riel Sturchio

Austin Community Initiatives 2021 - OPEN CALL FOR COLLABORATION

Opens: April 1 2021, Closes: May 21, 2021 5pm CST*

This virtual open call is specifically for Austin, TX individuals who are and have historically been marginalized including: LGBTQ+, non-binary, chronically ill, neurodivergent/neurodiverse, disabled, Black, Brown, Indigenous, people of color, and women. This Austin, TX guideline includes current or past residents of Austin, TX, and individuals with strong connections to Austin, TX (work, family, school, etc.).

Skin Prints is a collective project that, through the use of a transparent sticky material that documents the surface of one’s skin, offers a unique experience of bodily touch over distance. In this chapter I aim to create an inclusive archive of bodies, intentional positive touch, and evidence of persistence. Please scroll below to learn more, including a video on how to make a skin print.

This is free to participate in. I will provide all collaborators with materials, directions on how to create their unique skin print(s), and a stamped envelope to ship materials back*.

I intend to publish this new work in a project-designated website & digital gallery, produce a small limited edition RISO print collection, conduct short digital interviews, and hold two optional digital collaborator talks so we can safely meet each other. At the conclusion of the project I aim to launch a new website including this work, distribute (via the mail) the physical RISO print collection, and hold a digital public talk hosted by the Visual Arts Center/Center Space Projects in Austin, TX (late July 2021).

IMPORTANT DATES:
Open Call: April 1-May 21, 2021 5pm CST/6pm EST*
Collaborator Discussions: June 26 and 27, 2021 (TBD)
Public Discussion: July 30, 2021 (TBD)
Website Launch: ~Aug 15th, 2021

It's just me, one person, curating and organizing this project, and I appreciate your patience. If you have questions, comments, or concerns please reach out to me at riel@utexas.edu with the headline SKIN PRINTS.

*In the case of an overwhelming number of submissions, I may close sooner due to material restrictions.

To participate, click on "sign up today" below, or use this link: https://forms.gle/1UEeqbCvAnf7wBKS9

This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.

Skin Prints, 2014-2021 (ongoing)


Skin Prints is a collaborative project that offers a unique experience of bodily touch over distance through a process that involves a 4" x 5" sticky transparent film that creates an imprint of one's skin. Open calls through social media offer collaborators the opportunity to receive free materials through the mail to create their print. Prints are then sent back to me, scanned, and digitized for enlargement.


(scroll down for background, context, and how-to video)



Skin Print #9 (Taft Mashburn, Austin, TX), 40" x 50", variable media, 2020

Skin Prints | background & statement

I started Skin Prints in 2014 as an attempt to offer a collaborative therapeutic release to my own and collaborator’s bodily trauma through the creation of print archives. As I re-engage with this project, its meanings have shifted due to the context of critical issues that affect us all; pandemic isolation, the need for universal healthcare, police brutality, and the Black Lives Matter movement. Now more than ever bodies are without touch, and Black and Brown people are disproportionately endangered by police brutality and systemic racism.

I am interested in taking the framework of Anthropocentric resilience to consider the taxonomy of the body as a way to promote shared understanding, and perspective through my collaborative project. Skin Prints offer an archival print of one’s body in direct relationship to the moment of its creation through the use of sticky material that documents the skin's surface. Through the production of a skin print the history of one’s skin, its scarring and deterioration is flattened and preserved as a monochromatic topography showcasing irrevocable bodily entropy. This work sheds light on the cyclical nature of life, a different way of grasping mortality, and a new ways of perceiving the unifying factors of humanity.

The anonymity of the bodies portrayed up close in imprints creates a unique archive of time and skin without the immediate context of identity. Each image is presented in black and white to create an anonymous, embodied union of skin each with their own diverse background and physical presence. Enlarging each imprint to highlight textures, shapes, and repetition patterns of hair, folds of skin, and scars compiles a collective record of the human body as vastly differentiated and intimately similar.

Through this widespread collaboration I aim to create an archive of bodies, intentional positive touch, and evidence of bodily persistence.

about & how-to (~5 min)

Here's some background on me, my practice, and my newest body of work Skin Prints. Wondering how these are made? Check out the video to learn more about this in-progress work, and the process of making a skin print.


TEDxUTAustin, Hear & Now, San Antonio Parking Garage, Austin, TX, March 5-6, 2021

Skin Prints were featured in a site-responsive drive-through exhibition in curated by Center Space Projects in partnership with TEDxUTAustin. Learn more about the 2-day immersive event here


Featured prints, installation video (~35 secs) and catalog essay below

Skin Print # 75 (Leah Dyjak, Attleboro, MA), 57" x 71.25", 2 oz ripstop, 2021

Skin Print # 21 (Mukhtara Yusuf, Bristol, CT), 57" x 71.25", 2 oz ripstop, 2020

Skin Print # 44 (Ollie Buerger, Austin, TX), 57" x 71.25", 2 oz ripstop, 2020

This site specific installation utilizes 2oz ripstop, plywood, modular lights and black polyester line. It was only viewable through a drive-by in a car, and had varied aesthetics depending on whether viewed during the day or at night.

Exhibition catalog for Hear & Now.


Click here to read the catalog essay.

installation at night


At night the prints were illuminated by spotlights. They continued to interact with the wind, moving, showing their folds and textures.

detail of material


The semi-transparent gridded ripstop material is wind and weather resistant, which makes these prints act as resilient sails at the site.

Using Format