"The permeability of the face, the face as a site of multiple abyssal orifices, is taken up by Deleuze and Guattari in A Thousand Plateaus in the chapter entitled Year Zero: Faciality. According to Deleuze and Guattari, the face is a product of signifying regimes. They ask:

When does the abstract machine of faciality enter into play? When is it triggered? Take some examples: the maternal power operating through the face during nursing; the passional power operating through the face of a loved one, even in caresses, the political power operating through the face of the leader…the power of film operating through the face of the star and the close up. Deleuze and Guattari 2013: 205

Counterintuitively, they argue for a concept of faciality as that which is inhuman on the human body, in fact they say that the face is not even part of the human body unlike the head.

It would be an error to proceed as if the face only became inhuman beyond a certain threshold: closeup, extreme magnification, recondite expression etc. The inhuman in human beings: that is what the face is from the start. It is by nature a close up. Deleuze and Guattari 2013: 199-200

This is why in primitive societies (note the anthropological thrust) the head was more privileged than the face, hence the use of masks and other headgear that obscured the facial features. Furthermore, they argue that faciality extends beyond the face and can take up and overcode the whole body, or parts of it"

  • BLONDE: PRELIMINARY MATERIALS FOR A THEORY OF THE BOMBSHELL, Isabel Millar, V e s t i g i a , V o l u m e 3 , I s s u e 2 , D e c e m b e r 2 0 2 2