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Face/OnFace Transplants and the Ethics of the Other$
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Sharrona Pearl

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226461229

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226461533.001.0001

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Conclusion: Face Transplants and the Ethics of the Other

Conclusion: Face Transplants and the Ethics of the Other

(p.156) Chapter 6 Conclusion: Face Transplants and the Ethics of the Other

Sharrona Pearl

University of Chicago Press

This concluding chapter examins public performances of facial and bodily manipulation by Orlan, Genesis P- Orridge, Michael Jackson, and Joan Rivers thinking about how these bodily canvases open up arenas for new ways of thinking about the body, the face, and the self. It considers what physical identity means in the online arena, and how new possibilities of face and body mutability might create space for a radical reorganization of relationships. Drawing on a number of theorists of the face including Emmanuel Levinas, Judith Butler, Deleuze and Guttari the chapter argues that it’s time to come up with a new ethics of the face, a new conception of what faces mean and what we mean when we look at faces. The face, manipulated by transplant, by other surgery, by accident, by time, changes in multiple ways. And these manipulations may be called cosmetic or reconstructive, and these two may not be all that different. We have to understand, and also ensure, that the loss of face does not mean losing face. If we take all that seriously, we won’t put the faceless on trial. Only then, may the full radical potential of the surgery, of hybridity, be unleashed.

Keywords:   ethics, Emmanuel Levinas, Orlan, Michael Jackson, Genesis P-Orridge, Joan Rivers, the other, online identity, bodily determination, digital bodies

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