When I first became involved with the suspension community (right at the turn of the century) I found an astonishing amount of beauty in the experience and ritual of it all. However, looking back at those old photos it’s hard to see them as beautiful with the HIDEOUS hardware store rigs we used and the perfectly functional, but severely unaesthetic, way we connected the person to the aforementioned rigging.
Then, out of nowhere, I started seeing the rigging evolve into an artform all of it’s own. I believe the first truly artistic rigging I ever personally saw was done by Oliver Gilson (yes the same Gilson responsible for designing the modern suspension hook of choice). I recall him doing these absolutely gorgeous suspensions where the rigging was done with a ton of 550 cord dynamically rigged to a single point. All of the sudden the rigging had become as integral of a part of the suspensions aesthetic as the suspendee themself.
Now, I am pleased to say, that same artistic sense of rigging is becoming the norm in the modern suspension community. For instance, check out this gorgeous suspensions put on by the Skindependent Suspension team which runs the long cording not only to multiple points, but to multiple rigs spread out across independent mounting locations.
Eden Thomson, of Skindependent filled me in on the story behind Kyrsten Wallace’s suspension.
This was Kyrsten’s first suspension after an amazing weight loss of 20 kgs (approximately 42 pounds). I have never seen her so happy with any suspension ever. It was a very proud moment and a real sense of accomplishment for her! This has opened up a lot more possibilities in terms of suspension styles for her knowing now how easy this was for her.
It used to be that when you thought of insane over-the-top implementations of body modification and ritual, South Americans couldn’t be beat. But lately when it comes to bringing the crazy, it’s been impossible to the Russians, what with things like freefall suspension and now this four hundred hook suspension, facilitated in part by Modblog regular Maxim Yampolskiy, who is perhaps best known for his creative and innovative silicone implant work.
The idea was born in mid-December 2012 in the mind of Artem Kovalenko (of Krasnodar’s ArtMod Team) who went on to do the suspension. After reading about a 220-hook world record suspension (which I haven’t seen, but you may recall the 178-hook suspension I posted back in 2006, and the 296-hook suspension from later that year), he decided not just to break it, but to completely shatter it. He contacted Max (of Moscow’s Brutal Forms Group) and Renat Khalitov (of Astrakhan’s Blood Brothers Team) and since Max already had a hundred small hooks ready to go that he’d been hoping to use on something like this, he bought three hundred more and a plane ticket. They all got together in Krasnodar on February 13th, 2013, and because of time limitations on when they could use the space, Max and Renat began throwing hooks about two hours after their flights landed!
Third Eye Perception Suspension (ThirdEyePerception.com) just hosted a touching tandem suspension for their good friend Joey, who has been with the team since their “very rocky start”, and who recently become father to a bouncing baby boy… “Bouncing”, literally, loving bobbing up and down in his jumper, so they wanted to set up a suspension for Joey and his son, combining their overlapping loves of suspension. Third Eye tells me,
“We rigged Joey into a modified face down suspension so that he could see his child and hold him while suspending, and everything went as amazing as could be. It was very emotional, and we all enjoyed seeing Joey lecture his little toddler as to not rushing into getting any tattoos or piercings until he was good and ready. Little Ward smiled the entire time and seemed to thoroughly enjoy himself, as you can see from the other photos, he was smiling the entire time and seemed to really enjoy getting some air while attached to his father.”
“The adorable climax was when after detaching Ward from Joey, he fell right asleep with the most adorable smile on his face.”
Joey (and Ward’s mother as well) both have “straight-world jobs” and are completely dedicated parents who “have given the entirety of themselves into making sure Ward is loved and cared for from the moment he wakes up”, but unsurprisingly they still got feedback on this suspension telling them that it was “child abuse” (among other criticisms). The unfortunate reality is that there have been multiple cases where suspension and body modification interests have played a role in causing people to lose their children, usually in the case of things like this being used as ammunition in bitter divorces by one parent against another. It’s sad for there to be any criticism of something like this suspension, beautiful from the conception, to the realization, to the epilogue.
There are more pictures after the break (and I should add that Joey’s scars on his shoulder blades were done by Pineapple of Shaman Modifications in Austin, Texas). If you have the bandwidth, enjoy the video in fullscreen, as it’s been posted at HD quality.
Christiane and Havve (Wings of Desire/Pain Solution) are in Japan giving workshops and helping spread their expertise as always, and Christiane posted this amazing photo from a suspension demonstration at Vanilla Gallery in Tokyo last night. A beautiful and technically advanced example of the cutting edge rigging they’re known for — I really feel like this captures some space station art moment that should only be possible in the absence of the Earth’s damning gravity.