The Symbolical Head project reflects on the concepts of phrenology (a pseudoscience developed by Joseph Gall) that intended to explain characteristics such as the character, mental capacity, and personality of people by a meticulous inspection of the skull and facial features. This began to be used to spread racist and xenophobic ideologies in Europe of the 19th century, as well as analysing psychopathic or criminal behaviours in individuals (Cesare Lambroso).


In this photographic project, which was materialised in a series of 8 digital photographs mixed with illustrations, models with different facial characteristics were chosen, in order to obtain their phrenological "reading", based on Gall´s writings. The purpose of this project was to determine how a study of the skull and its dimensions DO NOT determine the mental capacity or the personality of a person. 

 

Our character and personality are formed by a complex interplay between our genes, our experiences and the cultural context we live in. They cannot be deconstructed and analysied by simple craniometric measurements. This work reflects on behaviours that still characterise contemporary society, where we prejudge people by their appearance when we hardly know them.