5 speakers 15 minutes each

Emma Forrest

on her tattoos

Emma Forrest candidly discusses her love of tattoos and how hers are inextricably bound to her identity. Her fascination began at the age of 17 when she was writing and living alone in New York. For her, walking into the tattoo parlour was a bid to find permanence in the midst of mania and depression brought on by the changes of adolescence. Since then she has had five more including a cat, a Maori Lizard, ‘Isis’, the title of the Bob Dylan song on her knuckle; and ‘Badlands’ in tribute to Bruce Springsteen - or Terrence Malick depending on what day it is. Does she regret them? No. They are, she explains, at once a travelogue and diary documenting places she’s been and people she’s loved, her bouts of self-harm and her fluctuating psycological health, as well as her Jewishness. In this intimate confessional, Forrest uses her tattoos to discuss her life, the nature of happiness, female identity and how the Internet is written in ink not pencil.