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About Varied / Professional Florian-KMale/Germany Group :iconanthro-gratia-artis: anthro-gratia-artis
Anthro for Art's Sake
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I'm FK from Germany. I create a lot of stuff like characters, creatures, logos, fonts, designs and insanity.


I usually don't thank for faves or watches and I don't watch back only because someone watches me. Please don't thank me for whatever I may or may not do.

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"We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?"

— Dawkins, Richard: Unweaving the Rainbow – Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder.
4 Unmasked Demons

"Mother fear, daughter phantom!"1 — Manfred Hinrich

This is the last chapter of the first essay. We will draw a final conclusion and ask ourselves some questions about the face of the good and evil and will look at some similarities and differences between the two that we noticed so far.

. To conclude this first essay we will compare the face of the good and the face of the evil for a last time. We noticed that the universal patterns Jung detected while analyzing the dreams of his patients are indeed still present in the depiction of modern heroes and the modern villains. These universal patterns, or symbols, found specific ways of expressing themselves — as faces or masks. We still encounter Aristotle's classic male, fair skinned, robust and beautiful hero who fights for justice and truth while being hit by tragedy, in modern media. The hero is a meme that is depicted in certain ways — from his robust appearance to his eager gaze. In comparison, the meme of the evil, the villain, the monster, remains as an ominous and obscure shadow that is only hinted at, but not shown, or as some kind of devilish mask that scares us because of the attributes it uses — like claws, horns etc. The face of the hero seems to be relatively specific while the face of the evil can wear different masks without showing its true qualities. The masks of the evil do not seem to become a true face. Their attributes lose their effect if looked at isolated (remember the beard, turban, bald heads and jump boots which only evoke the associations of something seemingly dangerous if they are combined).

. But is the face of the hero not equally a mere mask if it always uses similar attributes (like the shape of the face, the hair style etc.)? It seems to be the case that formulaic hero faces like the ones we often see in American comics around the 1960th are nothing more than masks behind which the true face of the hero is hidden. These heroic masks appear to be in consonance with villainous masks like the one Dürer's devil wears — masks that show us the "costume" of the hero/villain by using specific attributes that create the impression of something good/evil when they are combined. The main difference seems to be hidden in what lies behind these masks. The hero and the villain are stronger than the masks they wear, but in different ways. The hero does not work if he is decorated with seemingly "good" attributes alone. He needs to take actions that show his heroic qualities. A gaze, a motivation, a reaction — whatever shows us that a character has human traits — allows us to identify ourselves with him and to share his struggle — and with this to see him as the hero of his story. Every mook and every gnome can turn into a hero if he offers us a way of identifying ourselves with him; and in this case traits that appeared "unpleasant" or "outside the norm" might even become the distinctive features that let him stand out from the masses of template heroes. His imperfections might make him even more likeable and show that the hero does not need a mask to be recognizable.
Unfortunately, the villain often does not have this bonus. We do not necessarily expect evil deeds from the monster. We do not expect evil motivations and evil explanations. To the contrary, the evil often seems all the more disturbing the less we know about its motivations. The monster can present itself to us standing in a corner and we will judge its costume as something dangerous and evil. The photograph of a devilish mask can scare us without the need to do anything. With this it seems that the idea of the evil does not move on its own. It does not need to. We provide it with motion by reacting to it, by turning away from it, by running. The monster in half-light at the end of the corridor does not need to run towards us. It can stand there and look at us and we would still feel the urge to run away from it. It makes us do something while not doing anything itself. If the hero was standing there doing nothing we would not think positively about him for just looking heroic. We would expect him to help us or at least to do something to show us that he is the hero. The monster is less fortunate. It is judged more harshly.

