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April 10, 2007



A Game of Alterity and Identity

Participate in Martha Gabriel's SKINdoscope by entering your personal data and your skin color (by clicking the button "add your skin"), and choosing your position in the kaleidoscope. You can also interact with the SKINdoscope by controlling th speed, mirrors, zoom and filters, or by choosing a specific visualization mode (skin, gender, name, age, etc...), therefore changing the visual presentation and effects.

The skin is the largest human body organ, and besides being its protecting layer and a system that regulates the body temperature and receives pain and pleasure stimuli, it also strongly contributes to the individual identification: it is the skin that in the first place separates physically our inside and the outer world – the other.

Among several skin characteristics that distinguishes one person from another, its color is one of the most interesting and maybe the most controversial. The human skin has nuances of colors that form together a true and interesting aquarelle. The skin has been reason for passions and wars in the human history, for it can either unite or separate, either regarding the semblance or the difference. “The difference is simultaneously the base of the social life and permanent source of tension and conflict.” (Gilberto Velho, in “Cidadania e Violência”, 2000).

According to the skin color and some other physiological and characteristics, the present work – SKINdoscope –builds a kaleidoscope on the web, where the poetics and visual result are formed and depend on the relationship between the pieces and the shapes and colors of each one, in a game of alterity and identity.

The SKINdoscope is formed by the pieces that represent people who have interacted with the work – the size of each piece is proportional to the person’s BMI (body mass index), the color of the piece is the person skin color and the shape of the piece is determined according to the person gender. The position each piece occupies in the space of the kaleidoscope is defined by the person herself/himself, and she/he can choose who to stay close or far, or even to overlay.

In this context, the present web-art work intends to lead the participant to reflect about questions related to the poetics of the alterity, the value and importance of the difference, and the way we interact with it when we face it by positioning ourselves among others.

Posted by jo at April 10, 2007 04:36 PM