The Sex Behind The Mask

By | February 11, 2012

If there’s one thing that can be said of art and fashion is that it’s all derivative. That is in no way a derisory comment it is an observation on the fact that all creative people are made up of their experiences, where else do they get their creative inspiration? The truly talented creative personality takes their experiences and uses them to express themselves in new and original ways.
Bearing that in mind I have to say I’ve noticed a trend within the visual arts recently that I think originates in the fetish scene.
Gas masks.

Maybe it’s just me but look at the video above from Nero. Yes the video, although I like Nero in this case it’s the visuals that caught my interest. The bad guys have gas masks. Now watch this, from Sucker Punch, more bad guys, more gas masks.

It’s not so much that the guys wearing the gas masks are “evil”, it’s the dehumanising effect the mask has on the wearer. I don’t have a thing for gas masks, I think they are different, fun, striking and provocatively extreme but I don’t have a fetish for them. What I do think they do is to give a new sensory experience to the wearer and make them something other than themselves, abstract, odd, in fact a lot of things that a mask does but just more extreme.

Visually I love them and I can track this back to my liking for the artist H R Giger who most people will know from his work on Alien and Alien 3. His work is awash with industrial and visceral images or creatures both humanoid and reptilian who often wear goggles, masks and appear to be becoming part of a machine or twisted non-human biological entity. In the more extreme images their bodily orifices are probed and invaded by various mechanistic and organic tentacles; or is it that they are exuding them?
Take a look at his work and you’ll see what I mean.

The fact is that once you’ve seen Giger’s work you are changed by it. Even if you do not like it he’s one of those artists who leaves an impression, and if you have a tendency towards the gothic, mechanistic, apocalyptic and macabre you will probably love him.