ModBlog News of the Week: February 18th, 2011

Fridays on ModBlog mean a couple of things.  It’s the day for the scarification follow-ups, there often is a BME Girl post, Sean posts the latest entry in his Cliff Cadaver series, and the day ends with the news.  With last week’s news being celebrity heavy, this week it’s back to business with some real news, although those damn attention seekers just couldn’t stay out of the news for just one week.

First up is an interesting story out of China.  A Belgian tattoo artist has set up shop at an Art Farm, and is using live pigs to display his art.


He decorates them with smiling faces, Louis Vuitton logos and various words. Art collectors can buy the pigs and pay for their upkeep or purchase their tattooed skins after the pigs pass away, paying up to a few thousand dollars.

Forty-six year old win said the pigs are a nice allegory that makes us think about what art means to us, and where the line exists between what art is and what art isn’t.

Now this story appears to be a couple years old, but looking back through the archives it seems that it was never featured in the news before.  As you can imagine, at the time a large number of animal rights groups were opposed to this type of art.  The main issue I see is the one about consent, in that animals can’t give it.  Judging by the video the pig being tattooed may have been sedated, as it reacted to the needle negatively, but only needed one hand to hold him down.

There’s more news to come, including a young man getting a skull tattooed over his face, and an implant that wasn’t wanted.

Much to my surprise, it seems that England has it’s own version of the Jerry Springer show.  Or possibly Montel.  Anyway, earlier in the week “Mad Dog” Deon appeared on the Jeremy Kyle show because his girlfriend wasn’t too happy with his recent facial tattoo.

His girlfriend Catherine, 31, also appeared on the ITV1 programme titled “How Could My Boyfriend Destroy His Own Face?”, during which she complained about his decision.  Kyle said: “I’m slightly struggling as to why anyone would have a skull tattooed on their face.”

Layabout Deon told the ITV1 show that he wasn’t finished with his “artwork” yet – saying he was planning to have even more tattoos on his neck.

Ignoring the biases in the article (the author referred to him as a Layabout, workshy, and a waster), it does appear that young Deon is relishing the attention being given to him as of late.

While Deon’s facial tattoos are affecting his family life, it seems that all over the world tattoos are becoming the new family scrapbook.  Gone are the days when a crafty type would come out of a shop with an armload of decoupage.

According to Smithsonian Magazine, tattoos were historically, “permanent designs—sometimes plain, sometimes elaborate, always personal—have served as amulets, status symbols, declarations of love, signs of religious beliefs, adornments and even forms of punishment.”  This has been going on for thousands of years. Not too far removed from where we are today.

I’m starting to understand that there must be a great emotional tie to this behavior. A memory of a loved one, a stand for independence or even an expression of deep seeded emotion.  The process goes way beyond the pain, the color and the permanency.

The author goes on to describe how her husband and son have strengthened their bond by getting tattooed together.  It’s sappy, but it’s always nice to see a story where people who get modified aren’t portrayed as lazy or criminal.

In fact, the myth that modified people can’t get a job is slowly disappearing.  The Vancouver Sun stopped by the Canadian offices of Google and discovered that business are starting to look at people for their skills, and not their appearance.

At Google’s Canadian headquarters, a strict dress code is enforced: employees must wear clothes.

There was a time when tattoos and piercings would mean difficulty getting onto an organization’s staff; today, eliminating employees with tattoos and piercings would make it difficult for many organizations to even have staff.

So while people may be more accepting of piercings and tattoos in the workplace, it seems that the idea of the Queen of England having a tattoo isn’t something everyone is ready for.

The cartoon-style image hangs outside the newly-refurbished Queen’s Arms pub in Acomb, near Hexham.  Acomb Parish Council chairman Major Charles Enderby described the sign as “most distasteful and inappropriate”.  But owner David Crawford-Emery claimed the image was based on his mother, who he said “looked like the Queen”.  The sign shows a woman resembling the Queen smiling, with what appears to be Buckingham Palace in the background, her arms folded with a tattoo of the name Phil on one of them.

Buckingham Palace said it would not comment.

While we’re on the subject of acceptance, the Arizona Daily Wildcat has an interesting piece on Jewish law and how it applies to tattoos.

While Jewish law explicitly prohibits having a tattoo, there is no basis for restricting burial rites for Jews who violate this rule, contrary to popular myth.

The Torah, or written Jewish law, states “you shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourselves: I am the Lord.”  This, as well as the Jewish concept that Jews are created b’tzelem Elokim or “in the image of God,” is sometimes interpreted to mean Jewish people are banned from getting tattoos, according to information provided by the Hillel Foundation. While, in Judaism, voluntary tattooing shows disrespect for the gift that is the body, it is no worse then violating any other “halacha,” or Jewish laws.

