Keywords: Body Suspension; Performance; Ritual; Auto-Poiesis.
This article aims to present an ethnographic experience focused on body suspensions, initiated in 2008 and developed mainly in Italy. The research has used qualitative methodology, with semi-structured interviews and participant observation during Italian festivals known as Suscon, as well as private performances with nonpaying audiences. Body suspension is a performance in which a person is hanged up with ropes or chains hooked into his/her skin and tied to a special structure overhead. The research is focused on the performers' reasons for having such an experience: these include their need for a change, particularly if there is no ritual passage in their own culture that fulfills this desire; they therefore decide to organize their own rites and mould their own human shape. The author proposes applying the theory of auto-poiesis in order to analyze this trend.