Body Images

May 2019 Issue

Our skin is a complex organ. It is a membrane, a thin dividing surface between our bodies and all that lies within us and the exterior world without, a protective container for the fluid memory of the seas we carry within us. It is also a direct interface between the two: it conveys tactile information to our nervous systems and identifying information to others around us. Thus it both partitions and connects. Though the skin is undeniably of vital importance, the ways in which it is important shift with social changes: the meanings attached to skin and physical attributes are not fixed. And where lies identity, then, within or on our surfaces? In the brain, the consciousness, or even the microbiome? The films in this issue seek out identity and body as they move back and forth across the barrier of the skin, from our sun-buffering melanocytes to our particular neurochemistries, visiting in the process the many other meanings invested in our bodies: desire and reproduction, health and disease, life and death, yoga class and beach.

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