“Every written word, every spoken thought, every drawn image, every scar on my body is
a ritual against disintegration of mind,
a ritual against human devolution,
a ritual as means of self-awareness,
a ritual as purest form of resistance.
Wake up, lay fire upon the prison of mental genocide, defend your mind and fight!” A-M-F.ORG
Those of us who take part in body suspension or pulls regularly find ourselves trying to explain to people what it’s like. Does it hurt, what does it feel like, why do you do it? They are all questions we answer for people over and over again. What if you could take those feelings that you get from suspending and turn them into something that an audience could actually experience with you? Louis Fleischauer has done just that with the wonderful visual and auditory creations of Aesthetic Meat Front.
Most stage performances involving suspension or a flesh pull are a visual experience for the audience. Their awareness of what is happening only goes as far as watching what the individuals on stage are doing, but Louis has found a way to add another dimension to their perception of what is being felt by the performers. By attaching microphones to springs, wires, and other devices which are connected to the hooks and flesh of those performing, their intense experience on stage is not only a stunning visual display, but also an auditory presentation; “A Symphony of Flesh” as it’s worded on his website.
For this ritual, the barriers between performer and audience are removed, and the onlookers are encouraged to participate in creating sounds by working with the devices attached to the performers. Like any form of art, I’m sure their music and stage presentation will be received differently by each person that watches and listens to it. There will be those who love and embrace what has been shown to them, and those that can’t understand or simply don’t like what they have seen. Either way, with a show like this, you leave taking something from it away with you.
According to Fleischauer, the goal of Aesthetic Meat Front is to awaken the desire within people for the exploration of their own minds and bodies; the sights and sounds that he has created are a stepping stone for them to use on their own journey of evolution. He wants to see people rise above the realities created by mass media, and be able to reach out beyond their own cultural and social boundaries toward something greater.
Regardless of what message you get from AMF, I recommend taking the time to look through the website to check it out for yourself. They have more information and photographs there than I could possibly include in one piece here on Hook Life, and it’s all wonderful to read through. I am lucky enough to get to look at beautiful suspension photographs every day, and it’s rare to have something brought to my attention like this that is so unique and different from what I’ve seen anyone else doing. It’s been a pleasure looking through and listening to their work, and I would like to thank Louis for taking the time to answer the questions I had. I hope I am lucky enough to catch a live performance one day.
If you have photographs you would like to see featured on Hook Life, please submit them to Southtownbaby@suspension.org