Paper #2

Title Page> Skin > Skin > Entitlement> Cabinet of Wonders> Stopped bottles and broken vials

“My body- a wunder Kammer” by Shelly Jackson takes you through a unique and unusual experience. She makes connections between human experience and body parts. Jackson explains her skin and other body parts such as the tendons in her neck in a way I have never read before. The images and her descriptions give the body a new meaning. Shelly Jackson uses each part of he body as a memory, a life story. She connects the text with her illustrations. The most unique part about this piece of work is that each individual reader can follow a unique path and read a completely different passage. I am confident in that the path I took with each passage would be very different from other readers because each person will tend to follow the path that they identify with most. I also believe each reader can make one of a kind interpretations and connections between the text and each word. “My body” is a piece of work that can be very personal and special to each individual reader.

When Shelly Jackson describes her skin she is very much in touch with every sense. “…If I rubbed my arm against the back of the chair on a dry day, I get a funny feeling as if there were a layer of warm felt between my skin and the plastic.” Jackson describes her feelings in so much detail the reader is able to feel exactly what she is describing.   After skin I continued to click on the work “skin” because I was curious to read what other stories she felt her skin told.   Then I found it interesting how as she was climbing her favorite tree she felt a sense of entitlement because she was able to continue maneuvering herself to the top of the tree. Therefore, I proceeded to click onto the word “entitlement.” This sense of entitlement Jackson had seemed to disappear quickly.   Once she begins dancing and tries to dance on her toes she realizes she is unable to. She no longer has a sense of entitlement because other bodies could do things that she couldn’t even approximate.   I loved the line, “… then a body was like a cabinet of wonders inherited from a great aunt: you didn’t know what was in it, but one day opened a drawer and pulled out something wonderful.” Jackson’s appreciate for her body and the mysteries to discover about it are fascinating to me. I then continue to click on “cabinet of wonders.” She compares her body to a cabinet; going on to explain each part of your body is like a different drawer. I went on to click on “stopped bottles and broken vials.” Jackson describes selling different human fluids such as pee, spit and female ejaculate. She wants to sell them to libraries, collectors and speculative investors. This is clear evidence of how much Shelly Jackson values the human body. Every aspect of the body is important, special and has an important story.

Shelly Jackson uses images to add more imagery to her stories and body descriptions. The home page of “My body- a Wunderkammer” is the body of a woman. The illustration shows all the different body parts where a reader can chose from and continue his/her path of Jackson’s stories. The first illustration portrays the naked body of a woman, vulnerability but also no secrets.   This resembles Jackson’s work because she continues to tell very personal stories about every aspect of her body. When Jackson is describing her sense of entitlement and when she danced there is an illustration of a foot. The foot connects to her wanting to be able to dance on her toes. She was determined to be able to do this with her feet; unfortunately she was unable to fulfill this dream. In the illustration of her toes it is evident the toes are strained; therefore, showing the amount of work she put into fulfilling her dream to dance. Her toes also served the purpose for piano playing; Jackson was unable to use her toes to play the piano but after months she had mastered it. Through the strain in her feet one can tell her feet are worn out but that just shows dedicated. The illustration of Jackson’s feet allows readers to picture her feet working on these tasks and the amount of work each one took.

Shelly Jackson’s piece is very similar to looking at paintings in an art gallery. Everyone follows whichever series of paintings they wish to look at. Just like Jackson’s work people may interpret her work in very different way just like people interpret art in a variety of ways. People see things in different way and interpret things differently; almost like an optical illusion. Jackson was just five years old when she wanted to learn how to dance on her toes. She wanted to do able to spin or leap on her turned-over-toes. “My kid brother owned a miniature grand piano with color-coded keys. I thought I might be able to play it with my toes, as it was the right height off the ground.” She worked her toes and in a matter of months she had mastered it. In her readings it is easy to sense the importance her toes had for her. This simple part of her body would give her the ability to dance the way she wanted and play the piano the way she wanted. It is much more than just a body part, it is what enables her to achieve. When going through an art gallery you are able to notice what is emphasized in a painting and you are then able to imagine why the painter gives so much importance to this part of the painting. Through Shelly Jackson’s work she tells you stories and it is up to the reader to take their own mental path to figure out her purpose. Also, in an art gallery one is able to see the similarities and make connections between each other art works. This is similar to Jackson’s work because when clicking on each hyperlink the reader must make connections between the previous word and the new passage. The different hyperlinks will take each individual reader on a different journey through Jackson’s work that would be unique to each person. I find this to be very comparable to someone in an art gallery; each person will take their own path throughout the gallery and interpret each work differently.

“My Body – Wunderkammer” by Shelly Jackson was like no other work I’ve read. The interactive aspect of it makes the whole experience more personalized, intriguing me as well as other readers more into the passages. I was able to identify with a lot with her passage about skin. Each reader will most likely be able to relate to her stories; therefore, the reader will continue the path of hyperlinks that relates most to themselves. Shelly Jackson’s images add to her stories and always the reader to put themselves in her position, feeling exactly what she feels with that body part. Jackson did an excellent job of portraying the importance and the stories that come with individual body part as small as they may be.

Work Cited:

Jackson, Shelley. “‘my Body’” ‘my Body’ – a Wunderkammer & (Shelley Jackson). N.p., 1997. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.


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