3 point Vampyra suspension at the 2013 Vampire Ball submitted by toddy.
One of the most rewarding things about being part of a community like BME/IAM is making long term connections with people from all over the world. Having them be part of your life, watching them evolve and learn and grow…having them there to pick you up when you fall.
The people in this photo, for example. Håvve, Headmaster of Pain Solution… eight years ago last month he celebrated his birthday at our guesthouse in Mexico during BMEfest La Paz… five days ago he celebrated my birthday with us here in Philadelphia.
The little guy taking pictures? That’s the owner of Scylla Body Jewelry in Chicago, Micah.. a gentleman I’ve had more than a few adventures with.
And the young lady suspending. Shannon. I’ve known her for half a decade and have watched her grow into an amazing, confident woman who continues to surprise and impress me. Last weekend (Aug 2-4) she made the trip to ROP Campout in Massachusetts where she did a resurrection and suicide suspension.
The modifications we undergo are important, but they’re nothing without the people who make them special. Get active; go to events, meet and get to know people… you’ll end up leaving with a lot more than you expected!
You know what they say about the road to hell.
I had planned to ‘cover’ APP for you folks who couldn’t attend. Photos, video interviews and live updates from the Conference and Expo floor. Then I got to Vegas, found my luggage literally saturated with water (SWA Baggage Handler left it out in a rainstorm) and got to the hotel already feeling a summer cold taking hold of me…
My APP experience this year was NOT ideal, Modblog Readers.
That said- it was one of the best Conferences I’ve attended. For some, it’s a yearly Bacchanal; a chance to leave the studio and real life behind for a week, stay up till dawn drinking (and then some) and debauching and oh yeah, maybe buy some jewelry and take a few of the classes we paid for. But this year saw a large upswing in first time attendees, with classes packed with people who saved all year to attend and to improve their craft. The vibe, if you will, was much different than I expected.
This year I found myself getting up at 6:45am (which was roughly when I used to ‘call it a night’ in previous years) to join the rest of the early risers who agreed to join my running group, taking a two mile jog down the Las Vegas strip instead of seeing how much we could drink and still maintain the appearance of sobriety. Instead of heading out to the shooting range I found myself in Paul King’s class “The Grieving Body- Does Body Modification Injure or Heal the Psyche” which for my money was his best to date, taking notes and being humbled by Paul and Kendra’s research and commitment to our community.
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.
Photo Credit: Martin Booth, Light Fantastic
Stelarc has been featured on ModBlog before, most notably in the 2004 video interview he did with Shannon.
Don’t miss out on a chance to watch this event! As mentioned above it will begin streaming LIVE on bodysuspension.org starting at 10:30 CST (11:30 EST).
While Shannon is still out I wanted to drop in with a photo that was submitted to BME yesterday. I found it quite beautiful and wanted to share.
This was sent in by Pink_Jonka in Croatia. There is something so serene about it. While I’ve never suspended, I have been there for several suspension events and there has always been something really beautiful about the atmosphere, the way everyone comes together and supports one another, that I really love.
See more photos like this in the Suspensions gallery.
Håvve Fjell and Pain Solution are back in the United States soon, touring with The Sqidling Brothers Circus Sideshow, and perhaps most excitingly wrapping up their tour in Dallas for the suscon with a performance with Stelarc (generally considered one of the grandfathers of modern suspension, along with Fakir Musafar). Jump to the website for up-to-date tour info, but here’s what’s been announced:
- Wed. 13th Philadelphia PA Underground Arts
- Thu. 14th Pittsburgh PA The Hollywood Theatre w/ hosts Trundle Manor
- Fri. 15th Chicago IL- 311 Rouge! An Electroswing Circus (Steam Punk Chicago)
- Wed. 20th Greensboro NC with Purrrlesque at The Blind Tiger
- Thu. 21st Asheville NC- The Landing
- Fri. 22nd Huntsville AL at The Flying Monkey Arts Center
- Sat. 23rd New Orleans LA,The Red House, Cannibal Cabaret
- Sun. 24th New Orleans LA- Siberia
- Tue. 26th Austin TX Spider House Cafe
- Sat. 30th Dallas TX Suscon with Wings of Desire and Stelarc
- Sun. 31st Dallas TX, The Church, Freaks & Fetish
To get an idea of what Pain Solution‘s shows are like, check out these videos:
And as to the show with Stelarc, I’m not sure what they have planned for Dallas, but here’s what they did in Oslo last year. This is not something you want to miss — it’s one of those “once in a lifetime” events that will change the way you look at suspension. Any performer or practitioner able to make it to Dallas should do everything they can to make it!
The Ocean Beach Pier in San Diego is the largest concrete pier on the West Coast, extending almost two thousand feet into an often epic ocean, the kind of misty scene that deserves a soundtrack fit for a moon landing. Third Eye Perception Flesh Suspension (thirdeyeperception.com; who you may remember for the baby-bouncing superman) chose this modern yet primal landscape as the site for an ideal guerrilla suspension. If you like the picture, don’t miss the video.
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.