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Age, gender, race, and ethnicity prove resistant to any attempt at grouping by category or type. The

portraits are too particularized; we the people are too diverse. The public has no one face; it can only be

counted one individual at a time. Perhaps that is why the masked images from the International Million

Mask March, which Appel shot in Los Angeles on November 5th, 2013, provide a fitting coda for this col-

lection of Occupy portraits. Despite how these protesters don the same anonymous mask, the particular-

ized shows through in a distinct body pose, a specific hand gesture, a tired slump of the shoulders, or a

proud defiance. The point of the masks is to drive home that no one person or group is in charge, that this

is a movement, not an organization. But what also comes across is that this movement cuts through many

social strata and hierarchies. A nice, neat spreadsheet of social “order” all kept in check, and all-too-easy

for corporations to manipulate, is the ultimate lie these diverse portraits expose. We the people don’t fit

that “bottom line” thinking, at least, we don’t have to. Our subjectivities—and along with them our poli-

tics—can be re-formed. A good start is to respond actively to how these extraordinary images summon us

to dialogue with them.


i Nicolas Bourriaud,

Relational Aesthetics,

trans. Simon Pleasance and Fronza Woods with Mathieu Cope-

land (Dijon: les presses du réel, 2002), 15.

ii Ibid., 14.

iii Ibid.

iv Ibid., 31. As if he were foreshadowing the Occupy movement, Bourriaud cites “those temporary and

nomadic constructions whereby the artist models and disseminates disconcerting situations” as an ex-

ample of contemporary microtopias.

v Ibid., 13.

vi Serge Daney,


(Paris: Éditions P.O.L., 1992), 38; cited in Bourriaud, 21.