Article from Montreal Mirror-2003

Hung up but not strung out

>> Less painful than it looks, suspending oneself from hooks can be a spiritual experience


Name: Azl Golanski

Age: 32

Occupation: Piercing and scarification artist at Temple Body Adornments on Prince Arthur E.

Bio: This fearless Plateau stud is not only the dude to see if you’re looking to get pierced or have a decorative scar cut into your skin, but is the inspiration behind Être Suspendu, a relatively informal group of people who seek wisdom via inserting hooks into their bodies and suspending themselves in mid-air. “I don’t do this to shock people. I’m curious about investigating how far I can push my body and discover different elements of my spirituality. I do this as a Zen-like, personal experience, as opposed to a freak show and trying to show off.” Although he generally doesn’t practice ritual suspension for the amusement of others, he does make an odd exception and will be swinging around at the Fetish Funhouse (2101 Ste-Catherine E.) in August.

Is it somewhat safe to assume that inserting hooks into your body and suspending yourself in mid-air hurts a little bit? “Well, the first few piercings, and inserting the hooks, yes, that can hurt a little, but the actual suspension? No.”

Something that often happens when one is suspended by hooks:“Your body shuts down. Some people would call it passing out. But that’s the thing. I’m really trying to investigate the distinction between the body and the mind. Some people resist passing out and their body becomes tense because they’re afraid. But I just open up to it. And I’m still consciously aware of everything that’s happening.”

The longest period of time he’s been suspended: Ninety minutes.

When people call him up on the phone and ask what he’s up to, does he ever want to tell ’em “Oh, just hanging around,” and does this joke ever get tired? “Actually, this is the first time I’ve heard it.”

One thing you generally don’t worry about while you’re flailing about on a hook: “Paying the bills” and life’s other stresses. “I call it a confrontational way of meditating.”

Has he ever considered trying to suspend himself from his penis?No.

Is genital piercing a big part of his business? “Yes, I do this quite a bit.”

Does he ever get a boner when he’s piercing the labia of some heavy-looking chick? No. “All I see is skin. I have a very good reputation for being very professional in this way and I pride myself on it.”

What’s involved in scarification: “Basically, I just take out a scalpel and carve out a design. But there are many ways to do it, like cut and peel the skin off. Yeah, it is pretty painful.”

Some people whom he won’t scar up or pierce: Those just looking to do something outrageous in the attempt to out-do their friends.

Where he “hangs” out: Quartier Latin

Last book read: Gentle Swastika, by ManWoman.

Musical preferences: Trance, funk,Rock n’ roll

A recent film he dug: Cube 2: Hypercube.

Childhood ambition: To become a goalie for the Montreal Canadiens.

Words of wisdom: “Organize your life around what you are committed to.”


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