Creepy, Brilliant Short Story Remix Is a Video of Tattoos

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The original incarnation of Shelley Jackson’s short story “Skin” was written in 2003 to be published on the bodies of 2095 volunteers–in the form of tattoos, one word per person, in black ink. (“As words die the story will change; when the last word dies the story will have died,” Jackson writes. “The author will make every effort to attend the funerals of her words.”) Only Jackson and the tattooees are permitted to see the full text of the story as she wrote it.

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Now, for the Berkeley Art Museum, Jackson has created a sort of video remix of “Skin.” She asked her “words” to send her videos of themselves showing their tattoos and reading them aloud; from the 191 videos she received, she constructed a new, 895-word story, by editing them together into a ten-minute-long video.

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Jackson discussed the new project with Carolyn Kellogg of the L.A. Times. You can also find videos of some of the individual words at that link.