Suspension (body modification)


Suspension (body modification)

A suspension is the act of suspending a human body from hooks that have been put through body piercings. These piercings are temporary and are performed just prior to the actual suspension.

Introduction

The process is very delicate and is typically done carefully by an experienced individual or professional of the field in order to avoid serious injury. Suspension may require and often has a small group who handle preparations and the process itself. The actual act of being suspended may take up a tiny portion of time compared to the time involved in preparation, though some people remain suspended for hours. If carried out properly, the suspendee's body will be studied to decide the proper placement, number, and size of metal hooks which are pierced into the skin to lift the person off the ground. Multiple hooks are usually located around the shoulders, upper arm, and back, as well as around the knees (this depends on the position in which the body is to be suspended). Finding the proper hook placement and number involves a great deal of skill in mathematics and an acute understanding of human anatomy and physiology, as well as the durability of the individual's skin. If the number of hooks are too few, the suspended individual's skin will be unable to withstand the body's weight and will rip. Also, the amount of weight each hook supports must be distributed evenly throughout the entire body — any imbalance risks injury. A block and tackle-like machine made for suspension is used and powerful rope that attaches to the hooks is used to slowly and carefully lift an individual a foot or two off the ground — where they may remain relatively motionless for a predetermined period of time. However, depending on the type of suspension, there may be a considerable degree of freedom of movementFact|date=January 2007.

Rationale

Suspensions are sometimes used for meditation supposedly to gain a higher level of spiritual fulfillment or awareness. To some it is a very sacred and respected practice and is done on a regular basisFact|date=January 2007. Suspension can also be used as a symbolic tool and represents an important event in life — such as representing one's passing from childhood to adulthood or the bond two people may shareFact|date=January 2007. Just as easily, it can be used as entertainment or as performance art. Acrobatic actions may be performed, most commonly during a 'suicide' suspension. Some body modifiers simply enjoy getting a suspension for amusement.

History

Historically, suspension rituals were performed by the Mandan tribe, located along the banks of the Missouri River [http://www.bmezine.com/news/fakir/20031115.html Suspensions & Tensions: Yesterday - Fakir Rants & Raves ] ] . The Oh-Kee-Pa type of suspension was derived from this ritual. Modern day suspensions are closely related to the artwork of performance artists that use their own bodies as canvases. Roland Loomis was an artist who specialized in suspension and piercing performance pieces, also starting the Modern Primitivism movement. He helped to bring attention to the suspension 'scene' in the United StatesFact|date=January 2007. Allen Falkner helped to bring suspensions to people who weren't spiritual, as well as a plethora of different and unique suspensions types.

Equipment

Hooks

The most commonly used hooks for a flesh suspension are deep-sea fish hooks (normally used for the fishing of sharks, octopuses, etc), that have had their barbs removed. The piercing is performed with a body piercing needle followed by a modified hook, often 'thrown' as one unit— i.e. with the needle placed on the tip of the hook, which is then used to move the needle through the skin.

Rigging

Once the hooks are in place, they are connected with parachute cord or chain to a rig that can be winched up. It is vital that the hooks are attached to the body in such a way that the weight is evenly distributedFact|date=September 2008. Many different styles of rigging can be used, and some suspension groups have custom rigs that can be identified. A block and tackle pulley system is commonly used to hoist the suspendee and rigging together.

Types of suspensions

Chest

A "chest suspension", sometimes referred to as an "O-Kee-Pa", is a suspension in which the hook(s) are placed in the chest. Typically two hooks are used for this type of suspension. This is named after the Okipa ceremony of the Mandan people, as a rite of passage for young men, and also practiced by vision seeking Shaman.

Coma

A "coma suspension" is a suspension in which the hooks are placed in the chest, torso and legs, usually in two rows, such that the suspendee is lying face up. The name of this position comes from the similar imagery in the movie "Coma".

Knee

A "knee suspension" is a suspension in which the hooks are placed in both knees. Typically four hooks are used for this type of suspension - two on either side of each knee.

uicide

A "suicide suspension" is a suspension in which the hook(s) are placed in the upper back, such that the suspendee is hanging upright. This type of suspension is named "suicide" due to its similarity in appearance to someone who has hanged him or herself.

Resurrection

A "resurrection suspension" is a suspension in which the suspended person is held up by hooks, usually in two rows on the belly; it gives the impression of rising from death as the suspendee is all curved back.

Crucifix

A "crucifix suspension" is a variation on a suicide suspension in which hooks are also placed in the arms, such that the suspendee appears to be hanging on a cross, with his or her arms held out to the side.

uperman

A "superman suspension" is the opposite of a coma suspension - the hooks are placed in the back and legs, usually in two rows, such that the suspendee is lying face down. This type of suspension is named "superman" due to the similarity in appearance to Superman flying.

Other

Other variations exist, utilizing anywhere from one to dozens of hooks. The rebirth suspension is usually performed with 4 to 6 hooks in the back, with the suspendee in the fetal position, face down. The lotus suspension places hooks in the neck, shoulders, arms and knees, so that the suspendee is in sitting position.Some hang from calves, ankles, knees, or buttocks. Possibilities even include facial suspension. The "Angel" Suspension is eight hooks in the back where the outline of an angel's wings would be.

References

External links

* [http://www.suspension.org Suspension.org]
* [http://www.bmezine.com/ritual/susp-faq.txt A detailed suspension FAQ] from BMEzine
* [http://www.bmezine.com/ritual/bme-ritu-exp-s7-001.html Prose testimonials of suspensions]
* [http://www.bizarremag.com/weird_world/body_world/7089/marionette-suspension.html Gallery of marionette suspension pictures]
* [http://www.bmezine.com/ritual/bme-ritu.html Suspension pictures]
* [http://wiki.bmezine.com/index.php/Suspension BME Encyclopedia: Suspension]


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