Skin as Cover

The metaphoric language of “skin as cover” used in clinic practices.

The video visualizes the metaphoric language of “skin as cover” and its psychological impacts on wound patients.

Daily Objects,
Lighting Kit,


The idea of skin as cover has been described as “a limiting yet enabling metaphor”. It is a powerful image that may influence both perception and practice. The use of the word ‘cover’, with its connotations of protection and concealment, is so prevalent in literature on wound care that it has become normalised to such an extent that its metaphorical nature can be easily overlooked.

The metaphor of skin as cover permeates the language we use to describe wounds, the way we make sense of them and the way we care for them. The concealment aspect of this metaphor may also have implications for how burn patients are cared for socially and psychologically, as well as physically.

What does it mean when we talk about wounds needing coverage? Are there other ways in which we could think about wounds?

The project is instructed by Kate Parsons. Reference: Skin as Cover: The Discursive effects of ‘covering’ metaphors on wound care practices by Trudy Rudge.


It was a simple pleasure.

I was interested in exploring the metaphorical use of materials and this project was my response to my curiosity. As someone interested in cognitive aspects of healthcare, I recalled a study I had came across and decided to make a video about it.

I spontaneously shopped at art craft and grocery stores, making connections between everything I see and my concept in my mind.

Alertness and curiosity were crucial throughout the process: especially in the early stages of brainstorming the concept, it was important to be observant of all things around me; to look for inspiration from the most mundane objects; and to notice what objects might be used in multiple ways.

It took careful consideration before committing to an object or material, because once selected, everything in this project had to meet certain criteria or parameters. For example, if I chose fruit, I needed to keep the consistency by making sure the feeling of the various pieces was as close as possible to what we'd find in fruit both visually and cognitively. I also had to consider simple questions like how much of the fruit would be used, which part of the fruit woul be used, and even how long it would stay fresh.

The biggest regret of this project was not being able to keep the consistency of the material due to time limitations. Under ideal circumstances, this video would be made of simply apples.

Mavis Cao 2022, Pasadena, CA