Max Rusinov, Hillel’s Israel fellow, said that tattoos are a symbol of slavery. For example, during the Holocaust, the Auschwitz concentration camp prisoners received number tattoos as a form of identification. This helped propel the myth that Jews cannot be buried in a Jewish cemetery if they have a tattoo because it disrespects Holocaust victims.

Moving over to medical news, researchers at MIT have found a way to implant microscopic medical sensors into a person without having the body reject them.

MIT is exploring embedded microworm biomedical sensors that detect medical conditions. And reading them could be as simple as shining a light on the skin and seeing the microworm tattoos glow.

A number of research effortsare underway to exploit micro-particle technology to sense medical conditions, but though there are significant benefits to the technology the actual design of the system is problematic–nanoparticle and microparticle sensors can be swept away from where they’re supposed to be by normal body processes. Enter MIT and Northeastern University with a new variety of microparticle sensor that’s shaped like a long narrow tube–hence microworm–that is better at staying put in tissue and provides a greater surface area for chemical reactions. They’re also so small that the body is effectively unaware of  their presence, and there are fewer of the rejection issues that can occur with larger embedded sensing devices.

While the author of the article calls them fluorescent tattoos, they are much closer to an implant than a tattoo.

Speaking of implants, imagine what it would be like to wake up one morning and discover that you have a piece of metal embedded in your flesh.

After a woman, Anne, in Lyon, France, complained of postsurgery abdominal pains, an X-ray revealed a pair of 4-inch-long surgical scissors that somehow had been forgotten and left inside her for five months.

Anne realized something was wrong after a coughing fit when she discovered that the point of the scissors had suddenly pierced her navel. The scissors were finally removed and she’s reportedly planning to sue the surgeon.

Ok, so it might not have been an implant in the traditional sense, but it does have a great gallery of other medical instruments found in people.

On a completely unrelated note, some people really love their iced coffee.

But Kieran Hollis of Stuart Park loves Paul’s Iced Coffee so much he had a carton of the stuff tattooed on to his shoulder.  Mr Hollis, 26, hasn’t even told the iced coffee manufacturer, Parmalat Australia, about the tattoo, because the thoughtful fellow feared it might be upset about copyright issues.

The tattoo was inked in “one of the better” parlours in Thailand, where his parents work, after a Darwin tattoo shop refused him. “They wouldn’t do it, they said it would look stupid,” he said.  At the airport on the way to Thailand, Mr Hollis downed a carton of the tasty milk drink before flattening it into his baggage, so the tattooist could recreate the image about six months ago.

He said that the tattoo cost about $100, and took about 7 1/2 hours.

I think the most newsworthy item in this story is that he got 7 1/2 hours of work done for $100.  I wonder if I can get that price from my artist.

To wrap things up with the real news, we have a story that isn’t actually news at all.  Heck it’s not even an article.  Irena Werning is a photographer working on a project that has adults recreate a photo of themselves when they were a child.    One of the subjects of her work is someone longtime ModBlog readers will recognize, La Negra.

I love old photos. I admit being a nosey photographer. As soon as I step into someone else’s house, I start sniffing for them. Most of us are fascinated by their retro look but to me, it’s imagining how people would feel and look like if they were to reenact them today… A few months ago, I decided to actually do this. So, with my camera, I started inviting people to go back to their future.

And now it’s time for the part of the news that really shouldn’t be called news at all… The Celebrity Round-up!

According to news reports, if you put two moderately tattooed celebrities near each other, they become the best of friends.  Because of their tattoos.  No other reason whatsoever.

Kelly Rowland, who you may remember as the one who wasn’t Beyonce in Destiny’s Child, got her first tattoo.  There isn’t much else to say other than it’s a masterpiece.

When she’s not taking naked pictures of herself to be “accidentally” leaked on the internet in an effort to bring back 70s bush, Vanessa Hudgens got her first tattoo as well.

Vanessa Hudgen got her first tattoo, a butterfly on her neck, at Bang Bang Tattoos in NYC on Wednesday. Vanessa’s friend/MTV Australia VJ, Ruby Rose, tweeted, “Please don’t blame me… But i may have convincedVanessa hudgens to get a tattoo.. Now. Her first… ” Apparently, the choice was between her neck or her ribs

So while Vanessa had her friend tweeting about her new tattoo, some “celebrities” like to do their own tweeting.  Like this pearl of wisdom from Teen Mom 2 “star” Jenelle Evans.

“Getting tatted up :) straight chillin. singleeeeee :P,”

And that’s a wrap.  For this week anyway.  Enjoy your weekend everyone, and to my fellow Canadians, enjoy the long weekend.

