Wednesday, March 3, 2010

the pointing space

Divina Proportione
(the golden proportion as applied to the human face)
Luca Paoli, Venice, 1509

A face is something formed, something crafted.

Imagine the head of a person as a block of wood or a chunk of marble with several pieces chiseled away. Now wrap your hands around the form of the block, the form of the chunk, and, cupping its angled planes with your palms, feel the shape of the head. The face is one of those planes.

The face is the side of an object which stands above all other sides, a highlighted facet of a three-dimensional object: the time-telling side of a pocket-watch, the hand-winding side of a clock. The head of an animal is like the form of a clock and the face is its most telling side. A face is the site of human interface. A cliff has a high and steep face. The surface of a crystal is a geometric arrangement of faces: a facet is simply a small face.

When a speaker of English calls the front of the head a face, the metaphor is a sculptural one. A face is something formed, something crafted.