Human creativity has no limits, and for centuries personal aesthetics and the body itself have been its first and most valued canvas. Both the world of tattooing and piercing are deeply rooted in Western culture today and are a good example of this attempt to express our individuality. However, there are also less common and more controversial practices, such as extreme body modification, which are capable of leaving anyone with their mouths wide open.
From Vélez and Lozano we would like to introduce you to some of these extreme modifications.
Grinding your teeth
It may seem like a fad resulting from the last wave of vampires that flooded the youth cinema -and from whose hangover we are still recovering-, but the truth is that this strange and unhealthy dental modification is represented in several eras and continents of our planet.
Practised by tribes in Africa and especially Oceania, where several human groups on different islands practice teeth grinding as a daily initiation ritual for generations. The Mentawai, famous in Spain for their appearance on the reality show 'Lost in the Tribe'.
A forked tongue is sometimes a problem for some people who are born with it. There are a multitude of treatments to try to restore the tongue to its more normal appearance. However, despite the enormous risks of this practice - it can cause speech problems forever - many people are interested in modifying their tongue, turning its end into two small tongues. This is one of the most sought-after body modifications in recent years, and one of the most spectacular results.
Dyeing teeth black is a fad that, if one were to ask, many would place among unsophisticated tribes or civilisations. Incredible as it may seem, the opposite is true: 'Ohaguro' is a technique for beautifying the teeth that has been used for centuries in Japan among the upper classes.
Although this fashion is only still in use among a few geisha, it is believed to have been in use from the 8th to the 20th century with some regularity. The beauty of these smiles lay in the opposite of what we look for today: the darker and brighter the teeth, the more beautiful the smile of the owner.
Expansion of the labret
A labret is a piercing under the lower lip of the mouth. This type of piercing can have an impact on oral health, as it can affect the gums, weakening them and making them more prone to periodontal disease. Another dangerous fad is the dilation of the gums. In the same way that earlobes are being dilated, many young people are beginning to dilate their cheeks and lower lips. The result is as shocking as it is dangerous.