21 November, 2012

The Skin Of Kate (Is Not A Death Metal Band)

presented by
Mystic Metals Body Jewelry

The Skin Of Kate
(Is Not A Death Metal Band)


Happy Thanksgiving, kids. For my international readers, of which I have many, happy third Thursday of November. I like Thanksgiving. It's good food and family and a celebration of the infancy of a nation to become. And I don't want to hear some hippy liberal bullshit about slaughtering people and taking land and having no right and all of that shit. Just eat the damned turkey, hug your family, and enjoy the day. Worry about the political ramifications later. Isn't it awesome how I start this intro with the word 'happy' and then get all pissed off and angry? It's a talent. Be jealous.

Can you put a value on your modifications? Of course you can. Most of us would say that our mods are invaluable. Which is kind of like a value if you think about it. I guess it's not really. But we have an emotional value we've applied to them, some even a bad emotional value. I'm looking at you, guy with 'I heart Wanda' on your arm even though you're not with Wanda anymore. And of course we remember the monetary value of them too. We remember saving the money, maybe making a tattoo fund in a jelly jar that we slowly filled until we had enough for the mod (and the tip for the artist; don't be stingy). And then it ages like a fine wine. Because you took care of it like good little boys and girls. It's a one of a kind fine wine (say that three times fast), and our affinity toward it grows as in the first couple weeks it's a new and fresh thing, then after months it's a stand out part of us, then after years it is a part of our skin which seems as if it has always been there like that little scar on your knee you got when you were three before your memory started storing things. So to us, our mods are as valuable as Rafael's cherubs, Di Vinci's lab drawings, or David. That's Michelangelo's statue, not my cousin David. He's valuable too, though. But in the free market, does your modification have value outside of the cost and the sentiment?

Anything can be sold to the highest bidder, I suppose. I remember that cat who sold an in game Everquest mountain on eBay for real money. Remember that? What's that? Everquest is lame and I'm old? Ok, moving on. But our society can put a number value on anything, and if there is a cat or a kitten with the green, he can own that thing. So could someone place a value on a mod on your body and then take ownership of it? That's a bizarre concept, but let's take a second to noodle that around the old brain wrinkles.

Lucien Freud was a German cat born in 1922 who became a British citizen in 1933 to avoid those pesky Nazis. Yes, he's related to Sigmund;Lucien was his grandson. In life he became an artist, tending to paint figures and animals in a surrealistic and expressionist style. Look up some of his work; I enjoy it greatly. Flash forward toward the end of his life. Freud painted a nude of model Kate Moss. We all remember her, right? The model broad who looks like she is sucking on a straw so hard that her body has started to get sucked into her tasty beverage. Like the Alien/human hybrid thing at the end of Alien: Resurrection. At any rate, before he died he did this portrait of Ms. Moss, they became friends, and then later Freud tattooed an original work of art onto Kate. His abilities as a tattoo artist aren't terribly clear, but he did mod folks during the war with a scalpel and ink, so I suppose he knew what he was doing. So he modded this thing on the broad. Art collectors estimate that the modification itself is worth over a million dollars based on a recent sale of a Freud work that took nearly five million greenbacks.

The collectors consider Kate Moss' mod to be a valuable piece of original art, tattooed by the dead artist himself. The monetary value of that combination is immeasurable, yet we're dealing with a canvas that lives and thinks and cannot be owned in of itself. Can the art be owned but not the canvas?

If we look at the skin as a body part, which why wouldn't you because it clearly is, it could possibly have a monetary value. We can sell parts of ourselves for money. I think you can still get money for blood, right? Semen, ovum, and organs can all be sold. Those are body parts just the same. If you think about it, being a segregate mother is like selling parts of the body. I suppose renting is a better analogy, but the similarities are there. A price is being set to apply to a function or segment of the body. The segregate's womb is still of the woman, as is her placenta and uterus and all those other weird alien parts women have stuffed up in there. Then you have folks who donate their bodies for research. I would, but I think if someone wants a used toaster to fix up, it should have actually been a good toaster at one point in time. Of course, selling human remains and body parts isn't legal, but there are people who provide body parts for a 'processing fee' and shipping costs to scientists and researchers, which allows them to make money on the deal without actually charging for the people parts. I just read this sentence: "In 2002, a pharmaceutical company paid $4,000 for a box of fingernails and toenails." (source) That's the best sentence ever.

So there is a monetary value on living flesh, by that logic. So what does that mean about our modifications? And what, if sold, is actually being bought? The art or the skin or both? I suppose when one buys a work of art, he is also paying for the canvas. Most arts and craft people factor materials into their pricing. If I want to buy your tattoo, could I actually make that transaction? And should I be able to?

Tattoos are one of a kind works of art. The tattoo in your skin, regardless of if it were taken from a piece of flash off of the wall of the tattoo shop, is one of a kind. It is the work of an artist made especially for his client. But who owns it, and what are you buying when you pay for the mod? Are you buying the craft of creating it, or are you buying the art itself? Does the artist have any right to the work at all? Recently a tattoo artist sued a video game developer of a mixed martial arts game for the right to use the image of a mod on an actual fighter's model. If he wins that argument, does that not set the standard that the artist retains the intellectual property of his work? Assuming that is true, then the work of Lucien Freud on the back of Kate Moss ought to be the property of Freud's estate, and since it is just property, then oughtn't that property be treated as any other work of Freud's art? Sold or bartered or even gifted. If that is so, then when Kate Moss dies (probably from malnutrition), does the estate have the right to take the skin of Kate which features the art of Freud and present it or sell it in an artistic kind of, not at all creepy kind of Ed Gein way? Would you pay a million dollars for a swatch of Kate Moss' skin with the art of Lucien Freud on it? A conversation piece at dinner parties for sure.

It's an interesting topic to ponder, one which really doesn't have an answer so much as it buckets up more questions from a well of new ideas. Owning one's own body. A broader topic for another day, I'm sure. We in this society apply monetary value on everything. Even time we've come to value in dollars. That's what they pay you for at work, right? We pay for knowledge when we ask for experts to speak at events. We ask for invisible talents like instrument playing or singing on which we are willing to place a monetary value. So why wouldn't we be just as willing to place a dollar amount the ink that is placed ever so carefully between the layers of your own skin? It's a bizarre thing to think about, and we'll explore it more. Right now though, I have to go wait in line at a Walmart to get some shit for super cheap. The only way to spend the holidays. Pray I don't get trampled. Stay beautiful, kids.

Kate Moss Tattoo

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