Rotating Suspensions

360animation I’ve always been told that rotating or “rotisserie” are the most horribly painful suspensions you can do. I was just talking to Jason from Third Eye Perception Flesh Suspension out of Austin, Texas (or online at about his — that’s him in the animated GIF on your right, which is nabbed from the video below of the 360 degree vertical rotating suspension (followed by an earlier horizontal rotation video of Tom Moore, recorded by Jared Anderson, just so you can see both), and he elaborates,

The 360 was the most horrifying yet peaceful moment of my life. I have never been an emotional person during any suspension, but as soon as the first hook pierced me, I was flooded with emotions and literally cried the entire time I was being pierced. The amount of people helping and contributing humbled me beyond expectation. Being tensioned into it — instead of the traditional method of rigging in — felt as if I was being torn into various pieces, but it also made me feel a bit more secure that I wouldn’t fly out of the device. As soon as I gave in and started spinning the pain was beyond anything else I have ever done, and I stopped after a few rotations. Once I stopped, I restarted and began spinning backwards, which is when I felt amazingly calm.

At the upcoming Suscon he’s planning a rotisserie, and after that will be exploring more suspensions along the same theme — maybe a full-on XYZ gyroscope. All of the fabrication of these impressive suspension rigs is by Tom Moore, an essential part of making these unique suspensions possible. Others contributed as well, for example, Emrys Yetz put together the tensioning rig, a ratchet set up (which Jason admits drove him insane because of the clicking noise, but getting the tensioning balanced and tight is what makes this suspension bearable).

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.