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Singing Masks
elliptical thoughts re: Interface
written c. 1990 by Norman Lowrey

Singing mask: specific accretion of serendiptitous synchronicities. (Newage jargon). Co-operative venture. Sculpture/sound. Clay's sonic potential. Vessel flutes. Sculptural forms. Flute as mask. Eureka! Mask as flute. Mask assumes voice. Image speaks. Sounds mythologies through performance/ceremonies: Creation (Earth-Song); Death/Rebirth (Shamanic Voices); Origins (phases of the moon, winter holidays, flute masks); Journey to the Spirit World (Inside/Out). Inua Yua. Image's Person. Personna. Mask. Spirit. Voce. Vox. Verbum.

Propensity of clay to suggest images. Delicate balance between emergence and imposition. Same with wood. Discovering image. Life/force. Discovering individual voice. Each image its unique sound. Con-figuration and patterning. Morphogenetic field. Primal epigrams. Hieroglyphs. Of the subconscious. DNA. RNA. Hologram. (>MF masque>ML masc(us), mascus ghost, masca witch>?)

false face concealment representaton disguise ("Who was that masked man?") pretense revel facial likeness

Paradox. I put on a mask to better reveal myself. To myself. The mask narrows my vision. Literally. Yet I become something other. Spirit of the Dream Time. Earth-Song. Raven. Bear. Blue Oracle. Spiral. My assumptions about language are challenged.
I speak with another voice. I join my tribal brothers and sisters in reenacting the archaic mysteries. This is an exploration. A Science. An art. Neither. Pre-verbal. An inter-species communication. Conversation. A turning around.

Closure. Autonomy and community. Bud flowering. Coalescing of atoms. The singing mask, as I have developed it over the past ten years, is a means for enfolding past/ present/ science/ art/ human/ nonhuman.

The Origin of Singing Masks

People ask where the idea for singing masks came from, and I usually say that it was the result of making ceramic vessel flutes in sculpural forms and realizing one day that these were covering my face. It was then just an obvious step to make them large enough to cover the entire face. Hence the flutes became masks. That's what I usually say. But here's the the real story:

Now one day, Sun was out dancing through the Sky, dancing to the drumming, as usual, when Old Void came along. Old Void was angry because, while everything was made out of Void, Old Void felt ignored and hated. Old Void thought that everyone else thought Void was ugly and maybe even evil. So Old Void went around stealing everyone's drum. It took a long time, but eventually there wasn't any drumming anymore, and just as had been predicted, life stopped.