photo @Jak Nola
Suspension is a practice in which an individual’s skin is pierced with large sterilised metal hooks, from which they are then hung. Used in ancient cultures for millennia, the modern form has been redefined by people such as Fakir Musafar, Stelarc, and Allen Falkner, who describes it as “cathartic”. “If life had a dial to adjust the volume,” he says, “suspension has a way of accessing this invisible knob and turning it down.”
There are many different ways to suspend. One involves hanging from two or four hooks in the upper back, but there are any number of more complex positions. The height varies just as much, from a few feet off the floor to more exotic options, for example dozens of feet in the air above a cheering festival crowd.
There is also Pulling
Pulling is a kind of bodysuspension, when the person does not rise above the ground, but pull any type of transport by the hooks – cars, trucks. Pulling is painless than usual suspension and the hooks are fixed in the same way, but the load goes along a different trajectory – horizontally. Pulling is often used as an element of the show on tattoo conventions.
Free Fall suspension
Quite an extreme direction of suspension appeared in Russia in 2010 – jumping on the hooks. The system works on the principle of combining classical rope jumping and bodysuspension. For jump use 2-6 hooks (depending on the object from which the jump made and the weight of the jumper), the person is attached to the “jump” rope, using a rigging plate and carabiners, which is attached to the “base” – system of the stretching ropes that compensate the strength of the jerk. I repeat that the first jumps were carried out by enthusiasts from Russia, but now this kind of extreme has spread all over the world.
WHY? Why would people want to hang from hooks pierced through their skin?
“With every single suspension, I go through something where I grow, and I can feel a spot in my mind,” Lisa Marteau says. “I find that spot. I get into it. It bounces around, and I stay up until I lock down and feel like I’ve experienced what I need to do.”
She says suspension is empowering and has taught her self-love: “Look what I can accomplish with my own body. Look what I’m capable of.”
There’s this moment between standing firmly on the ground and then lifting up your feet up into the air, she says. Trusting that your skin will hold you. That’s the hardest part, and the best part, she says.
“You hang from the one organ that’s holding you together, and it pulls away from you and you’re completely raw,” she says. “You open up your body.”
That physical opening becomes a mental opening, and then a spiritual one, she says.
“You get to fly without wings.”
You know, I’m an ex-adrenaline junkie,” Dave Navarro begins, dark eyes gleaming intently. “I’m an ex-heroin addict. I’ve done a lot of crazy things in my life, and none of it has given me what this craft has given me. It’s almost as though I had to try all these other avenues before I arrived here, to know that they don’t work.”
Sasha shanti answeared this question(why people hanging on hooks) after more than 50 suspensions, several pullings, one jump on the hooks:
Well this is the case when you need to try once for understand.
Suspension.org does however warn people to “prepare for both the possibility of being overwhelmed and underwhelmed”. Not everyone experiences a spiritual or physical high, and the psychological effects vary. It also details the many potential risks – though to date, no deaths have been reported as a result of suspension.
Meanwhile, Falkner claims that growing interest is making it more mainstream. “Media exposure has given us an air of legitimacy,” he says. “People may not understand why we do it, but because it’s been in the media, it’s hard to argue that it’s a negative or self-destructive act.”
Will this make it less taboo? “Time will tell.”