The most momentous, most intense experiences in our life since its very beginning are related to faces. When sharp vision does not reach beyond 30 centimetres yet, faces are what appears most often in our sight. We breathe with our faces and we eat with our faces. The face is the first – and for a long time the only – means of expression that provides us with feedback when contacting the outside world. The grimaces and the sounds that we make with our faces allow us to prompt responses and achieve goals; becoming (both the grimaces and the sounds as well as the responses and the goals) more subtle and complex as time passes by. Self-knowledge begins for good when we take the first look at our faces in the mirror. Identity, dignity and intimacy are all pursued with our faces. Metaphorically, as evidenced by the abundance of proverbs and idioms, as well as physically, over the entire spectrum of acts, from kissing to hitting. Our faces are like a business card, the reading of which is one of the first skills that we gain and then improve on over many years; they might reveal imperfections even in old age. Face recognition is one of the most intensively developed and most challenging areas of the so-called artificial intelligence. Creating algorithms in this area gives us the insight into the mechanisms of perception in general. This database of facial expressions, developed during the entire life, by the entire communities and cultures, forms a code that is indispensable in building relationships. It appears to be universal, yet while treated too narrowly, it might lead to unpleasant and dangerous misreadings. Interpersonal, international and inter-species misunderstandings.
Entering the world, moving around in it, is based on creating a whole from an increasing number of different elements, while keeping the boundaries between them flexible. It all starts with chaos, slowly revealing various potentials of organisation and purposefulness. As organisms, we are relative, local, and barely stable foundations of order in this chaos. Ostensible entireties that pretend to themselves that they are consistent, continuing various lines of effectiveness in achieving goals that are more or less convergent. A face is a mask that shows a semblance of order in the current condition as well as the earlier history of events that make the so-called person. The entire sequence of successive steps comprising the life of an individual, as well as their ancestors, species preceding them, up to the proto-bacteria in the primordial ocean several billions of revolutions of the Earth around the Sun ago makes up the face – a summary of these steps, focusing their result in a given moment, offering the basis for developing forecasts as to which steps to take next. The attractiveness of the face, manifested by the regularity of its features, is a testimony of good organisation, efficiency and effectiveness in the past and the foreseeable future of the face's owner.
The first moments at the ball are full of sounds, colours and smells. The first thing to do is move. The Girl-Machine is going ahead, wanders around aimlessly, smiling – just in case. The first face she notices out of the crowd is the face of the King. Pale, indifferent, but ominously significant. The other face belongs to Arrhodes. Mysterious, attractive, promising. Unlike the King, Arrhodes reciprocates the interest. Eyes meet, faces turn towards each other. The smile – the lure – works. To the demise of them both.
Siren, not live, but from a recording and as a broadcast for now, will be out next week. And Drach got the Koryfeusz Award – that is nice.
Congratulations to the President-elect.
(transl. Magdalena Małek-Andrzejowska)