Miguel previewed songs from his upcoming fifth studio album, Viscera, on Friday in Los Angeles during an event dubbed the “Viscera Experience,” in which the singer warned the small crowd that the performance would include “boundary-pushing artistry including body manipulation [and] skin piercing.”
According to a description of the show posted by Vibe, after taking the stage at Sony Studios in a white tank, baggy black pants and black rubber boots, the “Sky Walker” singer was joined by two men who pushed metal hooks through the skin on his back, then attached them to wires that lifted him off the ground by the hooks. He then hung for nearly five minutes while singing an unreleased song — featuring the apropos lyrics “I’m hanging onto nothing/ I’m hanging from the ceiling” –before being lowered and having the hooks removed.
On Monday (Aug. 29), Miguel posted a series of pics on Instagram showing the aftermath of the S&M stunt, including the series of holes in his back as well as the white tank top, streaked and spotted with his blood alongside the caption, “What is your relationship to pain? What is your relationship to change?”
The type of suspension Miguel used in the performance is typically referred to as a “suicide suspension” and Miguel isn’t he only one who has employed it as type of body modification that dates back at least 5,000 years to India as part of a spiritual piercing rituals during Hindu festivals. Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro waxed poetic about the therapeutic aspects of putting large-gauge hooks through the skin of your back in a 2013 Guardian interview, saying, “To be honest, at first I just wanted to try it because it was interesting; I didn’t know that there was going to be an experience attached to it. I saw it as just a mind-over-matter thing until I got off the ground the first time. Then a lightbulb went off.”
He said while some people are horrified by the act — admitting that there is definitely pain, and blood, involved — he found it to be “a very intensely gratifying emotional release. Sometimes it’s just fun, but it can also be very meditative.”
Last month, Miguel pushed boundaries as part of Sony’s “For the Music” campaign, scaling a massive skyscraper and breaking through a glass window in a one minute visual that director Liam McRae said symbolized the singer’s next era and Sony’s commitment to supporting artists like him breaking through “creative barriers” and connecting directly with their fans.
Viscera, which does not yet have an official release date, is the follow-up to 2017’s War & Leisure; he released the single “Give It to Me” in April.
See Miguel’s posts below.
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