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.