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For what, actually, is "the face"?

A history of the face? It is an audacious undertaking to tackle a subject that defies all categories and leads to the quintessential image with which all humans live. For what, actually, is "the face"? While it is the face that each of us has, it is also just one face among many. But it does not truly become a face until it interacts with other faces, seeing or being seen by them. This is evident in the expression "face to face," which designates the immediate, perhaps inescapable, interaction of a reciprocal glance in a moment of truth between two human beings. But a face comes to life in the most literal sense only through gaze and voice, and so it is with the play of human facial expressions. To exaggerate a facial expression is to "make a face" in order to convey a feeling or address someone without using words. To put it differently, it is to portray oneself using one's own face while observing conventions that help us understand each other. 『FACE AND MASK』 - Hans Belting

The difference between face and image recapitulates the difference between presence and representation, for representation implies that the face itself is absent. Yet the living face produces an expressive or mask-like representation in order to show or conceal the self. Human beings engage in the representation of their own faces. We all embody a role in life.

1. Left : Men in Black: International (2019) 
2. Right : David Altimed - Crystal System (2019)