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Sew you want your lips sewn together....

The lip sewing idea was inspired by a picture I saw on BME. It was a beautiful image of a young lady, lips sewn tight together with a cigarette provocatively hanging from her mouth.

It said many things to me.

It was haunting but it a good way. It was intriguing in a probing way. It was challenging in a healthy way. It was stunning in a beautiful artistic way. It was enticing in a fascinating way. It was so much more than just a photo or a procedure.

It touched me.

I wanted to do it. I wanted to experience it. I wanted it to touch my life in a more personal way. I wanted to be challenged and changed by it. I wanted to feel the pain. I wanted to know how it felt to be restrained from our most natural form of communication. I wanted to feel the sutures pulling through my lip skin.

It took on so many guises. It transcended so many personal boundaries. It permeated my inner self.

This simple procedure of piercing and sewing became symbolic of our struggle to be heard on a grander scale, especially poignant with the recent War on Iraq (and I use the term 'war' loosely), when millions of voices were completely ignored by the so-called leaders of our countries. We spoke but they didn't listen. In some countries people are now being silenced, scared to use that voice for fear of pathetic labelling of unpatriotic nonsense. So this became my symbol.

I had originally planned for Lukas to do it, simple, uncomplicated and without fuss. Private and personal. What turned out was something completely different, unexpected and spontaneous, but much more interesting and exciting.

Lukas was doing a suspension party in a club in Tokyo and it was decided that we do the lip sewing there. I've never been to one of these before so I wasn't sure exactly what or how it was going to happen. I embarked on my journey with an open mind and a flexible attitude as I always do. Lucky for me.

As is the case with my somewhat sketchy directional sense in Tokyo my trusty videographer and I ended up late at least 1 and a half hours after the time I was due to arrive and sort out the details with Lukas. Hurtling through the thick Tokyo night in a taxi bound for a club, down a street, in a district, round the corner of a place I'd never even heard of before made us late (again!) and a little nervous. The nervousness was feeding my sense of urgency, which in turn was fuelling my impatience. I really need to get a handle on these one day. Anyway we got to the door of the club, picked up our guest passes and ran down stairs to the dark and dingy basement area. Apologising profusely and eternally grateful for putting us on his guest list we eloped into a small back room for performers and sat down to chat about the intricacies of the procedure away from the dense smoke, loud conversations, dim lights and pumping music. The luscious Viv was there in all her latex sple ndour, super friendly as always and fresh from her own Japanese rope bondage and suspension performance. My lip sewing was going to be performed by her; Lukas was also going to be part of our show. Once the details were effortlessly ironed out it was time to grab a quick beer upstairs and chill out for 10 minutes before the lights lowered, the music changed to something more gothic and down tempo and the stage was ready for our offering.

The crowd has assembled in front of the stage as we slowly descended the stairs and cut right through them towards the small staged area. In the middle was a podium-like box on which sat a single chair. After leading me by the hand, Viv cast me to one side and we both went about the business of lighting all the small candles that peppered either side of the stage. I then climbed up and sat on the chair, faced the faceless crowd, hands at my side, music drowning out any other noise and stared into space, distancing myself mentally from my surroundings. Viv had been busy preparing the needle and sutures and got to work almost instantly.

She delicately held my face with her shiny, latex hand, looked into my eyes for one last glance of confirmation from me that it was OK to continue and pressed the needle on the surface of my top lip. I took a sharp intake of breath up my nostrils as she pushed the thin needle downwards into my flesh. As I found out later, I apparently have quite thick skin and the needle she was using at that time was a wee bit too thin for the tough job it had just been given. Consequently it took her more effort than I think she had originally imagined to push the little devil through and out the other side. I could feel her hand shaking with the force it was requiring to pierce me. Sheer concentration emanated from her eyes. I just sat there rigid wondering if there was anything I could do to help her. At this point I couldn't see the audience except from my peripheral vision and I honestly don't know what they were making of the 'show' so far but I didn't care. I was in another p lace from them, safely cocooned in a mental bubble that was shared only by Viv. Maybe she didn't know it but I felt close to her. Maybe it was the environment. Maybe it was her taking my lip sewing virginity. Maybe it was the latex. Maybe it was the inherent caring from her nursing background shining through. It's not that important, just that I felt something. As I was running through some stuff in my head I hadn't even noticed that the second hole had already been pierced in my bottom lip, this time on the opposite side so as to make a cross with the sutures and Viv was tenderly tying the sterile thread together in a tiny knot. It's hard to describe what it feels like to have the thread pulled through your lip skin – like having stitches pulled out but with a bit of a bite to it. I was half way there and I could taste the hint of blood on the inside of my mouth. The music kept pumping and the crowd stood as transfixed, motionless voyeurs into my world.

This was all new to me and it left me in a serene, calming place. I had no concept of time. I had no desire to come back.

I had found the point of access that I had been looking for it seemed.

The next 2 holes were performed much the same as the first, each time the entry of the needle going through my top lip becoming forced. I could feel the needle itself buckling under the pressure of it's own lack of strength as it was made to enter and exit my hardy skin. A solitary tear welled up in my eye then gently overflowed and weaved its way down my left cheek. It wasn't a tear of pain, nor was it a tear of joy but it became symbolic of such. I stared directly into Viv's eyes as she mopped up the slight excess blood from my lips. I don't know what she was thinking but at that point, with both my lips finally sewn shut, sutures criss-crossing my mouth; I had succumbed to her miniature bondage. I trusted her implicitly with anything and everything.

I was stood up and left to face the silent crowd in front of me. Cameras flashed. People stared. I dreamed no longer.

Details

submitted by: Anonymous
on: 01 Oct. 2003
in Ritual

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Artist: Vivianne
Studio: Tokyo+nightclub
Location: Japan

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