Self Identity. The definition of of one’s own personal identity, as created and decided on entirely within the individual’s mind scape mind scape about themselves. This concept, perhaps more correctly described as a paradox, has been for millennium lodged deeply in the human psyche often exhibiting as an existential crisis.
As well as a definition, Self identity is also a self recognition. Response to one’s name. Reconnaissance upon visual stimuli such as one’s own photo ID. The visual plane is perhaps the most simple mode in which to assess self identity. People associate the strongest with their features – whether a button nose, hollow check or a scar on their chin.
Oscar Munoz, a columbian artist based in Cali, directly attacks this visual familiarity and the broader concept of identity in his work The Game of Probabilities. To create the The Game of Probabilities, Oscar Munoz gathered numerous I.D. photos and cuts them into sections that encompass one particular feature, then he takes one section from every I.D. photo and combines them to create a new face. In some sections the subject has long hair and in other short. Although the sections are years apart, the face they create is most definitely the same.
The power of The Game of Probabilities lies in its subjectivity, the silent message rather than overt. Personally, my attraction to The Game of Probabilities was largely visual. I loved the way the groves of the artist’s fingertips match the lines in the subject’s shirt. How the diverse tonal range of his face contrasts to the even nude of his hand. The way a corner of the photo presses gently into the thumb creating a near imperceptible shadow that cradles the photo, giving the object a sense of value – like the concept of identity it represents. Politically, the piece is also interesting. The similarities in the merged faces possibly representative of the growing globalization of the world and diminishment of unique cultures. ID photos in general, carry a double weight as one’s nation and place in society have a tremendous impact on the correlating life and identity a persona is entitled too. The title of this piece “The Game of Probabilities” alludes to this as well.