Thursday, 29 November 2012

The Skin Project

The Skin Project is a  short story by author Shelley Jackson which is inked onto the bodies of volunteers. The story itself is 2095 words long and so far Jackson has accepted 1875 applications and 553 tattoos have been completed. In 2003 Jackson quietly put the word out for volunteers, she recommended the applicants read some of her other published works as the story of the skin project was a close guarded secret and would only be released to an applicant after the tattoo was done. 

In effect the story would in some way become a living breathing piece of literature or art. As the "words" died the story would change, and when the last "word" died the story would cease to exist.  Jackson has said she will make every attempt to attend the funerals of her "words," although it is inevitable that many will live on past her own death.

 Once him  or her has had their tattoo done Shelley says that the participants will be known as "words." They are not just carriers or agents of the word they bear but embodiments. Its hard to actually define what  The skin project is. Perhaps a piece of performance art, a literary work or even a social experiment? But whatever it ultimately "is," part of it will always exist for a time whether or not the whole story is ever fully realized.


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