The skin is a fascinating and complex organ. No other organ in the human body has as many functions as the skin: biological, cultural, social and psychological. The skin is the first thing we notice and the basis on which we draw conclusions about a person. It provides information about our state of health, our moods, our age and sometimes our cultural background. However, few people except the specialists in the field, scientists and dermatologists, know about the structure of the skin, and even less the general public.
Our experimental work was to give a course of cutaneous biology intended for all public by the means of an artistic (1) and literary new approach (2).
(1) As the skin is a multi-layered structure, a cutaneous paper which covers our body, a carnal envelope which maintains our physical and psychological integrity, the SKIN is “the paper of the self.” ORIGAMI - from oru, “to fold”, and kami, “paper” - is the art of paper folding. This technique probably dates from the Edo period in Japan (1608–1868). SKIN and ORIGAMI, beyond the word play around paper, are similar in several respects: the polygonal network, the basic folds, pleat folding, the polygonal shapes and a common history around a symbol. Hence, the idea of producing artwork connecting the skin with the art of origami to explain artistically the physiology of skin. First, photographs of different skins, with different magnifications, were taken and developed on paper squares of different sizes in order to make folded structures according to a selection of origami patterns. With skin physiology being reinterpreted through origami in this way, we logically called this educational-artistic exhibition “PEAUrigami® ” associating the French word “peau” (skin) and “origami” with its translation in Japanese ???. PEAUrigami® exhibitions have been presented at the ESDR* 2019, 2022 and EADV*2019 Congresses and this educational-artistic concept dedicated to skin has been published in international pear revues.
(2) The skin is a sensory organ, of touch and expression, just like the fabrics of the clothes we wear. The clothing sticks to the skin, the textile fabric is in direct contact with the cutaneous tissue: a skin to skin. The skin or the cutaneous tissue and the fabric represent a physical and metaphorical continuum: the fabric-skin to explain the skin by analogies. The literary collection "LA PEAU ANALOGIQUE®, literally "the analogical skin", was created to offer a scientific and educational course on the skin with an analogical approach. Analogical substitutions are a fertile ground for skin education; thanks to them, scientific information on the biology of the skin becomes accessible and understandable by all. Skin and tissue support the metaphor and share a common language. In duo with the dermatologist Patrick Moureaux, co-author, the notions of finishing (coated fabric/skin, dyed, etc.), photosensitivity (light and UV rays are just as deleterious for the skin as for the textile), and clothing from every angle (draped, padded fabric/skin, etc.) are addressed. From the book "TISSU DE PEAU, le tissu comme métaphore de la peau", an exhibition has been organized at SHFSP*** 2022.
Both of these creative approaches to teaching skin biology are interactive as the visitor or reader is invited to share their impressions and knowledge of the skin organ.
- ESDR: European Society of Dermatological Research.
- EADV: European Academy of Dermato-Venereology.
- SFSHP : French Society of human sciences on skin
Audience Take Away Notes:
- Opening of the mind around the skin organ through an original artistic view and analogical process of writing.
- Sharing knowledge on physiology of skin.