Shifting Skin

‘Alison Bennett: Shifting Skin’

Shifting Skin is an elegant statement on the collapsing boundaries between material and virtual via the connecting metaphor of skin. The uncannily flattened images of human surface were captured using a re-purposed flatbed scanner held directly against the subject’s body. When viewed through an app on a mobile screen, a 3D topography appears to project out of the print, a landscape of peaks and valleys describing the tonal scale within the surface of the subject, the terrain of scars, tattoos, skin tone and texture.

This direct interplay between the physical print and virtual object creates a tangible dynamic to be physically explored by the viewer. Although augmented reality is an internet application, the experience is locative and embodied. The viewer must be physically in front of the trigger image and move in an arc before the print to trace the contours of the 3D virtual object.

Shifting Skin generated considerable international attention when first exhibited at Deakin University Art Gallery in 2013, stemming from a retweet by cyberpunk author William Gibson and a report by that appeared in the Huffington Post. The work has since featured in the Sydney Mardi Gras visual arts program, ABC TV news,  the uber hip Theorizing the Web conference in New York City. Shifting Skin was described as a program highlight at Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery and Wyndham Cultural Centre.

Media highlights:

Gail Priest, ‘In Profile: Alison Bennett, Shifting Skin’, RealTime 26 March 2014

ABC evening news report 25 February 2014

Gina Fairley, ‘Skin comes alive as tattoos rise as 3D landscapes’, ArtsHub, 25 February 2014

Huffington Post, October 2013

Neha Prakash, ‘Augmented Reality Brings Tattoos to Life’, Mashable, 19 August 2013

Emma Hutchings, Augmented Reality Tattoo Art Depicts Designs Rising Out Of The Skin’, PSFK, 15 August 2013

retweet by William Gibson 25 July 2013

more documentation of extensive media coverage here:

Deakin University Art Gallery 24 July  – 31 August 2013

Bennett, A 2013, ‘Shifting Skin’, AR[t]4

 Exhibition catalogue featuring essay by Kate Warren HERE

10×8 Gallery: 25 February – 9 March 2014


part of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival visual arts program, with financial support from LINC


  • ABC TV evening news bulletin 25 February 201

Theorizing the Web, New York City, April 2014

Shifting Skin works included in the exhibition associated with the Theorizing the Web conference, New York April 2014

Photographs by Aaron Thompson

Photographs by the lovely Aaron Thompson

Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery, 18 July – 24 August 2014

installation of Shifting Skin @ Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery

Wyndham Cultural Centre, 2 September – 3 November 2014

Media coverage Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 9.23.35 am


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