Body marking/body mapping : technologies of shifting subjectivity through skin shedding machines
This research investigates the practice of tattooing as a material, affective and superficial technology of shifting subjectivity, that is, in its power of inducing effects of subjectivity. Moreover, it argues that tattooing can be considered a micropolitical resource toward the production of experimental, creative and subversive paths of subjectificationa nd against machineso f homogenisationa nd bodily conformity. Drawing from Spinoza, Deleuze and Guattari, and from personal accounts of body modification, I discuss tattooing as a technology of empowerment and mobilization of subjectivity whose intensity, by way of the dis-organization of the bodily surface it induces, is capable of instigating lines of escape and liberation and entering into the production of new subjectivities. I have developed my argument by following several lines of investigation: the historical and cultural location of the practice of tattooing; an overview of Spinoza's philosophy; the production of subjectivity by way of Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari's thought; and the analysis of the skin as the material site of tattooing and as a contested trope of identity. Finally, by looking at the distinction between skin shedding machines and botox machines, I have claimed tattooing as a micropolitical tool of liberation. Both the skin and subjectivity have been examined in terms of their production. I have discussed the skin as the site of manoeuvres of dis/organization of corporeal matter. I argue that its continuous unfolding radically questions the polarization surface vs. depth and a notion of identity predicated upon the skin seen as a boundary. This research aims at being a contribution to current debates on subjectivity and embodiment and, as such, it pertains to the wider project of rethinking the bodily roots of subjectivity. It is concerned, in particular, with how to create, express and sustain new forms of subjectification that resolutely place embodiment, desire and becoming at their core.