Skin deep

I was going to hold off on this article until later in the week, but then I realized that I’d be depriving people of a really special treat.

So I was going through the newsfeed submissions when I found this article on an exhibit currently going on at the Wellcome Collection in London.  The exhibit is titled “Skin” and it showcases the significance different cultures have placed on skin over the centuries.  It includes images of early anatomical lessons, as well as skin samples preserved to showcase the tattoos on the donor.

A black and white photograph of a patient in a Parisian hospital is the first piece in the exhibition. Running the length of the patient’s back is a giant scar.

“This photograph sums up a lot of the underlying themes in the exhibition, first and foremost the exploration of skin as a physical and metaphorical frontier between the inside and outside of the body,” co-curator of the exhibition Lucy Shanahan told Reuters.

Pieces of tattooed human skin from the 19th century are on display beside a case devoted to the Maori tradition of tattooing.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “That’s it Rob?  An art gallery?  What kind of treat is that?”.  Well, I have a simple answer to that.  Keep reading.

Now after reading about the exhibit, I thought to myself, “Self, what can I post that would go well with a story about the historical study of skin?”.  Well, I started to look around when I heard the familiar chime of an e-mail hitting my inbox.  I switch windows to find an e-mail from Jen.  In it contained something that some of you may have seen before, but I’m guessing a lot of people haven’t.

The following is a video from a 1995 documentary on a very young Allen Falkner.  In it Alan talks about the importance of skin and flesh, and the significance he puts on working with it.  I could go on, but I’ll let Allen take it from here.

It’s interesting to look back 15 years, or 1500 years, and see just how much the modification of skin has played an important role in our cultural development.  While techniques and procedures have changed over the years, the importance we as humans put on identifying ourselves through our skin is still present.  In the video Allen has captured the essence of realizing that the skin is much more than just a simple organ covering our bodies.  The skin can serve as a doorway to both spiritual enlightenment and personal satisfaction.  Through modifications such as suspensions, one can not only learn about themselves, but also how they wish to become through whatever transformative act they choose.

If you don’t have time right at this moment to watch the video, I encourage you to come back to ModBlog when you can and watch it in its entirety.  This is our version of a historical document, one that will one day be added to a historical exhibit such as the one going on at the Wellcome Gallery now.

4 thoughts on “Skin deep

  1. Interesting to see Allen then compared to him in the Modify documentary. Anyone know what song was in the background?

  2. Good god that song got on my nerves! Why is it that filmmakers feel the need to add stupid music like that in order to try to emphasize that you’re supposed to be watching a “mystical experience”? It really cheapened the whole thing for me. Not only is there nothing wrong with silence, but it’s never lame or overcompensating or leading.

    Anyway…rant aside: good interview, very cool footage. I’m going to wait a couple days then watch the last half with the sound muted so I’m not getting gradually angrier and more distracted as it goes on.

  3. ACK. I feel like there needs to be a disclaimer with that video. So much that you see is outdated. Povidone iodine, bowline knots, no-locking carabiners…and a 22 hooks superman? Well actually 18, the interview was shot before the suspension. Still that’s rather excessive for any weight, much less 135 pounds. (damn I was skinny 15 years ago)

    Oh well, I still think it’s a good piece that Sean put together. What you probably don’t know was the film was actually a school project. Sean was studying to be a director at the Brooks Institute. It was released at one point on a compilation called Strange Life the Breech, but I don’t think many copies sold. Heck there is even a Marionette 2 shot in 2005, kind of a 10 years retrospect. It was never finished but I know Sean has that footage somewhere.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>