sound suits.

3:27 PM

Chicago artist Nick Cave (no, not the musician) interview.

Cave: When the Rodney King incident happened. I was reading in the paper about how the police sort of brought description to him. You know they were talking about, I can’t remember exactly what it said, but they were talking about this big, black, male figure that was bigger than life, that was mammoth-like. And I just started thinking about these words that were describing this human being, and I was like, “This is just fucking insane to me.” And I realized at that point I needed to take a different responsibility, I need to recognize that this is the platform that I need to be delivering, to work on.

And my first “Soundsuit” was a twig-suit. Which I didn’t even know it was a “Soundsuit.” I was just sort of making a piece in response to that situation. So I gathered all these twigs in the park and made this suit. I wasn’t even thinking that I could get into it. That wasn’t even on my brain. And then I made it and then I put it on. And I was just like, “Oh. My. God.” And at that point I knew that I had, you know you just know when you’ve found it. And I just knew. And I thought, “Oh, God, am I ready to take on all of this right now.” Because I just knew that it was a sculpture, it was again this suit of armor, it was this sort very unfamiliar sort of territory that I wasn’t really quite sure what it meant. Still don’t know really. Then there was performance. So it’s all of these sort of things. In order to be heard, to have a voice, you need to be an activist. It was all of these things I was thinking about when I was in it. I could walk around in it and not really create a lot of gesture of movement. But then the moment I jumped in it, the clanging of those twigs against one another and this rustling sound. It just became this complete animated character. And so it was just like, “Shit, this is just a whole new direction.” That it’s powerful, loaded and threatening, all at the same time. And yet seductive.

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