In 2004 Shelley Jackson launched her project SKIN, a story published in tattoos on 2095 volunteers. One of those volunteers is one of Omnia Vanitas Review‘s very own lovely editors, Ms. Lily Robert-Foley.
This is part of that story as told through those voices and read on their marked bodies with their own stories.
What’s so fascinating is how each word, already inscribed on a text, moves through texts, bonding to and inserting itself within other texts, exists outside of both their own text and Jackson’s texts, creating a third text of immeasurable size and weight, leaving the reader of the word, the wearer of the word, aware of the inevitability of natural erosion. Rebutting the claim that “writing is words that stay,” this story moves, it breathes, it hurts, it loves, and, eventually, it dies.
From this time on, participants will be known as “words”. They are not understood as carriers or agents of the texts they bear, but as its embodiments. As a result, injuries to the printed texts, such as dermabrasion, laser surgery, tattoo cover work or the loss of body parts, will not be considered to alter the work. Only the death of words effaces them from the text. As words die the story will change; when the last word dies the story will also have died. The author will make every effort to attend the funerals of her words.