Modern Primitives

by Sharan Samra

Upon researching poignant events of the 90s I was presented with a seriously intriguing subculture alive within the shadows of ‘industrial cultures’ of the time.

Although fairly understated, possibly a even a taboo subject during the 90s, there is a wealth of information on descriptions of the movement, how it started, how it evolved, where it came from and what the followers practised.

Fakir Musafar, founder of the movement

Instigators of the movement engaged in body modification techniques – piercings, tattoos, flesh hook suspension, corset training and scarification to name just a few. The mod-prims saw their bodies as canvases, there to express themselves in an alternative means to verbal communication. They felt that being able to communicate with just their body, in total silence is an act of being completely in touch with yourself. This is what some of the groups were attempting to portray to the rest of the world. That this is their language and their bodies are works of art.

Other more extremists subjected themselves to mutation as a means to reawakening their senses and reacquainting themselves with pain versus pleasure. They felt that engaging in such brutal acts enabled them to master the sensation of pain thus being able to control the brain and free the mind from the unsettling pressures faced in normal society.

As someone who has both tattoos and piercings I can’t avoid wondering whether a small part of me fits into this subculture. Of course, I have my own views on tattoos and my own explanation as to why I have chose to have the ones that I do but I’m left speculating now whether a part of me does hope that by ‘inscribing’ my body I am also able to silently communicate with people around me…….