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Collaborative Stories on Skin

Set of
Set of

A Story Tattooed On The Bodies of 2,095 Strangers

— February 24, 2009 — Art & Design
A story tattooed in words across the bodies of 2,095 strangers started with a call out on a public forum, and slowly people started showing their interest…

I am word number 275 in a story of 2,095 words. I have only met one other person in the story in my travels, and I’m fine with that.

People get tattoos for many reasons. Some want a way to decorate their only body, others do it for a way to rebel, and then you have people like me that gave up part of their own flesh to publish a one and only copy of a story.

“Writer Shelley Jackson invites participants in a new work entitled ‘Skin.’ Each participant must agree to have one word of the story tattooed upon his or her body,” explains. “The text will be published nowhere else, and the author will not permit it to be summarized, quoted, described, set to music, or adapted for film, theater, television or any other medium. The full text will be known only to participants, who may, but need not choose to establish communication with one another. In the event that insufficient participants come forward to complete the first and only edition of the story, the incomplete version will be considered definitive. If nonparticipants come forward, this call itself is the work.”

I read that in Newsweek and HAD to find out what was going on, and after a quick online search, I was introduced to Miss Jackson and decided right then I had to join.

I get asked all the time what my arm means, and I am more than happy to sit and discuss it. There are only 2,095 of us in the world and as the words die, the story changes. That’s the beauty of it. The story itself is a mortal, living, breathing thing…

My word is “the.” It is located on my upper bicep and I love it. It might just be a simple word, but without these simple words, you would never have such tales as Moby Dick or any other great classics.

In agreeing to be in the project, you agree to the rules that she gave, which are linked to below, so you can all it takes to become a word.

Be it a love for body art or just books, Shelley Jackson has a bit of something for everyone.