Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Bindings Project: Blind

My dear friend and photographer extraordinaire has done it again. Michele Serchuck just knows how to shoot me when I tie. These are shots from the SEAF peace we called “Blind”. So far I have seen several great images from this piece, but yet again Michele seemed to capture the moment so well. Trapping all the passion and trust between the beautiful Sophia and I as we undertook what was, for me, a transformative moment.

Tying blindfolded is not a new trick by any stretch, however most of the demonstrations I have seen were more sterile than sexy. A display of the rope rigger’s prowess and skill, or worse a garish sideshow spectacle. This was the opposite of what I wanted, for me the very idea of giving up my eyes while tying scared the living crap out of me. It is one thing for a partner to trust me enough to let them do something as potentially dangerous as suspension bondage on them, do it while blind and in front of a few thousand people? I’d need someone very, very special and perhaps a little crazy.

Enter Sophia.

Artist, instructor and a damned fine rope rigger in her own right, Sophia did not bat an eye when I told her my idea. Rather, she agreed wholeheartedly that this should be about the tactile, my hands, her body and how the rope connected us together. Considering the very cool friendship we share, I think we had a winning plan.

Our rehearsal time was minimal, focusing on the safety and non-verbal communication required to pull this off. Again, Sophia just blew me out of the water with what she brought to the practices, what you saw as the simplest touches on my face as I tied were, in fact, well planned signals and queues for where I was in relation to a thousand variables.

We would perform this once and only once, creating a moment never to be repeated.

Friday night, second night of the installation’s run. The place is packed and I’m wired from a mix of adrenaline, fear and the intoxication that only comes from being on stage. Add to this, endorphin high after just pulling off the Mayhem piece with Delano to the roaring cheers of the crowd. While a bouncing, happy Monk is a good thing it was the exact opposite of what was needed to pull off a slow, sensual and (potentially) dangerous blindfolded suspension scene. Again, enter Sophia with her calm touch and low voice leading me, centering me, breathing with me.

When we took the stage and she placed the blindfold on me, the world dimmed. The ruckus of the crowds dulled into the distance as all I could hear was her breathing and the soft words she would whisper to me as my hands moved across her body. Smells exploded, the hemp, her skin, my sweat. I remember there being hot lights burning down upon us when we started, but there in that dark moment all I felt was the heat of her skin as my hands, trembling at first, took the rope.

It was not until we were almost through, at that critical moment when I took all her body weight into the ropes and drew her into the air that I heard the mc from across the vast expanse that was SEAF, stop what she was doing and direct everyone’s attention to our stage. In that split second there was silence, a collective gasp lasting for but an instant, and then the sound of the festival with all its carnival revelry roared back into my ears.