|Eyes in the skin I live in: The incorporation of surveillance in mediatized culture
Increasing biotechnological interventions to the human body challenge long-established Western binaries, opening up a political struggle over the boundaries they cut through. While this incorporated technology enhances and extends human lives, it can also facilitate (self-)surveillance, especially when it involves information technology capable of generating, analyzing and sharing data. At this confluence of human and nonhuman, the article explores the polysemy of technologized skin through Pedro Almodóvar’s film The Skin I Live In (2011) and Michel Foucault’s notion of “technologies” by which humans are made subjects. The complex system of power in this film is compellingly figured in the protagonist Vera’s transgenic skin, leading us to regard the skin itself as “eyes,” that is, a (self-)surveillance so pervasive that it disappears from our conscious register. The contrast between Vera’s flawless transgenic skin and the apotropaic “worn” skin-space she creates—the conspicuous patchwork seams and shadowy wall markings—highlights the incorporated surveillance in de-corporalized society, while at the same time suggesting potential strategies to live through today’s complex system of existence.
|26 (2), pp. 185-210
|Taylor & Francis
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
|Web address (URL)
|04 Dec 2019
|Published in print