Untitled (Soundsuit) [Nick Cave]

Clayton Schuster

Sr. Contributor

Anna McNeary

Contributor

A pioneering way to transform into a metaphysical shaman or, in this particular case, a cosmic dildo.

While the initial idea for soundsuits was to let people have an out-of-body experience while getting down with their bad self, a host of museums and galleries have taken in suits as a sculpture. But there're still plenty of exhibitions that let patrons see the suits in action, letting dancers twist and rattle the suits about to show off whatever they're made of.

Cave had an idea to get upwards of 90 soundsuit wearing dancers together in Chicago's Millennium Park to put on a symphony, but that plan has yet to happen (maybe a Kickstarter is in order). There's as many different soundsuits out there as there are flea markets and parks for Cave to pick up suit making material and inspiration. Some continue the phallic spaceman approach used in this suit at the de Young, while others will definitely make you look like a furry. Pick your poison.

Soundsuits are Cave's major claim to fame. He got the initial idea 25 years ago in the wake of the LAPD beating the crap out of Rodney King. Ever since, he's crafted myriad iterations of the idea that sell for upwards of $45,000 a pop.

He continues to use the soundsuit as a response to today's social events, making one recently in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin. If you go to soundsuitshop.com, you can get anything from a new suit, to a punching bag, and even a deck of playing cards. 'Cause nothing says responding to the disatisfaction of social unrest and political corruption like a rowdy game of Hearts.

Imagine donning this whimsical getup not to just to evoke wonder, but as a wearable security blanket to shield you from cultural menaces like racism and patriarchy.

Cave has made many of these. And while they're certainly fanciful garb, he explains them as "full body suits contracted of materials that rattle with movement... like a coat of armor, they embellish the body by protecting the wearer from outside culture." 

If you really hate Cave's art, you can always purchase a soundsuit punching bag to vent your distaste.