Juxtaposition of Two Principles of Classification of Faces-Masks

Brauner puts in front of us six faces-masks, located in three horizontal rows, one under the other and uses two principles of their classification. One is the principle of face-mask’s stable or unstable position. And the other is the activated (vertically formed) or relaxed (horizontally formed) mouth.

We have three faces-masks with activated/opened (vertically formed) mouths, and three with relaxed/closed (horizontally formed) mouths. And we have three face-masks in stable and three in unstable position in the space.

Among the three faces-masks with activated/opened mouth two of them are in a stable position (both are in the middle row – the yellow square on the left, and green triangle on the right), and one is in an unstable position (the left round purple-brown face-mask in the upper row). Among the faces-masks with relaxed/closed mouths, two are in an unstable position (the right light blue square-like figure in the upper row and the left red reversed triangle in a lower row), and one is in a stable position (the dark blue, a more complicatedly shaped-figure on the right in the low row).

To try to explain how the factor of opened or closed mouth is combinable with the factor of stability/instability of the mask-face in the (social) space we have to get some help from social psychology. We have to interpret each face-mask as a socio-psychological human type using the stability-instability of face-mask and the condition of the mouth as metaphoric indicators of human behavior.

Let’s call the round purple-brown face-mask with a vertically formed narrow mouth on the left of the upper row a jingoist (with a face/soul as round as the globe and as earthy as mud/soil). For jingoist the idolized country s/he identifies with is like the whole globe – all other countries are semi-consciously considered an illegitimate presence on the planet Earth. Jingoist’ eyes are not articulate – s/he is psychologically too enmeshed with the land. But the jingoist loudly proclaims unconditional love for his/her sacred land and righteous hate for everybody who doesn’t belong to it.

Right under the purple-brown-earthly jingoist we see the yellow-square dogmatic who methodically/melodically preaches dogma to others, and to the right from dogmatic (also in the middle row) we see the green triangle of ideological propagandist who pierces his audience with his gaze (contrary to dogmatic who is less interested in his listeners than in his precisely precious dogma). Dogmatic is yellow – his dogma is sun and light but propagandist is green – he tries to naturalize his propaganda points, to represent them as a part of the Creation itself. While jingoist is in an unstable position – there is a place for jingoism in all political systems (it is a cult relatively independent from although in tune with social powers), dogmatic and propagandist are stable characters – they are always inseparable from power.

But who is this square-like light blue face-mask to the right of the jingoist in the upper row? It is a (comfortable) conformist. His/her mouth is always shut, and s/he always tries to be positive and optimistically adaptable. The socio-psychological relatives of conformist are the two characters in the bottom row. Their mouths are closed and they are, correspondingly, the dark blue boss (on the right) and the red guard (on the left). They both know what they have to do and they are just going about it – they don’t need to prove anything.

These two characters on the bottom row – one is confidently stably situated (the boss) and one that is confidently unstably situated (the guard), are silent. They don’t need to open their mouths – it is not through talking that they safeguard their social position. The guard is like the conformist – never in a stable position, but contrary to conformist it has immediate power. The boss is in a much more stable position than the guard or the conformist. He is rooted from both ends – to the ground – to the people on the bottom of social hierarchy, and to the top of the hierarchy (he is accepted on the bottom – with the help of the guard and the conformist, and by the top of the hierarchy – his superiors).

We are close to seeing how the factor of opened/closed mouth combines with factor of stability/instability of face-mask’s position in the space. Socially unstable jingoist is supporting the socially stable dogmatic and propagandist (by being their more primordial incarnation), like socially unstable conformist supports socially unstable guard of power and the socially stable boss (by being their common denominator).

The boss is the most complicated figure – while he belongs to the upper layers of the social hierarchy he has low position in the drawing: he has a deal with low rank employees; he is a representative of the social top on the social bottom. The bosses are served by the jingoists, dogmatists and propagandists (with loudly opened mouths), and by the conformists and the guards (with their closed mouths), that is by three not socially stable and two socially stable types. In Brauner’s “Symbolic Mutations II” the power structure of society becomes more articulate than it was in his “Symbolic Mutations I” with its less politically oriented analysis. Now all five socio-psychological types serve a single one – there is no depiction of an independent type of human being!

But why even the activated/opened mouths of Brauner’s personages are as narrow as the relaxed/closed ones? It may be his assessment of the value of jingoist/dogmatic/ propagandist’s verbal communications. This value is equal to non-speech. Their pronouncements/utterances are not adding anything to the muteness of the conformist, guard and the boss; they don’t have objective – cultural and historical value. These six types belong to and are the elements of the same socio-political universe that Brauner knew in his life time and we know today as well (the same but with some regrettable developments).