Art is Skin Deep

This Western student has one hell of a hobby, and certainly not one for the squeamish. Adam Urbach is one of the performers who put on a body suspension act as part of the Stranger! art show last week.

The 30-year-old biology student has been interested in body suspension since he attended his first SusCon about a decade ago. In fact, the suspension group Urbach belongs to —  iWasCured — in part came together thanks to a similar meetup in Toronto.

He still remembers his first time. No one wanted to go first, so Urbach volunteered. He stayed suspended for about an hour, a very uncommon feat for a newcomer, he says. Driven by curiousity and support from other artists, he continued with the art whenever he had the chance, about several times a year.

Reliving somewhat his first foray, Urbach captivated the audience with another “suicide” hang on custom, six-gauge hooks.

[Caution: video interview contains disturbing content.]

And yes — it hurts. But it doesn’t leave irreparable damage or permanent holes, he says. Urbach says his hook holes will start healing within a day, adding that the skin is remarkably resilient. The human dermal layer can hold up about 150 pounds of force per square inch.

Urbach agrees that there is a certain stigma surrounding body suspension. But he says it really takes at least seeing it to begin to understand it.

For example, while many Londoners came to The Arts Project for the collection of macabre painting and sculpture, no one really knew what to expect from the suspension. So despite much nervous chatter before the performance, afterwards the floored audience left positively hooked.

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