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Shelley Jackson: Skin

  • Location:
    Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive,

Shelley Jackson’s Skin is equal parts conceptual art, performance art, literature, and Internet art. In 2003, Jackson wrote a 2,095-word short story that will never be published in the traditional sense. Instead, Jackson invited readers to apply to have one word from the story, chosen at random by the author, tattooed on his or her body. The project is ongoing and to date 1,875 applicants have been accepted and 553 have been permanently inked. This topographical writing will live in the world on the bodies of its participants (who are known as “words”) and will die as they do, word by word.

"[For] the Berkeley Art Museum, Jackson has cut together video footage from a small set of participants to tell a new sub-'Skin' story. Recently Jackson e-mailed them to ask that they record a video of their word tattoo, and to say the word. From those words recorded by participants, she's edited and assembled a new story." - Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times