. Is the evil forced to be static and the monster obliged to not move, because any change and any movement might give us just enough information about it that we might start to understand it, and with this eventually lose our fear of it? Can it be that the evil does not even have emotions of its own but uses the emotions we project onto it? Like our fear? We might fear the night, but do we really fear the "face of the night"? Do we fear the absence of light? Do we fear the "masks of the night"? A black animal prowling the nightly forest? Or do we actually fear a feeling the night will create? Do we fear the prospect of being alone, without orientation, quietness and coldness? Is this fear the true way in which the evil expresses itself? The fear created by us, lending the evil the power to move? The power to manifest itself in our heads and even in reality as some kind of proxy-monstrosity? does not move on its own through the internet. The image has no spooky powers that make it pop up anywhere. It needs people to be moved and spread. Behind every forum and every archive the image haunts there are people who collect it, write stories about it and share it. And the image needs to be moved by people to not get lost in the depths of the internet. To not be forgotten. It is the idea of a devilish power that appears in the corner of our eye, that hunts us, that waits for us in the dark and that smirks at us which has gotten a poignant visualization in the image of as an example of how something scary and imagined can enter the real world. But it still needs us to be effective at what it does. Whatever evil power and whatever ominous feeling it might confront us with, it is always something we lend to it. We give it its vitality and make it move all on its own. As if it was alive and more than just an image. Like the haunted video in Ringu — it would have no power of its own if nobody watched it.

. With this the first essay is completed. Our observations will be the basis for further articles to come. In the next essay we will take a look at the aesthetics of the ugly and ask what importance the gruesome and the ugly have and how they interact with the idea of the beauty. For centuries the beauty was considered to be the highest ideal in art and ugliness was just put aside as the absence of anything beautiful. Ugliness was reserved for all the bad and everything without ideals. But the ugly changed. It became more powerful and eventually turned into a moment of art that might even be more important than the beauty.

The next chapter will be
The Shadow of the Beauty – Part 1: The Tyranny of the Beauty


1 — Original: "Mutter Angst, Tochter Gespenst!"

Last updated: November 2015

3 The Face of the Evil

— PART 4 —

"If anxious thoughts turn into sensations of fear, I have created a monster which did not exist before."1 — Harald Gebert

In this last part of the chapter "The Face of the Evil" we will take a look at how creatures without a face work and how the avoidance of a face can create a portrait of the evil too.

. In the previous part we wandered around some memes and asked the question if the Evil and the Devil could be memes themselves. I want to continue to walk this path and look at some other popular memes first.
Slenderman could be seen as a modern reincarnation of the traditional Boogeyman — a creature of folklore that is said to abduct children that stay up too late at night or that dare to enter remote or dangerous places. Like the traditional boogeyman Slenderman lurks in dark corners and nightly woods. He appears to be human but has no face and moves without making any sounds. He can easily be interpreted as a symbol for the unknown and the anonymous that is hidden in the dark depths of the internet. A person who hides his face; without character and without a real name; in analogy to the unknown people that stalk the internet anonymously. Other versions of Slenderman could be seen in The Rake or The Strider. They too are basically faceless creatures that hide themselves in the unknown.2
And this brings us to the last part of this chapter. All the previous parts dealt with the question how the face of the evil is depicted. This part revolves around the question how faces can be stolen, hidden or distorted. In Slenderman we can see a figure that again does not only get its spooky potential from the stories that surround it, but also from its appearance. Slenderman has no face and with this has no ways of expressing emotions through it. Albert Kümmel notes that the Devil too actually has no face, only ways of expressing himself through distortions and grimaces.3 Creatures that have no face appear ambivalent, androgynous and anonymous. We mainly use the face of a person to read his feelings, thoughts and intentions. If a face is missing we are left wondering, uncertain and lost. But a person has still ways of expressing himself; for example through actions and poses. A figure without a face that runs towards us is completely ambiguous, because we are not able to say why it is running towards us and what it will do to us if it reaches us. Is it happy to see us? Does it want to hug us? Does it want to run into us? Does it want to kill us? Does it simply want to run past us to escape something else? We have no idea, because we cannot read the intention of this creature. The only thing we can do is to assume the worst and run away from it before we find out what it wants the hard way (we will talk more about this effect in another essay).

I: Slenderman, the modern Boogeyman of the internet.