As always, if you find a story you think should be included in the weekly news, just send me the link through this handy webform.

36 thoughts on “ModBlog News of the Week: February 18th, 2011

  1. About the tattooed pigs: the artist Wim Delvoye (that’s his name) has been tattooing them since 1997, so it’s a very old story over here :) The pigs are sedated with the help of a vet and they get treated very well when displayed at art exhibitions. In the end they live better lives than their relatives at overcrowded farms. win!

  2. I would love to have a few of those running around my farm. The local farmers would likely fall over. But they are slowly getting used to me at the feed store and have started joking around with me… one guy has even taken the first step and got a tattoo. It was of a john deer tractor but it rocked

  3. Like jvn mentioned, Wim Delvoye has been doing this for years. It’s a bit of a shame that you missed that (poor show!), or is the 46 year old artist’s name “win” some sort of deep sarcastic jibe?

  4. if i were a pig, i would rather be sedated and tattooed, then live the rest of my life in likely decent conditions, than the alternative that animal production pigs face.

  5. Said it on Reddit and ill say it here, that guys facial work is a blatent ripoff of Zombie’s face, and a terrible one at that.

    Also, fuck the guy tattooing pigs.

  6. Hey, c’mon, only a portion of Canadians get a long weekend here… stop rubbing it in. :( —from long weekendless BC.

    PS. With some of the other things we do to animals… tattooing them and then givign them nice lives aint that bad. Just sayin’

  7. @Tobias: I was thinking the same thing about that guy’s facial tattoo(s)… Zombie Boy wears it so much better too… (As far as quality and general attractiveness goes.)

    As far as the pigs… I’ve seen that story before, and I’m pretty sure the pigs were sedated (if they weren’t, then that’d be a problem). As far as consent goes, would the pigs even be AWARE they have tattoos? If they aren’t aware, does it matter that they have them? If it’s not infringing on their quality of life permanently, what’s the opposition?

  8. So the animals are forced to undergo an unnecessary medical procedure just so some douche can has walking grunting shitting pieces of artwork.

    I wonder if the artist would be happy to be sedated whilst I tattoo unwanted designs all over him and then parade him round the streets as a freak show?

  9. as far as the tattooed pigs go: it’s art. art is supposed to make us think about stuff.
    for example: why do most people think it is horrible to “forcibly” tattoo pigs and then parade them around (but treat them very well in all other respects, until they die of natural causes), but happily accept overcrowded pig farms where the animals are treated horribly and slaughtered after a short and miserable life?
    everyone who thinks tattooing pigs is bad but eats pork (other than free range, i guess) is a hypocrite imho.
    even if a few pigs have to “suffer” through a tattooing (which they will probably forget pretty quickly, i don’t see how a little bit of discomfort is going to traumatise them permanently, all animals have evolved to be able to withstand some suffering), maybe that’s a price worth paying for making people think about this stuff.

  10. While factory farms are certainly worse than what this artist is doing, that doesn’t make what he’s doing ok. It just makes it well, not quite as bad, but still wrong.

  11. maybe we should gather up a bunch of mentally disabled people who have no more reason than that of a pig; sedate and tattoo them. Seems right to me

  12. ITS A FUCKING PIG! calm the fuck down and just chill. Yes, it has tattoos, was it in HORRIFIC pain(?!), oh wait, it didnt seem to be in any pain, matter of fact, it didnt seem to even fucking notice. it was however, and clearly you could see it in the poor guys eyes, ashamed… yup, completely and utterly embarrassed about something it couldnt even see nor does it probably give a shit about.

    cutting a dogs ears, unnecessary and not pleasant for the dog. then again neutering animals isnt pleasant either. people need to take into perspective that if it doesnt affect the animal than there shouldnt be an issue. think about the poor tree that had to loose a branch to wear those fucking plugs you wear in your ear. hypocrite.

    with that said, societies stupid for judging that people with tattoos get along like were some elite group simply for tattoos, and celebs need be left the fuck alone. funny bout the single and getting tatted up and single business.

    and i have to point out the Vanessa Hudgens reporter suggested that celebreties “get their name tattooed in Morse code”. correct me if im wrong, but Morse code, is a sound. wouldnt that technically be brail(sp)?!

