Many of you may have noticed that Hook Life has been a little quiet lately. With all the work of suscon planning, things definitely got a little slower here, but that is about to change! So let’s kick things off with a stunning suspension performed by the State of Bliss crew in England that I have been dying to get posted. Tam Smith was kind enough to let us use these photos taken by Tara Li-An, and took the time to tell a little about where State of Bliss has come from and more importantly where they are going. A lot of things all came together for this suspension to take place, from the right suspendee and crew to a photographer willing to modify her studio just to accommodate the project. I am certainly happy it all fell into place, the result is absolutely wonderful.
Tam had the idea of performing a modified coma on himself with the hooks in the shape of an autopsy scar years before this project took place. As his education in suspension continued, the other practitioners he worked alongside, Matt Kirk and Benoit Berenger, only added to his enthusiasm for rigging and what could be done with it. As his own team began to form, they looked to be involved in both personal suspensions as well as artistic projects like this. The tipping point that got the ball rolling with this project was a quote from photographer Miguel Munoz Lazaro, who said he loved the beauty of the suspension, especially where the lines are blurred in that you cannot tell if the person getting suspended was alive or dead. This caught Tam’s attention, and the other pieces of his idea began to come together for this project to take shape.
When photographer Tara Li-An offered the State of Bliss team the opportunity to install anchor points in her studio, Tam went all out and asked for 12 points, 8 in the ceiling and 4 in the walls. She was happy to accommodate their needs in order to shoot the project, and with that Tam began planning and mapping out how he would want to approach the rigging with this suspension. Luckily for him, suspendee Ken Phillips was not only up to the challenge, but enthusiastic about adding as many hooks to the project as Tam was willing to work with. They settled on 28 hooks and began making plans to bring their idea to life.
Before the piercings began, the team spend 6 hours running rigline to figure out exactly how to lay it out and make Ken as comfortable as possible. In the end, it took 28 hooks, 95 meters of cord, 4 rigging plates, 8 carabiners, and 45 shackles to pull it off. Thanks to careful planning, Tam and teammate Tom were able to get all of the rigline connected, tensioned, and Ken in the air in about 45 minutes once his hooks were all inserted. With no pulley system used, Ken was lifted by adding tension the line one section at a time. Although he found it difficult to settle into, with Korina’s coaching he was able to completely relax and really enjoy the suspension.
Tam made it clear that if even one of his team members hadn’t been there, they could have never made this happen. It’s great to see a crew that works so closely and all play such a vital role in a project like this. Congratulations on putting together something so wonderful, and to Ken for accomplishing a very challenging suspension that he was so excited about.