I must say this Suspension Competition has created quite the uproar. When we came up with the idea and presented it to several different practitioners the reaction was all positive. However, once the contest was made public we started to receive both mixed and negative feedback. Strangely enough, it didn’t come from the people we expected. Heck one of the biggest opponents to the contest did in fact do a guerrilla suspension a month before this contest was announced.
First crane suspension – Stelarc 1985
In the public criticism blog several valid points were made. But trust us there is a method to our madness that will be made clear if you read on. Also we will try to identify errors in our judgment and determine if the contest will continue, be changed, or stopped.
First of all, the root of the contest if one of art. We want people to produce beautiful photos. That’s one of the reasons we have a photographer as a judge. There are amazing and incredible suspensions happening daily, but many of them are either captured on poor quality cell phone photos, or not photographed at all. By presenting this competition we are encouraging people to take the extra step, to capture and document their work.
The second thing is that people are getting points deducted for rigging problems. (Maybe we should expand from just rigging to safety in general) The rigging focus is for 2 reasons. First it’s to make people think about their rigging before they hang. When they know they are being judged on their rigging they will put the effort into doing safely. Second by submitting the photos people are voluntarily putting themselves out there to be criticized. We as a community can point out errors of any suspension and people should take them to heart. However, when someone is willing being judged they should take criticism more easily and seriously.
The third reason for this contest is it to bring groups into the fold. There are a lot more people doing suspension than groups listed on suspension.org. Why aren’t they more involved in our community? Many reasons we are sure. This contest allows any group to present their work in a positive light. Their submission potentially gives them some recognition. And ultimately this entire endeavor works as an outreach program to welcome new and upcoming groups.
Fourth, people want to see the photos. Although the contest has received criticism, one thing has been said over and over. People cannot wait to see the images that might be produced. We are taking something that is happening already and giving it what we feel, or at least felt, is/was a positive creative outlet.
It’s been said by multiple people that making a contest out of suspension is a bad thing. We disagree. Competition by its very nature breeds excellence. Every practitioner that puts a photo or video on the Internet creates and perpetuates a competition. Whether it is a performance, an artistic demonstration or a private ritual, if you document the suspension and put it out for the world to see you inspire people. Does inspiration equal competition? No, but inspiration leads to creation and competition is quite simply judged creation.
Bottom line we are trying to help the community not hurt it. Many have noticed that there are people involved in suspension that wont listen to reason or accept guidance. It’s these exact people we are reaching out to. If they know they are being judged they have to step up their game. Generally we find the biggest safety issues coming from hookers that are trying to emulate or excel past suspensions they have seen. As its been said, the toothpaste is out of the tube. So now the question is how do we help those that don’t want to be helped.
Highest crane suspension – Lucky Hell 2011
We felt that this contest would have a positive impact on our community, but it seems that many of you disagree. So we pose the question to you. Does the competition need to be reworded, changed, or called off entirely? Hook Life exists to benefit the suspension community a whole. Your input is not only wanted, it’s needed so that we can keep growing and evolving.