  13. Few words of WIM DELVOYE.
    Well, he may be cruel tattooing these pigs, but as he claims – all of these are slaughterhouse survivors rescued to live on Wim’s farm, where they can sleep on couches or green grass if want to. As they die (from natural causes) they’re skinned and the skin can be bought.
    What is worse, letting the pigs die to be eaten, or tattoo them, let them live until they’re old and then sell their skin? here’s few pics of these happy pigs;)

  14. @inka dogs and cats are pretty much forced to be sprayed and neutered; and that’s an unnecessary medical procedure, not tattooing a pig. certain dog breeds also have their tails docked for no reason.
    tattoos aren’t medial procedures in the first place. technically tattooing anything, including yourself, is unnecessary so calling it that is really a moot point.

    pig doesn’t care either way, it’s sedated and obviously feels very little to no pain, then it gets to live a carefree life. if pigs had the ability to choose between that and being slaughtered, i think we’d be seeing a lot more tattooed pigs.

  15. @beryl

    spaying and neutering are NOT unnecessary medical procedures. Here’s a convenient link that says everything I could say about the subject:

    of course tattooing ourselves is unnecessary, but it’s OUR CHOICE. The pigs don’t get a choice in this just like babies don’t get a choice when their parents pierce their ears. Modblog has had this discussion many many times, but seriously if you compare being tattooed to being spayed and neutered, you are completely ignorant on the subject and probably shouldn’t even bother trying to argue a point.

  16. Though I’m not entirely happy about the pigs. I think that the fact it saves them from an early death, means it’s a choice they would probably take if they could make it. Also pigs wouldn’t feel tattoo’s like humans do. The thickness and toughness of their skin is much greater than ours.

  17. @pharmacist: Brail and Morse code are completely different. Morse code can most definitely be written, it’s a series of periods and dashes. Ie: .–.–

  18. Just because these pigs live better than factory farm pigs doesn’t mean that the way they live is okay. That’s like saying that beating a kid and letting it go to school is okay because at least you’re not locking the kid in a dog cage.

  19. Is it just me, or is Vanessa Hudgens not wearing a top while getting a tattoo on her neck?

  20. Sick Sick Sick. What a lack of respect for life. Anyone involved in hurting those animals should be punished. The guy that tattooed his own face can at least suffer the life-long consequences of his self destructive actions.

  21. Baryl, the sedation is the medical procedure, and not without risks to the animal. Also the tats are shit, so fail on both animal welfare and artistic merit.

    Mad Dog already had a tribal facial tattoo on his left cheek which the skull has (poorly) covered up. Is the tattoo real (doubtful knowing the rep of the Kyle show)?

  22. I wish you would realise that it is a show in the UK – the UK is not just England. England is one country in the UK.

  23. just how i like my bacon, tattooed!

    and seriously people, pigs and most livestock usually have a pretty good life as a whole, they just have one really crappy day.

    if youre really going to go off on pigs, then im going to start the save the salad movement and investigate how sprouts are treated before theyre yanked from the earth in which they were so happy. ffs

  24. Sorry to that dude, but he’s waaaay less attractive than Zombie Boy and can’t pull it off like he does.

  25. Funny …. how art is still shocking people …especially amongst modblog community!
    I do understand why it upset because of the unrespect of animal free-will. So stop wearing leather shoes, eating bacon and giving milk to your kids!

    Apart from that, Wim’s art is wide and you should have a look to his website. Featuring the cloaca factory, gothic works and sooooo many other shocking things!!!!

  26. i think it’s funny how people use ‘art’ as an excuse to do whatever they want. maybe i wouldn’t have a problem with it if he wasn’t tattooing tacky shit like the luis vuitton logo, because honestly it just seems like he’s just using live pigs for practice.

  27. @Tobias, thank you. been a while since id really looked into those and couldnt remember the difference other than brail being a grouping of dots/bumps and Mores code being in an organized line

  28. I have mixed feelings about the pig tattoos. While I don’t think it should be done to animals as they can’t consent, it could save their life as art collectors pay for their upkeep and won’t want to see their precious piece turned into sausages! Many practices in the meat industry are more inhumane so I hope anyone who objects to this is veggie!

  29. Concerning the pigs, I am an animal lover, and I don’t have any objections against it. Think about how the pork you eat lived, in a crowded hog barn, barely able to move, stepping in its own feces, eating ground up who-knows-what. These pigs are not being treated badly, yes, tattooing can be painful, but it is something that would not be considered inhumane to humans, the pain is bearable and only short-term, as opposed to being beaten to load into a semi-truck on the way to the slaughter house. I say if it’s something humans will pay to have done, it can’t be too much worse to a 80lb pig with enough muscle and fat covering its body.

  30. Anyone who supports this needs their children tattooed without their consent. I mean, it’s not really inhumane because they aren’t being beaten and are allowed to use the sofa. I see no problem with this idea! It’s art!

  31. Pingback: BME: Tattoo, Piercing and Body Modification News » ModBlog » ModBlog News of the Week: 2011 Retrospective

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