The skin is also referred to as the cutaneous membrane and consists of two tissue layers, epidermis and dermis (Light 2004: 92,94). Besides protecting the body, skin is an important part of the body’s sensing system and provides humans with information about the body’s external environment. The dermis is connected to the nervous system which detects touch, pressure, temperature and pain stimuli (Light 2004: 93-94). This also highlights how the skin is not just a surface covering our interior organs and bodies. Instead it is an organ divided internally into interpenetrating and differentiated strata, which adapts to the body’s needs (Imperiale 2006: 265, 270).


In modern times, the skin has also been examined beyond its medical and scientific meaning and has gained multiple cultural and social meanings and connotations. For instance, the skin can be seen as a border marking gender, race, age and social status (Flanagan & Booth 2006: 1). In that sense, one can define the skin as a milieu - where “(…) the skin becomes a place of mingling, a mingling of places” (Connor 2009: 26). The skin is an entire environment of senses and expression and is always worn by the body, thereby becoming the body’s face or the face of the human’s bodiliness (Connor 2009: 29). Because skin acts as the boundary between one’s self and the external world, it can be relevant to investigate how this boundary is conceived of in today’s culture as well as how everyday practices shift how we see skin and experience the world through it (Flanagan & Booth 2006: 1). For instance, technological progress has allowed for new representations of how the human body’s borders can be visualized or explored (Imperiale 2006: 265-267). Technology also offers the possibility not only to modify our own skins but also to cross skins, which could merge us with other bodies or cultivate multiple bodies simultaneously (Flanagan & Booth 2006: 1). Coupling the skin to wearable technology could also be of importance as garments have the potential “(...) to transform both a body and an identity, to challenge nature, as it were” (Calefato 2004: 1). In that sense, technology or clothing coupled to the skin can become a site for negotiating our relationship with our bodies and the underlying world (Flanagan & Booth 2006: 3). This suggests that coupling technology to the skin could help explore new meanings of the border between body, human entity and its Umwelt.