Skin is both surface and container. It marks the absolute limits of organisms, but also functions as an interface—acting as a plane of contact with what surrounds it while protecting what lies beneath it. Skin has lent itself to artistic and literary symbolism, and its variegated associations provide generative vectors for philosophical inquiry. Cabinet 66, with a special section on “Skin,” includes an interview with Richard Dyer on the history of “whiteness”; Anne Chapman on the branding of skin to signify the status of animals, and humans, as property; and Jeffrey Kastner on the physiology and psychology of psoriasis. Elsewhere in the issue: Alyssa Pelish on the persistence of medieval European trade symbols in the United States; Mahan Moalemi on the CIA’s protocols for exhibiting its material history; and Susan Zieger on the society palmist Cheiro and the relationship between chiromancy and the development of finger- and palm-printing techniques for forensics.
Edited by Sina Najafi.