. With this the circle is closed; from the face of the evil over a lack thereof back to the unknowability and inconceivability of the evil. Authors like H. P. Lovecraft knew about the potential of the truly evil; the avoidance of clarity and a specific face. Instead the evil is only hinted at, it is paraphrased and only its actions are shown, not its face.
"Bear in mind closely that I did not see any actual visual horror at the end",4 Lovecraft writes at the beginning of one of his scary stories. He foreshadows that the reader will not see the actual evil, but he will experience its frightening deeds. Lovecraft takes away the mask of the evil, but not to show the face behind it. He takes away the mask to let the evil be without a visual representation. This allows the scary and evil to return to its primal state of something unexplained and unknown. The idea of not creating a specific image for the evil was used by many authors and artists besides him. You can see the theft of a specific face for the evil in Hansruedi Giger's Alien (1979), in John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) and in the modern Necromorphs in the video game Dead Space (2008). All these creatures do not have a concrete face, but a bubbling distortion of the fragments of something that once was a face. The evil resonates with these contorted and seething face fragments and stays unknown and alien despite of being provided with a body. A single image is replaced by a puzzle, ambivalence, suggestions, symbols and associations that hint at the evil without showing it plainly in the end. It becomes visual absurdity. Something without logic. Something abstract. And with this something frightening.
The Thing is an absurd hybrid of various monstrosities and at the same time is nothing in particular. It can change its shape, can imitate people, can live inside our bodies and can kill us in insidious ways. Cut off from the civilized world and trapped in the isolation of Antarctica this "thing" can become anything and anyone. It takes on the faces of other people; disguises itself. These ever changing and unspecific traits are what makes the creature so effective. It is no human, no animal, no alien, it has not even a real name. What is it? Just a "thing" that cannot be compared to anything we know.
In the first movie adaptation from 1951 the Thing was depicted as some kind of Frankenstein monster. John Carpenter however decided to not give his interpretation of the Thing a specific body. For him the general story was scary, but whenever the actor in a Frankenstein suit entered a scene the frightening aspect was lost. The watchers simply expected so much from an indefinable thing from another world that a costumed actor was not scary enough to meet these expectations. To prevent this Carpenter decided to reinvent the Thing as a fragmentary and shapeless mass of human and animal body parts that can change its shape at all time.5 Today the Thing is regarded as one of the icons of the body horror sub-genre which other creatures like the Necromorphs reference.

II: The evil can be visualized without having an actual face, but fragments of something facelike.

. We conclude this chapter by noticing that the real evil might not have a face after all. Maybe anonymity is what creates its terror in the first place. This unknown, faceless evil manifests itself in the imagination of each person. There it is not bound by anything and can change into the most terrible form a person is able to imagine. In reality there is no face that is as gruesome and as frightening as the face we are able to imagine in our heads. Maybe we are able to take a brief look at the monster in a movie, but the monster needs the chance to hide itself again in the unknown to keep its obscurity intact. To not fall apart when we are allowed to rationalize and understand it. With a mask and a face the evil is just a potential, an assumption with limitations, but the faceless idea of the evil can be anything and it can lurk anywhere to finally get us.

. In the next chapter we will draw a final conclusion and compare the face of the good and the face of the evil for a last time while taking into account what we noticed so far. It will be the end of this first essay.

The next chapter is
Unmasked Demons


1 — Original: "Wenn aus ängstlichen Gedanken auch noch Angstgefühle entstehen, dann habe ich wahrlich ein Monster erschaffen, welches es zuvor niemals gab."
2 — Slender Man:…, The Rake:…, The Strider:…
3 — Albert Kümmel does not agree with Luther Link that the mask of the devil is inflexible. Kümmel, Albert: Fratzen. in: Löffler, Petra / Scholz, Leander: Das Gesicht ist eine starke Organisation. Köln 2004, S. 74
4 — Lovecraft, Howard Phillips: Der Flüsterer im Dunkeln. Audiobook, Sprecher: David Nathan, Torsten Michaelis. 2010, Kapitel 1
5 — revokcom: Fear on Film.… ,…,…

I —…
II — Schofield, Glen: Dead Space. Visceral Games, 2008,…

Last updated: November 2015


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PrincessAoio Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2016  New Deviant
Florian-K Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2016  Professional General Artist
Thank you! Thank you! 
Stixwitdafix Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2015
I like your logo. ;)
Florian-K Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2015  Professional General Artist
Thanks :)
aatanoodle Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2015
your philosophy is to seek is it philosophy...go there, why ask me.
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