When does it become a “Stupid Human Trick”?

I have a “big question” and I’m not sure if I can even get an honest answer about it, but I will ask it nonetheless. Do highly technical suspensions — like this masterpiece (and there were many) from the recent Suspension MECCA 2012 — veer too far toward performance art or even visual art, and too far away from ritual? At what point do we lose the potential for profound transformative experience, and are left only with “stupid human tricks” that make little more than a cool photo? Or on the other hand, is the flesh hook experience so powerful that nothing could distract from it? Personally I have some strong suspicions about the first option, but my own limited flesh hook experiences make me lean toward the second. I’d very much like to hear more experienced voices.


I should add — Since I often get more responses on my Facebook links to ModBlog than on ModBlog itself, I will copy the more interesting responses across to ModBlog for permanent archive, since while Facebook excels at volume traffic, it also excels at throwing valuable commentary into the digital crapbasket of forgetfulness.

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by BMEzine.com LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by BMEzine.com LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

4 thoughts on “When does it become a “Stupid Human Trick”?

  1. I want to be clear that I’m not asking for a debate as to whether it’s “OK” to do a suspension for all sorts of different reasons. Of course it is. I’m asking to what extent the nature of the suspension changes the experience.

    I will give my own answer to the question — for me, once the action starts, the setting completely disappears for me. So for me personally from an experience point of view the details of the event are irrelevant. But I think I also go into a trance state very easily, at the drop of a hat so to speak. Plus my experiences are much more limited than many people I’m hoping will answer so I don’t know if that’s normal.

  2. I’d love to hear what lukas zpira would have to say about this topic.
    Personally I think the question is a bit of a non runner. Even if it is set up as some magical experience; it can end up being little more the a couple of hooks, some rope and some fun. Some art can be a life changing experience for the artist, the audience or the canvass.
    On the other hand if micky d’s starts offering asstronauts at the drive through, there is a serious problem.
    I would like to add that I am not throwing myself in as “experienced voice” and am likely talking out of my asstronaut’s puckered friend.

  3. Shannon, check out some of the Kaptive8 Suspension Team photos I’ve put up. Supa’s really been working on dynamic suspensions that at first glance could be considered performance art but are actually incredibly spiritual (for him anyway).

    As for this suspension, it’s a position that’s actually being done fairly often now. It’s done with either a loop for a headrest or a hook in the skull to keep the head elevated. Think of it as a modified coma/superman, for those people who are more comfortable laying on their side as opposed to their back/front. The first time I saw it done was at Dallas Suscon last year when Eden from Skindependent was up for what felt like an hour. I just wish I knew the name for it, as I’m sure it’d been done before that weekend.

  4. I think most suspensions can be broken down to three categories; ritual, personal, and performance. Each focuses upon different aspects of the procedure. Ritual may focus more on ceremony, often with the use of traditional materials at the sake of efficiency. Personal (private suspensions or group meets) focus upon safety and the individual’s comfort. Performance is done for the benefit of the audience and eliminates the regard for the individual’s comfort in most cases.

    Each of the three can be done for multiple or individual reasons, none of which are necessarily invalid, though they may be foreign to some.

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