Shelley Jackson’s Skin is a literary work published on skin. It started in 2003 with a call for participants in Cabinet Magazine and continues to this day. Jackson’s 2,095 word story is being tattooed word by word on the skin of volunteers, creating a story that will live- and die.
When I heard about this project in 2004 I was instantly drawn in. I loved the idea of being connected to others through art and tattoos. I sent in my application within the week. Several months later I was delighted to be accepted, and then I saw my word………dead. I struggled with the idea for several weeks, but could not bring myself to have that word tattooed on my skin. I sent Shelley a polite email declining my spot in the skin project, but have always been a little sad about it. Today, I checked out Jackson’s site for skin and was amused to find on the opening page dead among the words pictured. It seems the person who ended up with it shaved a spot on their head and had it tattooed there. I personally think that’s a bit of a cop out, but it was interesting to see the fate of my word.