2008: Human Time Bomb

Since I got my last tattoo in 2004 I've had almost no interest in getting any more. I've had a few ideas of ones I've wanted to get, the earliest probably being from when I 1st worked with Daniel Higgs, maybe as early as 1990 if not earlier because I can remember discussing it with Danny.

Actually, there was one even earlier. It may've been my 1ST tattoo idea. When William Donald Schaeffer was Mayor of BalTimOre (1971-1986) he spent the tax-payer's money on promoting himself widely through such devices as having bus benches painted that read: "Brought to you by Mayor William Donald Schaeffer and the Citizens of Baltimore". Since I thought this was a ridiculous waste of public money spent on self-promotion, I thought it would be funny to get that sentence tattooed on my penis & to then spread that image far & wide. Not suprisingly, I had no intention of actually doing that.


Daniel told me that the idea I had in 1990 or thereabouts was "impossible", I said I thought it was possible. In retrospect, Danny was right but I do think it could be done with laser surgery. The idea was to get a different fingerprint for each finger & thumb from 10 different people with 'criminal' records - some for political activism that I agree with. That way, if my fingerprints were at a scene where fingerprint dusting took place it would appear as if some sort of 'criminal' supergroup had been there.

The above is a list of people whose fingerprints I thought of using. Of course, I wasn't really serious about doing this, I knew Daniel was right & I knew that getting copies of the fingerprints would be extremely difficult (& incriminating). Nor was I serious about using a fringerprint from "someone u want 2 "frame"': I would never frame anyone. In retrospect that would be more fun to do with someone like an Enron or Haliburton CEO.

The main idea that I still entertain from time to time is the idea of a time bomb tattooed in a way so that it only reads as a whole image when I'm in a fetal position. That way, when I'm not in a fetal position the 'bomb' is exploded. Esseentially, this is both an expression of emotional tension AND a formalist gag based on a tweak of the "Exploded View".


I tried a few trial & error things before I got to where I was satisfied. I started with the above "dynamite clock radio" set at 6 O'Clock because "It's always 6 O'Clock" at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party (& in neoism). I also used the clock radio image because, despite the implications of a "human time bomb", I didn't want the image to be violent, I wanted it to be mock-violent.


Not satisfied with the original clock face, I decided to add my own face to the lock with a humorously intended look of surprise.


Then I made this 8&1/2X11" transparency so that it could be projected with an overhead projector. With today's home equipment, this was easier than getting a slide made &, perhaps, harder than just using a computer projection.


Initially, I just played around with having the image projected on my chest so that my friend Julie Gonzalez could photograph me for another project. A black & white version of this photo has beeen displayed publicly for somewhat less than 6 years now. Some people find it disturbing & too representative of my "dark side". I do look pretty grim but it's meant to be self-parody as much as anything.


Next, I got into the fetal position & asked a friend of mine, Sandra Budd, to project the transparency on me & to photograph that.


That didn't quite work out as I imagined it so I decided to just Photoshop the image instead.


Focusing more on the relevant details I created a version where the limbs were outlined so that it would be obvious to a tattooist which parts go where.


Making it even more obvious, I separated each part of my body into components to make it easier for the tattooist & so that I wouldn't have to hold the fetal position the whole time while being tattooed. I still haven't gotten this done but looking at it now I still think it's a great idea & I hope to do it someday.


Finally, I thought of getting Geronimo's war paint on my face as a way of saying that I'm permanently in conflict with society - which is dramatically overstating my case. I decided against this idea both because it's an overstatement & because 'Geronimo' (apparently his war cry rather than his actual name) went on the war path because his mother, wife, & children were massacred by Mexican soldiers & he was getting revenge. To compare myself to him would be disrespectful of his memory.

In the photo of Geronimo above, his war paint isn't really visible but I remember seeing a picture of him somewhere where his war paint was white.





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