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!
Having seen some issues with previous high-hook-count suspensions, Max looked at this as a technical challenge, eventually deciding on placing the majority of the hooks in Artem’s back and then more on his legs. Four hundred hooks means four hundred piercings, which is a gruelling thing to go through with or without a suspension — it wasn’t that long ago that four hundred needles would have been enough to land a play piercing world record! The piercings were done like a duet, with Max doing the piercing with the needle, and Renat instantly inserting the hooks, the two of them acting “like a punching machine”. They took occasional breaks, but managed to get all the hooks placed inside six hours. Rigging, using 200 meters of fishing line laid in parallel to save time, added three or four more hours of work.
Unfortunately by the everything was finished, Artem — to say nothing of Max and Renat — was pretty wiped out so the suspension itself was fairly brief (although it went well). When Artem came down, the hooks came out very quickly, being removed within half an hour. To celebrate their success and record breaking, they took off a couple of days to go snowboarding (Krasnodar is not far from Sochi, where the 2014 Olympic Winter Games will be held). Artem was none-the-worse-for-wear and the suspension experience didn’t limit his ability to enjoy the slopes.
The sharp-eyed may have noticed the white rigging plate. Unlike the metal rigging plates that are commonplace, Max has been developing rigging plates and even Gilson safety hooks using very hard and strong industrial plastics. When I saw them I asked Max whether he had concerns about safety and what their breaking point was, and he told me he figures these places are capable up to at least 3.5 tons — in his testing the metal components break before the plastic fails! Contact Max via his Facebook page if you’re interested in getting custom plastic suspension equipment.