Dino Helvida, a body-art professional in Zagreb, Croatia, has suspended more than 100 people from hooks, to date. “It’s hard to say [how many people I’ve suspended in total] because, on events, we can do from 10 to 15 a day. I don’t really count.”
Dino Helvida with suspended woman. (Photo: Reuters)
So why are people flocking to Helvida to have sterilized hooks threaded through their skin and their bodies hung from ceilings, roofs, and more? “After suspension, people are usually more relaxed and really happy,” says Helvida. “Even watching a suspension for me is relaxing — seeing their joy and happiness.”
While the pictures may look reckless or dangerous, suspension is actually a very delicate practice that Helvida takes quite seriously. He has strict rules about the sterilization of needles, which are made exclusively for body suspensions. He’s also a stickler about hook choice, rigging, and aftercare — he is a piercing pro, after all, and technically these are body piercings.
Helvida discovered the phenomenon while watching a documentary 10 years ago about body modification called “Modify.” He was fascinated and started attending as many suspension events as he could, eventually being suspended himself. “After some time I started learning from suspension teams in the area and started doing suspensions on clients. I bought my own gear and it all started from there.”
Anyone considering suspension should adjust their expectations, as the outcome is different for each person. “Everyone is different and everyone suspends for their own reason,” Helvida says. “For me, suspending is leaving my body, bringing all the positive in, and releasing all the negativity out, bringing me closer to my center. It can be very spiritual.”
He admits that not everyone has a spiritual experience, though. Some people suspend to push their personal boundaries, and others do it as performance art.
But for the most part, this very violent-looking art is a practice in “peace, serenity, and silence,” admits Helvida. It gives him “the feeling that you get when you hug someone you really love, or you haven’t seen them in a while.” He says the feeling can’t be rivaled by any drug — or even by sex. “[Suspension is] very hard to explain. You have to feel it yourself.”
So, would you?