sabra and Shatila, which had taken place from approximately 6:00 pm 16 September to 8:00 am 18 September 1982. Sabra and Shatila, these two names that I had written on each side of my mask.


I also had lost my identity as a person to question this word and the meaning of « humanity » and the madness of the people that we can become.


Among the reactions to my work were a large amount of laughs -when we think about of such horror as this of a massacre.


All in all, this performance was restricting physically -to eat, sleep and accomplish the usual gestures with this mask -but it was especially hard psychologically, because I had to face the looks of other and endure the laughs which reached myself and remembered me of mobbing at school when I was younger-despite the attempt to forget my individual conscience, this work has touched my own personality.

Date of the performance : from 17 p.m 8 February 2011 to approximately 10 a.m 9 February 2011.