In 1992, in the wake of the Rodney King beating, African-American artist Nick Cave fashioned a head-to-toe bodysuit from twigs found in a local park. Conceived as modern-day armor, the garment’s purpose was to protect the wearer by concealing his or her identity—race, ethnicity, gender, age, and class—from public view. However, when Cave tried on the finished outfit, he realized that he had created more than just an article of clothing: “The moment I put it on and started to move, it made sound,” he recalled in a 2011 interview. In honor of its musical quality, Cave dubbed the piece Soundsuit.
The Art of Sound
Nick Cave's curious creation
HUMANITIES, Fall 2021, Volume 42, Number 4