Hello, my name is Orbán, and I am the creator and owner of The Skin Project. I also created, and continue to direct Anchors Aweigh, our NYC based suspension group. Both projects are very important to me, and I have some thoughts on what is going to happen with them once we are able to begin suspending individuals again. I would like to share my thoughts, and what I think will be our next steps in moving forward.
COVID-19 has impacted life as we know it so drastically, and so suddenly, it has become difficult to predict what kind of life is waiting for us on the other side of quarantining. Living in NYC, which is an epicenter for the pandemic, has been very eye opening, and somewhat terrifying. It has also reassured me of some facts about the world we live in. Now more than ever, it has become clear to many of us that we cannot depend on governments, or local state authorities to communicate consistent, solution-driven information, nor can we expect them to help us with viable solutions. It has become paramount that we continue to focus on community building how we have before, and figure out new ways to make financial realities work for all of us. In an age of uncertainty, we can be certain that we are not alone in our experiences and feelings. The unity we experienced in focusing our efforts on building safe spaces for disenfranchized communities is even more important now, as we have to multiply our efforts exponentially to maintain visibility so that others can be reassured that they are not alone. We are still here for each other.
Body suspension has never been an "essential" service, but I do believe it carries immense value for those that have experienced it. From empowerment and confidence, to release and catharsis, the experience holds a psychological, physical, and spiritual space in which we can explore ourselves, and our higher connections to the world we live in. Emotionally, the suspension experience forces us to either confront our relationship to our selves, and on many occasions, forces us to release our emotional weight physically. It is a medium of growth, and exploration. Thus, while not essential per say, it has definitely been integral to the growth of many who have tried it, and continue to do so.
Given the nature of viral infections, and specifically in relation to this particular coronavirus, it is simply unsafe to practice the medium of suspension until we have got some reins on the pandemic as a society, and have better understanding of not just the vectors of infection, but how to slow and ultimately eliminate it. Social distancing is a great tool to control the spread, and we are respecting this method fully.
That being said, we as practitioners are fascinated at how the world has suddenly adapted, and engaged the use of proper hygiene, and begun to understand the importance of PPE. My personal hope is that respect for medical professionals soars during and after this time, because they are the most exposed to this virus, along with any other infectious pathogens we bring into their proximity; they are willingly accepting exposure, as part of their chosen professions. As suspension practitioners who follow very rigid protocols, we have always understood and respected the need for knowledge in areas specific to BBP and OPIM, and how to properly implement cross contamination prevention procedures and protocols. PPE is our primary tool in our medium.
Intimacy is another aspect of suspension that is relevant to our well being during the process, and one we consider a top priority during private sessions - we must allow those having a heightened experience their space, and allow them their agency to explore within, and outside their selves. This past year (Sept 2019 onwards) has been amazing for us, in that we have found a home at Temple NYC, which emphasizes the need for intimacy, and elevation in private settings. We are, as a group, very concerned about the future of Temple, because we cannot continue to do what we do, without this space, and finding a new home seems to be virtually, and financially impossible given the current circumstances.
So, I have decided that it is in our best interests to restructure what is going on with both The Skin Project, and Anchors Aweigh. For the foreseeable future, both are staying grounded in NYC. I am prioritizing that 75% of all money we make with bookings, or events, will be directed to paying Temple's rent. The other 25% will go to helping with costs associated with running our two projects, which basically amounts to covering necessary materials and operating costs. Personally, I have a decent inventory to float us for a while. I own an autoclave, ultrasonic, and have a shop where I have a dedicated clean area for processing any gear that requires sterilization. Outside of the hooks and shackles we use, everything is disposable, and I have enough in the way of disposables to make possible a large number of suspensions. To be honest, the only thing I am worried about, is running out of disinfectant at some point, but I believe we have enough connections in the industry to secure a jug of Optim if we need to.
We have already postponed a number of suspensions for Anchors Aweigh that were booked and paid for, and cancelled close to 15 booked shows for The Skin Project that were upcoming, when the pandemic hit the US. I don't think we will be suspending anybody for a few months yet, but we do need to start covering the cost of rent for Temple, if we are to keep our doors open, and be able to continue suspending individuals once we are in the clear. For more information on how we plan to approach our practice, check the details for the three types of restructured services we will be pursuing.
In the meantime, since we cannot definitively book dates, we are offering up "giftcard" bookings. If you have the financial means to pre-book, or gift somebody a suspension in NYC for once this pandemic is over, please consider helping us out. The three types of bookings we are offering can be found below, with more details available for each on their respective pages. Again, 75% of all money from bookings will go to helping with rent for Temple.
Thank you for your help and support. If you can help financially, that is amazing. If not, please help spread the word that we are trying to keep Temple going. Please also be sure to check out Temple's website for information on other services other practitioners of different mediums are offering in the NYC area, to help support the space.
Creator & Owner of The Skin Project
If you have not booked a session with us in the past, be sure to reach out with any questions first. Giftcards may be gifted to others with the stipulation that they must agree to filling out our liability forms, and answering some personal questions before committing to a date with us. You can contact us by using our contact form.
Private suspension session
High resolution photography
Option to bring one (1) guest only
Full admission to a private educational workshop
Access to instructional materials
Hands-on approach to technical learning
Option to suspend
Entirely private suspension session
Dedicated, complex, art project involving geometric rope work
High resolution photography/video
You pick the position
Orbán Isma designs around it
Option to hang completely static in cube or from pulleys
Option to bring one (1) guest only