PSFK’s Trending Topic: Tattoos That Are More Than Just Body Art

PSFK’s Trending Topic: Tattoos That Are More Than Just Body Art

Artists and researchers are elevating tattoos beyond ink on your skin.

Daniela Walker
  • 21 march 2014

Over 45 million people in the US have at least one tattoo, so it’s safe to say that tattoos are a mainstream form of self-expression. Nevertheless, PSFK has witnessed a rise in tattoos that go beyond body art, as people seek to differentiate their body ink from the slew of Chinese symbols and butterflies that adorn many peoples’ skin. We are seeing a new wave of ink counterculture – read below to find some of PSFK’s favorite examples.


Cyborg Instrument Reads Tattoos Like A Musical Score
Media artist Dmitry Morozov has created an instrument that uses tattoos as musical notation. The Tattoo Sound Controller uses black lines’ sensors that are mounted onto a railing that the wearer attaches to their arm. Morozov’s aim is to ‘represent the artist and his instrument as a creative hybrid’, transforming his tattoo from merely abstract lines to a musical instrument.


3D Tattoos Jump Right Off The Skin
Like the shift from medieval paintings to Renaissance onces, so is the shift in tattoo art a lesson in perspective. There is currently an ongoing rise in three dimensional tattoos, that cleverly use shadowing and contrast to create the illusion of an image literally coming off or out of the skin. Adding a new dimension – both literally and figuratively – to tattooing, injects the genre with a renewed sense of wonder.


Digital Tattoo Only Visible With A Smartphone
It was only a matter of time when tattoos and technology would merge. Artist Anthony Antonellis has created a ‘digital tattoo’ on his hand, which can only been seen with a smartphone. Antonellis embeded an RFID chip into his hand, which is capable of containing up to 1KB of data, and holds an animated GIF. Because it works using antenna signals, Antonellis can upload different artwork onto the chip, creating a gallery that is viewable only through a compatible smartphone ‘reading’ the skin. While the artist has experimented on himself, it seems like it won’t be too long before we start seeing other people with digital tats – after all its perfect for those with jobs that still frown upon ink.


Temporary Tattoos Senses When Athletes Reach Physical Exhaustion
Tattoos as the latest frontier of wearable technology? Why not? Researchers at the University of California-San Diego have developed a temporary tattoo that is actually a sensor that gauges physical exertion. The tattoo allowed researchers to gather data that normally requires a blood test to discover. While these particular tattoos had to be removed to send to the lab for data analysis, one day, tattoos could be a new form of self-quantification that requires no gadgetry other than your skin.

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