Nick Cave’s soundsuits are wondrously colorful, captivating, sculptural pieces that amplify the beauty of the human body in motion. In 1992 Cave created his first soundsuit out of twigs and discarded items found in a park and conceived the suit in response to police brutality after the Rodney King beatings in Los Angeles. That first soundsuit was a commentary on the detachment between the human body, how it is perceived and how it is treated.
“I was thinking about, looking at, trying to find that element – as a black man, what does it feel like to feel discarded, viewed as less than, dismissed, devalued? That’s what inspires this work.” Nick Cave, Orlando Weekly
What happens when you eliminate the possibility to perceive, judge and devalue? By repurposing discarded items into a new context, the viewer is ultimately forced to experience them in a new light. The transformative power of repurposing and seeing everyday objects in a new context forces a shift in perception for the wearer and the viewer. This characteristic of Cave’s art is present in his performance work today. The soundsuits conceal race, gender, class, sexuality and transform the wearer and the experience of the viewer.
You simply have to see the soundsuit in motion. I completely get lost in my own imagination watching these performances.