Rubbing Elbows

Interactive website, Ongoing

American Dermatology, 2014

The Internet is a mountain top. It is a vantage point from which we can examine. Click to enlarge.




In Rubbing Elbows, tattoos become geographic borders. I collect places from the Internet and compose their photos into world maps. The image above is the first in this series. American Dermatology is an exploration of culture and semiotics.


The language of maps is a product of reduction. Cartographers translate the landscape into simplified icons. Rubbing Elbows uses the inverse process. Instead paraphrasing the landscape, the map incorporates primary sources into its design. The tattoos themselves repurpose the government's borders, making each symbol idiosyncratic.


Ultimately this project will be presented as an interactive website. Clicking on each tattoo will reveal the original image.