Tattoo: a multifaceted medium of communication
AbstractThis article suggests the systems theoretical distinction of form/medium as a useful tool for distinguishing social phenomena that might look as if they stem from the same process. This is shown to be the case for the tattoo and tattooing. The tattoo is conceived as a medium of communication through which different forms of communication emerge. Tattooing is one of these forms of communication that shapes the medium in a particular way. The current article sheds a special light on its intricate, communicational constellation, for which the concept of parallax is suggested. Law, medicine and cosmetics as other forms of communication use the medium of tattoo in their own way as well. The form/medium distinction allows us to grasp these different forms of communication, while it shows that they share the tattoo as medium. The article’s ultimate goal is to illustrate that the tattoo figures as a multifaceted medium of communication.
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