THE HUMAN FACE IS A WORLD HERITAGE
Each and every face gives meaning to the world anD elevates the whole of humanity
CREATE YOUR OWN FACE
Our choices and actions shape our faces
EACH FACE IS UNIQUE
The face of each person says something about her uniqueness
YOUR FACE IS NOT JUST YOURS
Each face enters the lives of others and affects them, starts relationships, allows encounters
OUR TRUE FACE IS REVOLUTIONARY
The real revolution is accepting our face for what it is
THE FACE OF THE OTHER IS A MIRROR
Your face is the other for everyone else
PERFECTION IS BORING
A perfect face would not give space to the unexpected and the individual
LOVE THE VULNERABILITY OF YOUR FACE
Our face is the only part of our body that we always show naked to the world
EVERY WRINKLE TELLS A STORY
The face is like a book, each of its lines tells your story
HONOUR THE OLD FACES
An old face collects knowledge and suggests answers, it forms a society's ethic
The face is undergoing profound transformations. From the heavy use of photo-re- touching on social networks and in advertisement, to influencers whose digital appearance is almost indistinguishable from the real one and androids with increasingly anthropomorphic features, reinforced by an increasingly refined artificial intelligence: such phenomena have brought to everyone’s private and social life daily encounters with artificial faces. Faces that look very different from one another, but that share a common unattainable goal: stopping the passage of time.
Which are the repercussions of the ongoing transformations on interpersonal relationships and society at large?
Which are the effects on our lives?
Will the disappearance of the “old” face be without consequences for our communities?
In a transformation of such magnitude other important elements come into play:
- the ancient dream of creating fellow human beings, capable of emulating us and perhaps of offering a continuation to our species, giving life to intelligent beings and potentially able – one day – of consciousness and emotions;
- contemporary standards of beauty, marked by strong conformist tendencies, push to- wards the homogenisation of individual features. In a present time permeated by image-based digital relationships, deviating from these canons can lead to exclusion from social trends, loneliness and existential angst;
- removing the “old”, both as a concept and a concrete manifestation, within our societies and the subsequent man-made alterations we need to live in an apparent, eternal present.
The global scale of the transformations that the face is undergoing, driven by practices such as videographics, robotics, surgery, photo retouching, requires that we ask ourselves some pressing questions:
- what do such artificial presences mean for our interpersonal relationships and self-perception?
- what are the repercussions of the face alteration on our lives, being it not just any part of the body, but the very “place” that makes us unique, the part that renders us persons?
- what does the experience of the ‘Uncanny Valley’ entail, an experience that, as robotics studies in Japan have proved, produces a sense of anxiety in those who are faced with faces that are very similar to human ones, but that are not human (such as androids and videographic works)?
- is the disappearance of the old “face” really without consequences for our communities?
What is at stake is obviously not the free choice of individual behaviors and modifications, but the fact that such complex experiences are taking place without a widespread awareness and a shared social discourse. Therefore, it is not a matter of issuing judgments, but of starting an urgent reflection in light of the human face being the place where our sense of existence arises. Being aware of this is more essential than ever.
By proposing the element of the face as a heritage of humanity, Volto Manifesto aims to invite everyone to join a shared, collective dialogue on the themes of the uniqueness of the human face, of the digital and physical transformations that are taking place, of the unique role that the face holds for human relationships and the ethics of society.